Children at school with a teacher

BAPrimary Education

Why this course?

At Strathclyde, we're very proud of our long tradition of initial teacher education.

Our staff, who work closely with education authorities, are here to help you make a difference in the schools and communities in which you'll go on to work.

Primary Education is an exciting degree programme designed to meet the recommendations of the 2010 Donaldson Report, Teaching Scotland’s Future. This course will allow students to study Primary Education along with other subjects in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and to work with a wide variety of students throughout their four-year programme.

A career in Primary Education is challenging and very rewarding. Primary teachers are faced each day with complex and demanding tasks. Teachers develop, plan, implement and evaluate programmes of study in all curricular areas (Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Languages, Literacy and English, Mathematics, Religious and Moral Education, Physical Education, Sciences, Social Studies and Technologies). They promote the social and personal development of all children, working with parents and fellow professionals both within and outwith the school.

We work in accordance with the Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education Courses and the Benchmark Statements issued by the General Teaching Council (Scotland) on behalf of the Scottish Government.

What you’ll study

Year 1

BA students in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences undertake a common programme in Year 1, choosing three subjects from across the faculty. Primary Education students study education with two other subjects.

All students studying education in Year 1 undertake a placement. The placement experience gives students the opportunity to work with children in a variety of contexts and settings. Students going on placement are required to register with the Scottish Government’s Protection of Vulnerable Groups scheme.

At the end of Year 1, those of you who wish to continue on the BA Primary Education programme go through a selection process. Students are supported in preparing for this selection throughout their first year. If you decide at the end of first year that Primary Education is no longer your chosen career, you'll have the opportunity to study for a BA degree in your other first-year subjects.

In addition to your studies, you'll have the opportunity to participate in a three day residential outdoor experience to help you develop friendships and your confidence working in a team.

Years 2 to 4

  • education studies
  • primary curriculum studies
  • teaching and learning
  • placement learning (school-based Years 2 and 4, nursery-based Year 3)
  • option to further study one of your first-year subjects (Year 2), opportunity to specialise in a range of curricular subjects (Year 3), opportunity to select a specialist area (Year 4)
  • research methods and dissertation (Year 4)

Students have the opportunity of international study in Year 3.

Work placement

Students undertake placement on each year of their course:

  • Year 1: Seventy hours with children and/or young people aged 0-14 years in a community setting
  • Year 2: Primary 1-3 school-based placement, running throughout the academic year and closely linked to on-campus modules
  • Year 3: Four-week placement in a nursery and six weeks in a Primary 4-7 class (either or both placements in Year 3 can be undertaken outside Scotland
  • Year 4: Ten weeks in a primary school at a stage of the student's choice

International opportunities

Students are encouraged to take part in international exchange opportunities in third year. Erasmus exchange with Sodertorn University in Sweden is currently available while students can undertake international exchange with partner universities in Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand and USA.

Students can undertake first and third year placements outwith Scotland. Current opportunities in third year include working in schools and nurseries in Sweden, China, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

There are also opportunities to spend shorter periods of time working or studying abroad in China, Dubai, France, Germany, Malawi, Romania, Sweden and Thailand with a range of partner organisations.

For general queries about exchange to and from the University of Strathclyde, please contact the Recruitment & International Office.

Major projects

Our students organise, manage and run a wide range of student-led personal and professional development opportunities for their peers and sometimes for staff.

Students are encouraged to choose projects that allow them to use their strengths, help them to address development needs and which support them in developing specific interests.

Examples of projects include a nationally recognised Literacy Clinic working with children in one of the most deprived areas in Glasgow; an annual trip to Romania to work with disadvantaged children at a summer camp; work with charities like Nil by Mouth, Mary’s Meals and SWIIS; student-led British Sign Language classes.

These opportunities allow students to develop attributes that promote successful student learning and experiences that enhance employability skills.


The Education Resources Centre within the University library has everything students need to plan and practise lessons together. It has more than 12,000 practical, activity-based resources, including teachers’ handbooks, local authority guidelines, reading schemes etc. and covers all areas of the curriculum.

