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
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
Understanding Education in the 21st Century
Placement & Curriculum
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 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
Learners & Learning
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.
Year 2 Pedagogy Placement
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
Mathematics in the Primary School
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
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.
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
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
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
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:
- 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.
Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.
1st sitting: AAAB (Higher English plus one from the list below, Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 B, or equivalent)
2nd sitting: AAAABB (Higher English plus one from the list below, Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 B, or equivalent)
- Classical Studies
- Modern Studies
- Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
We recognise a wide range of Highers, however, your profile must reflect a good grounding in essay-based subjects.
Year 1 entry
ABB (GCSE English Language 6/B or English Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
36 (Maths SL5)
HNC Early Education & Childcare/Childhood Practice: Year 1 entry: A in Graded Unit, plus two Highers at B (including English); Maths National 5 C or equivalent
HNC Social Sciences: Year 1 entry: A in Graded Unit, plus two Highers at B (including English), Maths National 5 B or equivalent
HND Social Sciences: Year 1 entry: ABB in Graded Units, plus two Highers at B (including English); Maths National 5 B or equivalent
Irish Leaving Certificate
Subjects and grades as for Higher
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 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 AAB at the first sitting of Highers.
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.
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.
Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.
Find out entry requirements for your country.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the 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 will be able to progress to this degree course at the
University of Strathclyde.
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
Assuming no change in Rest of UK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2017/18, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and Integrated Masters courses); 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
Recommended course materials cost approximately £163.
Placement & field trips
The cost of travel to placements will depend on transport and location. These costs are reimbursed.
PVG scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups)
Membership scheme costs £59.
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 and the EU
If you're a Scottish or EU student, 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.
For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.
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.
International Students (Non UK, EEA)
We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.
We have a wide range of scholarships available. Have a look at our scholarship search to find a scholarship.
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.