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.

The subject options available to students in Year 1 are:

  • Economics
  • English
  • English & Creative Writing
  • French
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Media & Communication
  • Law
  • Politics & International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Social Policy
  • Spanish
  • 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 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)

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

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).

International opportunities

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.

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

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.

Interdisciplinary Learning

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.

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 in the second semester 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


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

Highers (Standard Entry Requirements):

  • 1st sitting: AAAB
  • 2nd sitting: AAAAB (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:

  • Art
  • Classical Studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • History
  • Modern Studies
  • Modern Foreign Language
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology

*Highers (Minimum Entry Requirements)

  • 1st sitting: AABB
  • 2nd sitting: AAABB (including English B and Maths/Applications of Mathematics National 5 C)

A Levels

  • ABB-BBB (GCSE English language 6/B and English literature 6/B, GCSE maths 6/B)


  • 36 (Maths SL5)


  • 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


  • Social Sciences: Year 1 entry: A in Graded Unit; two Highers at B (including English); Mathematics National 5 B, or equivalent

Deferred Entry

  • Deferred entry is not normally accepted

Additional Information

Students are required to register with the Scottish Government’s Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG)

*Widening access

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.

Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) applicants are also eligible to apply. This programme supports adults aiming to enter higher education and we work in partnership and accept applications from SWAP West.

More details on this entry route can be found at

Pre-entry Access course: the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Strathclyde offers a pre-access entry course to primary education and more information on this route can be found on our website at

International students

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 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 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.

  • £1,820
Rest of UK
  • £9,250

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.


  • £14,650

Dean’s International Undergraduate Scholarship

The Dean’s International Undergraduate Scholarship is open to new international students who will begin a full-time undergraduate course in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in September 2019. The award is a £3,500 scholarship per year for the duration of your degree. All offer holders are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

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.

Additional fees 

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.

Available scholarships

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.

Contact us


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 £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 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.

    Applications are still welcome from international students (non-EU) and those living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  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 decision
    • 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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