- UCAS Code: X120
- Accreditation: General Teaching Council Scotland
Study abroad: international exchange opportunities include China, Malawi, The Gambia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium & The Netherlands
Work placement: school & nursery placements
Study with us
- undertake work placements with children and young people from 0 to 14 years
- study on a programme designed to meet the recommendations of the 2010 Donaldson report, Teaching Scotland’s Future
- the programme meets the requirement for provisional registration by the General Teaching Council for Scotland
- take advantage of Gaelic-medium placement options
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.
Watch Primary Education student Gemma explain how our scholarships programme is helping her achieve her dream of becoming a teacher.
What you’ll study
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.
The subject options available to students in Year 1 are:
- English & Creative Writing
- Journalism, Media & Communication
- Politics & International Relations
- Social Policy
- Human Resource Management
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 in working in a team.
Years 2 to 4
- education studies
- primary curriculum studies
- teaching and learning
- school-based placement (Years 2, 3 and 4)
- nursery-based placement (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)
- choose to study abroad (Year 3)
- research methods and dissertation (Year 4)
Students undertake a 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 2-4 school-based placement, running throughout the academic year and closely linked to on-campus modules
- Year 3: Four-week placement in an early year's setting and six weeks in a Primary 5-7 class (either or both placements in Year 3 can be undertaken as international placements through partner universities).
- Year 4: Ten weeks in a primary school at a stage of the student's choice
Please read our important information about the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. This is for all applicants applying for courses which involve placement opportunities (working with children or vulnerable adults).
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.
Students are encouraged to take part in international exchange opportunities in third year. Erasmus exchange opportunities exist with a number of partner European Universities in Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland.
There are also opportunities to spend shorter periods of time working or studying abroad in China, Malawi, the Gambia, and Ireland with a range of partner organisations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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
- Language & learning
- Emotion in learning
- 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.
A wide range of interdisciplinary classes are offered in Year 2 and students can choose to continue with either their Year 1 subject or an IDL. Course options include: Learning for Sustainability, Child Protection, Exploring Moral Ethical Issues, Digital Learning, and Creative Contexts for Music.
Social Research Methods
The purpose of this module is to provide students with a solid grounding in current approaches to designing and conducting social research. Before embarking on a chosen area of study for the dissertation project in fourth year, it is important that an understanding of the common techniques of academic inquiry and practitioner research is developed. This module will enable student teachers to conceptualise and design a worthwhile and achievable project, and to develop and support their understanding and application of research methods, with consideration for ethical issues. The acquisition of these skills will enhance their ability to employ methodologies appropriate to their research needs in fourth year, and as a teacher in the years beyond.
Religious and Moral Education and Health & Wellbeing
This module is positioned to build on key concepts and issues that underpin and develop thinking in relation to both Religious and Moral Education and Health and Wellbeing. Issues such as relationships, resilience, emotional literacy, grief and loss education, multicultural education, critical and 'philosophical' thinking, exploring morality, and Education for Sustainability, all of which are important in the development of beliefs, values, and attitudes in a world in which our children and young people inhabit, will be explored. This module is designed to support student practitioners in providing a specific focus on health education and promoting the mental and emotional wellbeing of children.
Science and Technology in the Primary School
The module covers five main topics within the computing, science and technologies sphere and is designed to give students the knowledge, confidence and skills to become an effective teacher in these areas. The five curricular areas are:
- Computing Science
The rationale for the module comes from several government policy and research documents which emphasise the need for a coherent plan or strategy in these areas in order to provide our children and society with the requisite skills to flourish in a modern and technological world. This module will not involve the teaching of mathematics as this is covered elsewhere in the degree, but aspects of these curricular areas relating to numeracy will be explored where appropriate.
Teaching Social Studies Creatively
The purpose of this module is to help students gain an understanding of how social subjects can be taught in a creative fashion. Social Studies includes topics related to the past, modern day, environmental concerns and location. In Scottish primary schools the following terms are used to organise the Social Studies curriculum:
- people, place and environment (Geography)
- people, past events and societies (History)
- people, society, economy and business (Modern Studies)
As well as focusing on these topics, the purpose of the module is to incorporate Learning for Sustainability into teaching practice. Learning for Sustainability (LfS) is concerned with knowing and understanding our world and about equipping children and young people with the values, knowledge, attitudes, capabilities, and skills that will enable them to contribute effectively to the common good. To replicate the school and early learning and childcare settings experience, we focus on global citizenship, outdoor learning, children’s rights, sustainable development education, international education and education for heritage.