A smartboard is available for students to practise and develop lessons and training is given. There is wireless access, PCs and colour photocopying. It is a hub where you can meet and exchange ideas with other students.

Postgraduate study

A taught Masters in Education (MEd) is available to BA (Hons) Primary Education students and can be undertaken as a fifth year of study or as part-time study after graduation.

Additional support

The University has a policy in place to support students with a declared disability and will ensure that appropriate support is in place to help students with their studies. As well as being offered assistance by the Disability Service, members of staff teaching on the BA Primary Education course are willing to make reasonable adjustments to ensure a quality experience for all students.

Gaelic-medium education

There has been a rapid growth in Gaelic-medium education in primary schools in Scotland in recent years. This is a Scottish Government priority and the University has a Gaelic Plan to support Gaelic-speaking students studying at Strathclyde. The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences makes provision within the BA course for students who wish to seek employment in this sector.

Student competitions

From 2015, the Donald Christie Prize will be awarded annually to the first-year student who - through their placement - has made the most positive impact on the children with whom they were working.

Undergraduate Primary Education students have the opportunity to have their final-year dissertation considered for the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s George D Gray Prize, which is awarded annually to the best dissertation by an initial teacher education student in Scotland.

The BEd Prize is awarded each year to the fourth-year student whose performance is considered by the Board of Examiners to be exceptional.


Accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

Course content

Year 1

Understanding Education in the 21st Century

This class is designed to be stimulating with a key aim of introducing Education as a discipline; one that goes beyond schools and children.  

For example, you consider adults’ learning and begin to explore the different contexts in which Education is situated.  Furthermore, you'll examine Education from different perspectives including: history; politics; philosophy; psychology and sociology.  

By undertaking this class , you're able to discuss relevant topics and ideas; explain why the idea of the curriculum is a difficult one; develop their skills in managing their own learning; develop their skills in working effectively in group and class situations and show that they are beginning to read and write critically.  This class provides a good introduction to the study of Education that will support students in their potential future roles, whether that is as a teacher, parent, community educator, lawyer, psychologist, journalist, civil servant or human resources manager.

Placement & Curriculum

Placement learning is one of the most powerful learning experiences for you on initial teacher education programmes at the University of Strathclyde.   The seventy-hour first year placement allows you to work with children 0 – 14 years in a setting out-with a mainstream primary classroom.  This class allows for real diversity and student choice in selecting a placement.  In the past students have worked in prisons, with families, in community projects and in a whole range of settings that have helped them understand more about the development of children.

The on-campus programme for this class offers students from across disciplines the opportunity to work together to learn about children and the communities in which they live; children's health and wellbeing; child protection; children's voice; children's play and play places.  The notion that the health and wellbeing of children and young people is central to the advancement of society is a seminal theme in this class . 

Year 2

Children’s Language, Literature & Literacy

In this class we introduce you to the key knowledge and key understandings that you will need to become a successful teacher of language, literacy and literature in the primary school. It will help you to understand the role of the teacher of language in three ways: 

  • What you need to know yourself about language, literacy and  literature to teach it effectively ( ie CURRICULUM knowledge) 
  • What you need to know about how children learn and develop as learners of language and how to use this knowledge to teach well ( ie PEDAGOGIC knowledge)
  • What you need to know about how communities and social practice, including the school and the home, support learning ( ie ECOLOGICAL knowledge)

The class is taught by means of lectures and tutorials. You will be expected to attend all of these, to read in order to extend your thinking and to take part in study groups.

You will be asked to complete a number of tasks in school to help consolidate your understanding of the complexities of teaching language, literature and literacy. 

Learners & Learning

This class is designed to provide students taking the BA Hons Education degree with an essential understanding of human learning processes and the needs of learners.

Learning involves fundamental psychological processes, such as cognitive, emotional, interpersonal and linguistic processes. Learning starts before birth and is continuous as learners develop and experience the world. Contextual influences also impact on learners, learning processes, and learning outcomes. In any educational setting, it's essential that fundamental human learning processes are understood and supported, and that learners can grow in conceptual understanding and experience emotional wellbeing.

