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 newly launched 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’ll study on an attractive, modern campus just six minutes from the centre of Edinburgh.
  • This is an intellectually inspiring course that is also 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’ll 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’ll 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’ll become skilful at integrating literacy, numeracy and wellbeing throughout your teaching.

Through practical experience in educational and community settings you’ll 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’ll 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 (Feb 2020) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2021. Please check back here for any updates.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You’ll learn through lectures, seminars, workshops, enquiry-based, student-led activity, independent study, online group tutorials, school experience/community placements. Assessment methods are varied, including essays, reports, presentations, blogs and audiovisual submissions. 

Please see below for an idea of teaching, learning and assessment for this course for 2020 entry. 2021 information will be added when it is available. 

>>Click for more information on 'Teaching, Learning and Assessment'


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 for 30 hours (or 5 Days)
  • Year Two: Nursery placement for 4 weeks and Primary 1-3 placement for 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 which 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: 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

Direct Entry:

Year Two

We expect to have a very small number of places available for second year entry into BA(Hons) Education Studies (Primary).  Due to this, and the very specific requirements for second year entry, we currently only have an articulation agreement with West Lothian College.  You can see the entry requirements on our “Coming from College” webpage. In addition to the HNC, you will be required to have Higher English at grade B and National 5 Maths at grade C to meet the GTCS requirements.

Other requirements: A satisfactory criminal records check is also 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/EU/RUK students will be eligible to join the Teacher Induction Scheme and undertake a one-year induction in a Scottish primary school in order to become fully registered with the GTCS.

Newly qualified teachers in their probation year currently start on a salary of £26,697 in Scotland. Secondary teachers get an additional £8,000 if they choose to complete their probationary year anywhere in Scotland, while primary teachers get £6,000 extra. Once you are fully registered, this increases incrementally over the first five years from £32,034 to £40, 206.

Professional registration/accreditation


Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

Awarding body


Please see the ‘External review’ section.

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.    

Please note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2021/22 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate)

Teaching staff may be subject to change.

Course Overview

4 years full-time
Start Date
September 2021
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