Language Learning and Teaching in the Primary School
The aim of this module is to help students develop an understanding of language learning and teaching, and the ways in which language knowledge, attitudes and skills are developed in practice. This module will look at the wider national and international policy contexts, including the pluralistic and pluriliteracies approaches to learning. Issues such as social justice, inclusion, English as an Additional Language (EAL), language immersion, and interdisciplinary approaches such as Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), will be explored.
This module aims to raise awareness of cultural diversity in a multilingual classroom, to equip student teachers with the core skills required for the teaching and learning of languages, and to develop their confidence so that language learning can be embedded within and across the curriculum.
Year 3 Pedagogy & Placement Learning
This module builds on students’ existing knowledge and understanding of the important elements of effective learning and teaching. Students will be encouraged to work both independently and in collaboration with others. The programme focuses on enabling students:
- to identify, justify, apply, and evaluate a range of teaching approaches
- to develop a range of questioning and interaction strategies
- to demonstrate effective learning and teaching approaches through collaborative working in digital literacy
- to meet the needs of all learners through differentiated teaching approaches
- to plan and implement appropriate assessment strategies which recognise children’s achievements
Student choice is key to the 4th year experience. In this year of the programme, you’ll undertake core Education classes, while developing an area of professional expertise through your Professional Specialisation option. 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. For your final school placement, you’ll be able to choose the stage at which you are placed. Your choices should be based on your personal and professional development needs:
- Year 4 Pedagogy and Placement, including 11 weeks on school placement
- Protecting and Safeguarding Children: Role of the Primary Teacher
- Expressive Arts & Physical Wellbeing (Health and Wellbeing 2)
- Professional Specialisation
- Inclusive Practice in Literacy and Numeracy
My main highlight from the course has definitely been the placements I have embarked on. Each year you feel yourself growing in strength and actually envisaging yourself as a teacher.
Learning & teaching
Alongside traditional lectures and tutorials, our learning methods include:
- field trips
- elective and optional classes
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.
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.
Our assessment methods include:
- peer support
- student-led tutorials
- student tutorial papers
Formal assessment is mainly by written submission or practical work. There are four exams across the four years of the course.
Required subjects are shown in brackets.
(Higher English B, and Maths/ Applications of Mathematics National 5 B, or equivalent).
**In addition to Higher English, at least one Higher should come from the following list below.
(including English B and Maths/ Applications of Mathematics National 5 B)
(GCSE English language 6/B and English literature 6/B, GCSE maths 6/B)
Early Education & Childcare/Childhood Practice:
Year 1 entry: A in Graded Unit, plus two Highers at B (including English) and Mathematics National 5 B, or equivalent
Year 1 entry: A in Graded Unit; two Highers at B (including English); Mathematics National 5 B, or equivalent
Other HNC or HND qualifications will be considered in accordance with the strength of the overall application.
View the entry requirements for your country.
Not normally accepted
Students are required to register with the Scottish Government’s Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG)
**Higher subject list
- Classical Studies
- Modern Studies
- Modern Foreign Language
- Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
Foundation Apprenticeship: Social Services Children and Young People (award is equivalent to a Higher at B grade)
Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.
Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.
In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.
Our Primary Education degree has been rightly recognised for the input of its talented faculty, popularity with students as well as its ability to create practitioners that are expert in reflective practice, professional enquiry, affordance learning and pedagogical knowledge. It sits at the cutting edge of teaching innovation and may be considered sector-leading in its approach.
Programme Leader, BA Primary Education
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non-EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.
We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.Visit our international students' section
Fees & funding
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.
All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.
Annual revision of fees
Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.
Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution.
|England, Wales & Northern Ireland|
Assuming no change in RUK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2023-24, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes). MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.
|University preparation programme fees|
International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
Course materials & costs
Placements & field trips
International study is a voluntary component of the course for students. These can vary from a week to an entire term. Students require to fund some travel and subsistence.
PVG scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups)
PVG costs are involved in this course (£59 new member, £18 existing member update).
Visa & immigration
International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.
Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my studies?
Students from Scotland
Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.
Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland
We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:
You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.
We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.
Chat to a student ambassador
If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Humanities & Social Sciences student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!
Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.Chat to a student ambassador
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 Teacher Induction Scheme, which provides the offer of a one-year post in a local authority school to all Scottish students who have paid Home fees. The GTCS, in partnership with the Scottish Government, is responsible for the administration of the scheme. More information on the TIS can be found on the GTCS website.
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. While the 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.
Having started my career as a student at Strathclyde, I have done a full 360° by returning here to work. What drew me to the University then is what still attracts me now – an ambitious vision and a sense of dedication to improving society. I’m a true Strathclyder at heart!
Teaching Fellow in Primary Education
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