This module will examine the processes involved in human learning, individual learners’ needs, and contextual influences upon learners and learning.

The following key themes will build the class content:

  • Fundamentals of learning
  • Making meaning together
  • Theories of learning & learning processes
  • Memory
  • Language & learning
  • Emotion in learning
  • Motivation
  • Self-regulation
  • Development of scientific & mathematical knowledge
  • Collaborative learning
Year 2 Pedagogy Placement

You'll look at developing rationales for planning and sequence planning format. You'll also be expected to relate your learning to Curriculum for Excellence and to discuss the issues arising from each lecture.

Lectures and tutorials will involve preparing reading, undertaking independent and collaborative study and leading tutorial discussions and activities.  You'll be expected to work both independently and collaboratively with peers.  Comments and questions in addition to dialogue will be encouraged during tutorial sessions. 

This class will encourage you to self-regulate your learning. This is an active process where  knowledge about topics is researched by individuals or in  groups. You'll monitor and self regulate your ability to use this knowledge.  The class views learning as a proactive activity rather than something that happens in response to teaching by the tutor. 

In addition to the overarching theme of effective learning and teaching, the following key themes will build the class content:

  • interaction and presentation
  • classroom organisation
  • task design
  • developing positive classroom relationships
  • inclusion and differentiation
  • assessment and evaluation
  • principles of planning
  • issues of professionalism
Mathematics in the Primary School

This class will provide opportunities for student teachers to consider how children learn about mathematics and numeracy as well as helping student teachers to develop their own understanding of key mathematical processes.

You'll explore a variety of approaches to teaching and learning in mathematics and numeracy, and consider the implications of these approaches for classroom practice. You'll consider how to develop children’s skills in numeracy and mathematics and will study the progression of specific aspects as described in Curriculum for Excellence mathematics outcomes. You'll identify and make effective use of appropriate selected contexts and resources to stimulate children’s interest in, and enthusiasm for, mathematics. 

Furthermore, student teachers will use their school placement experience as a context through which to further develop their knowledge and skills, and to consolidate their understanding of curriculum content and teaching methodologies, in mathematics and numeracy in the primary school.

Year 3

Year 3

In this year of the degree programme, you'll choose to study three areas in greater depth. The choice should be based on the your personal and professional development needs.

International study for one or two semesters is also an option in Year 3.  You'll be required to undertake a placement during an international study block.

  • Year 3 Pedagogy and Placement: Nursery, including a 5 week placement
  • Year 3 Pedagogy and Placement including a 6 week placement
  • History and Philosophy of Education
  • Curriculum: Science, Technology and Information Communication Technologies
  • Curriculum: The Arts (Music, Art and Design & Drama)
  • Curriculum: Exploring Global Citizenship through Social Studies, Religious and Moral Education & Physical Education

Year 4

Year 4

You'll undertake a number of Education classes.  For your final school placement, you'll be able to choose the stage at which you are placed.  You'll have a choice of dissertation topic and will be able to select one option to allow you to study one aspect of the profession in greater depth.  The choices should be based on the students’ personal and professional development needs:

  • Year 4 Pedagogy and Placement, including an 11 week placement
  • Policy & Politics in Education
  • Social Issues in Education
  • Social Research Methods
  • Option class
  • Inclusive Practice in Literacy and Numeracy
  • Dissertation

Year 5


A taught Masters programme in Year 5 has been designed into the new Primary Education framework.  This will allow you to continue your studies to Masters Level immediately after your undergraduate programme.  This is subject to the approval of the General Teaching Council for Scotland as there are currently implications for entry to the Teacher Induction Scheme if a student takes this route.

The fifth year includes an inter-professional/international placement.  All other modules will be taken from the new M.Ed. Framework at the University.


Our assessment methods include:

  • peer support
  • student-led tutorials
  • student tutorial papers
  • presentations

Formal assessment is mainly by written submission or practical work. There are four exams across the four years of the course.

