BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary)

Scotland’s newest Education Studies (Primary) degree provides a fresh, innovative approach to teacher education, recognising the rewards and challenges that teaching presents in the 21st century. The dynamic programme of learning will give you the expertise, confidence and professional qualification you need to teach in primary schools.

The course offers an approach to teaching that is founded in evidence-based research in the social sciences. If you want a career as a primary school teacher where you will genuinely make a difference in the world and inspire our future citizens, this course is for you.




Why QMU?

  • This course offers a forward-looking, evidence-based approach to teacher training.
  • Our teaching degree is distinctive in its forward-looking focus on education in community settings, as well as in schools, and builds on our strong existing collaborations with local and national community organisations.
  • You will study on an attractive, modern campus just six minutes from the centre of Edinburgh.
  • This is an intellectually inspiring course that is your first step on a rewarding career in education.
  • A curriculum and ethos suited to those with a social conscience who want to engage with socio-political issues and make a difference.

About the course

This course is about more than simply preparing you to inspire a class of young learners; it will engage you in the wider socio-political issues that affect education on every level and how this in turn influences educational outcomes for children. You will study contemporary issues in education, psychology and sociology to develop a sound knowledge base of children’s developmental pathways and the range of factors that affect them. You will gain an understanding of how pedagogic theory and knowledge informs classroom practices at early years and primary school level. By developing a detailed knowledge of all areas of the curriculum, including outdoor learning, you will become skilful at integrating literacy, numeracy and wellbeing throughout your teaching.

Through practical experience in educational and community settings you will learn how to build positive relationships with children and work alongside other professionals. Our education courses draw on our expertise in, and focus on, wellbeing, resilience, child welfare and inequality. You will learn how to assess individual needs and plan inclusive learning experiences taking account of diversity and difference.

Over the four years you will develop your academic literacies including digital and data literacy. You will develop research skills to enable you to develop as an autonomous, critically thinking, reflective professional.
This is a fresh, modern and ambitious approach to teacher education. We hope you feel as passionate about this new direction as we do and look forward to receiving your application. At QMU we are committed to widening access to education and we welcome applications from all backgrounds and genders.


You will study for four years to become qualified to work as a primary school teacher. Progression into Year Two will be dependent on successfully completing all modules, placements and a reflective report in Year One. If, after the first year you decide not to pursue teaching there is an option to transfer to our Education Studies course . This is a broad based social sciences degree with an emphasis on broader aspects of education.


Year One

  • Introduction in Education Studies in 21st Century
  • Developing Academic Literacies for Learning
  • Introduction to Psychology 1
  • Learning through the Lifespan (Primary)
  • Sustainable Human Behaviour Learning for Sustainability
  • Diversity, Identity and Wellbeing (Education)

Year Two

  • Early Childhood Development and Learning in Context
  • Language & Literacy: Theory and Pedagogy
  • Optional Module
  • Society and Sustainable Lifestyles
  • Mathematics & Numeracy: Theory and Pedagogy
  • The Inclusive Curriculum: Theories of Learning & Teaching
  • Creative and Cultural Curriculum in 21st Century

Year Three

  • The Creative Curriculum: Planning for Assessment and Continuity
  • Languages, Literacy and Children’s Literature
  • Everyday Life Contexts: A Problem Solving Approach to Mathematics
  • Teacher as Reflective Practitioner
  • Inclusive Practice: Difference and Diversity

Year Four

  • Teaching as Professional: Inter-agency Working
  • A Global Curriculum: Planning a Pedagogy for Social Justice
  • Community-based Education
  • Professional Enquiry into Practice

This modules listed here are correct at time of posting (April 2021) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2022. Please check back here for any updates.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will learn through lectures, seminars, workshops, enquiry-based, student-led activity, independent study, online group tutorials, school experience/community placements. An innovative feature of the programme is the incorporation of outdoor learning that includes a Forest and Outdoor Learning Award, as well as the opportunity to undertake a British Sign Language course. Assessment methods are varied, including essays, reports, presentations, blogs and audiovisual submissions.

Below you can read about Teaching and Learning Activities and Assessment Activities. We believe this will give you a good indication of what the course will be like, but the exact balance of activities may differ depending on the academic year and on the modules you choose.

Teaching and learning activities

Our Teaching and Learning Activities are focused on building your confidence, developing your problem-solving skills and preparing you for a successful career. Here you can read about how much time you should expect to spend undertaking these activities for this course along with a general description of the activity for all courses.


You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and in some cases practical workshops or laboratories. Seminars enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

Independent Learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, practicals or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the Learning Resource Centre, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. You independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities, including the Learning Resource Centre and the Hub.


Courses with placements give you the opportunity to put what you are learning into practice and to observe and work with a wide range of individuals and groups of people in diverse settings. Some courses offer placement opportunities in the UK and overseas.

Assessment Activities

Assessment Activities provide you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject and receive feedback on your performance. Here you can read about how much of your final mark is based on each type of formal assessment for this course along with a general description of the activity for all courses.


Assessment by written examinations normally takes place at the end of each module or semester, but they may also happen during modules.


Coursework assessments take place in a variety of ways, including assignments, essays, reports, portfolios, project output and your level 4 Honours project. We aim to provide you with feedback on your assessment within 20 working days of the submission date.


Practical assessments can include oral presentations, performance, practical skills assessment, costume design and construction, film making, lab work or clinical practical skills depending on the nature of the course.




School experience 

School experience is a core element of the course. Over the four years you will complete a total of 30 weeks school experience. Students will undertake four blocks of placement as follows:

  • Year One: Community based education experience (4 weeks)
  • Year Two: Nursery (4 weeks in nursery) and Primary p1-3 (6 weeks)
  • Year Three: Primary 4—5 or 6—7
    (10 weeks)
  • Year Four: Primary 4—5 or 6—7
    (10 weeks)

School placements are allocated through the Student Placement System (SPS) which is automated and administered by the General Teaching Council, Scotland (GTCS). Placements are allocated by matching students to schools based on information provided by universities, local authorities and schools. Placements are based on a student’s term-time address and students are not required to travel in excess of 90 minutes each way to a school placement. Students are not permitted to seek placements independently. Students are continually assessed throughout each school experience by maintaining a placement file and a portfolio of progress. All students are supported on placement by school and university tutors.

Community experience

Undertaking a community-based education experience is a unique aspect of this course and enables students to learn about the integration of formal and informal education through a range of community projects. You will complete two community education experiences as follows:

  • Year One: you will arrange a five-day (or equivalent hours) voluntary community experience
  • Year Four: you will complete a minimum of three weeks (or equivalent hours) community-based experience

Students are responsible for sourcing the placement host organisation that can be in the UK or abroad. To help with the process, we hold a recruitment event on campus to help pair you with a suitable organisation.


Exchange opportunities


Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: Standard - ABBB,  Minimum: BBBB

A Level: BBC

Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC): H2 H2 H2 H3

International Baccalaureate: 30 points

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5

Required subjects:

  • Higher English grade B AND Maths at Nat 5
  • A levels: GCSE English Literature B/6 AND GCSE English Language B/6 AND GCSE Maths B/6
  • ILC: English H2 AND Maths O3

Mature/Access: We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications or experience, see: www.qmu.ac.uk/college-qualifications

Direct Entry:

Year One

Year Two

  • There may be limited places for applicants with HNC Childhood Practice (120 SCQF credits), A in the graded unit, evidence of 40 placement hours, plus Higher English B and Maths Nat 5 C.

Other requirements: A satisfactory criminal records check is required.


Associate student places



You will graduate fully qualified to work as a primary school teacher. You will have the skills, confidence and passion to make a real difference in the lives of young learners.

By law graduates must register with the GTCS before they can be employed as a teacher in a Scottish education authority nursery, primary, secondary or special school. A teacher’s fitness to teach (ie in terms of conduct) will be considered at the point of application for registration.

Graduates will be provisionally registered with GTCS, and Home/RUK/ROI students will be eligible to join the Teacher Induction Scheme and undertake a one-year induction in a Scottish primary school to become fully registered with the GTCS.

For information on teacher’s salaries in Scotland, visit: www.tes.com/news/how-much-are-teachers-paid-scotland.


Professional registration/accreditation

Graduates will be provisionally registered with GTCS, and Home/RUK/ROI students will be eligible to join the Teacher Induction Scheme and undertake a one-year induction in a Scottish primary school to become fully registered with the GTCS.

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

Awarding body

QMU. For more information, please see ‘External Review’ section on the ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’ page.

More information and contacts

For admissions or eligibility enquiries, please contact admissions@qmu.ac.uk and for any course enquiries please contact ITE@qmu.ac.uk

Alternatively, contact Chris Green cgreen@qmu.ac.uk, Programme leader.    

View Open Day presentation

Please note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2022/23 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate)

Teaching staff may be subject to change.

Course Overview

4 years full-time
Start Date
September 2022
On campus
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Fees & Funding

Student Story

Lucy Cowan It's fantastic that the programme leaders and lecturers at QMU are so forward-thinking and work so hard to make lots of new opportunities available to us Learn more about Lucy's story