Learning & teaching

Alongside traditional lectures and tutorials, our learning methods include:

  • workshops
  • field trips
  • elective and optional classes
  • placements

Professional development is an important aspect of the work of all teachers in Scotland. Our students have many opportunities to participate in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) beyond their core classes and have the opportunity to develop and lead their own CPD projects.

Education students currently work with educators across the course, across Scotland, across the UK and across the globe to provide the very best CPD for their peers. This culture of student-led professional development for education students has been described as ‘sector leading’ by our external stakeholders.

Guest lectures

Students have lectures every year from members of the education community who share information on schools, education policy and new and innovative practice in education.

Entry requirements

Minimum grades

Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.


1st sitting: AAAB; 2nd sitting: AAABB (Higher English, plus one from the list below; Maths National 5 C (please note this grade has been revised since the printed prospectus was published) /Standard Grade 2/Intermediate 2 C; we recognise a wide range of Highers, however social science subjects should make up the majority of your profile)

Higher Subjects

  • Classical Studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Italian
  • Modern Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Moral and Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

A Levels

ABB (GCSE English Language B and English Literature B, GCSE Maths B)

International Baccalaureate

34 (Maths SL5)


HNC Early Education & Childcare: Year 1 entry: A in Graded Unit, plus two Highers at B (including English); Maths National 5/Standard Grade 2/Intermediate 2

HNC Social Sciences: Year 1 entry: A in Graded Unit, plus two Highers at B (including English)

HND Social Sciences: Year 1 entry: ABB in Graded Units, plus two Highers at B (including English); Maths National 5/Standard Grade 2/Intermediate 2

Irish Leaving Certificate

Subjects and grades as for Highers.

Additional Information

Personal Statement

It is important to take care over your personal statement. We look for information about your academic and career interests, and your range of skills, abilities, and relevant experience. Your personal statement should show evidence you have a strong awareness and interest in the subject you are applying to.

Deferred Entry

Deferred entry normally not accepted.

Applicants with Highers

Due to the high level of competition for the number of available places it is unlikely that Conditional Offers will be made to anyone attaining less than BBB at the first sitting of Highers.

Second-year Entry

Second-year entry for A Level/Advanced Higher candidates is possible with AB in the two subjects you are planning to study.

Admission to Honours

All students will be admitted as potential Honours students. Students may exit with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the end of Year 3 of the programme if they have accumulated at least 360 credits and satisfied the appropriate specialisation requirements. For admission to the final year of the Honours course, a student must have achieved an approved standard of performance.

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country.

Degree preparation course

We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing pre-undergraduate programmes at the International Study Centre. To find out more about these courses and opportunities on offer visit or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future.

You can also complete the online application form, or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.



Rest of UK




How can I fund my studies?

Some Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note that funding is not applicable to all courses. Please contact SAAS to confirm if your particular course is eligible.

Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.


The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.


Most of our graduates go on to work as primary school teachers, working for the social and personal development of their pupils. A primary school teacher develops, plans, implements and evaluates teaching programmes in all areas of the curriculum. The role also involves working with parents and fellow professionals within and outwith the school.

Many graduates from Strathclyde also enjoy the benefits of the Scottish Government’s Teacher Induction Scheme, where they have a guaranteed one-year induction period in a Scottish primary school. While the BA (Hons) Primary Education course is directed mainly to the Scottish education system, the qualification is widely recognised in the rest of the UK, Ireland and in schools across the globe.

Teachers who work in Scotland are required to register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

With experience, teachers in Scotland can apply for posts as Principal Teacher, Deputy Head or Head Teacher. A number of graduates will become lecturers on initial teacher education courses, HM Inspectors or take on other development roles at Education Scotland or with the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

How much will I earn?*

In Scotland, the new entrants’ starting salary for a primary school teacher is £21,438, which rises incrementally to £34,200.

Where are they now?

92% of our graduates are in work or further study.**

*information is intended only as a guide.

**Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education.


How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £11 to apply for a course
    The cost is £22 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of offer
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

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