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Start Dates
Degree type

BA

Course length

3 years full-time

Location

Durham City

UCAS code

X101

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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level ABB
International Baccalaureate 34

Course details

At Durham University, we are passionate about developing high-quality teachers who aspire to make a difference to the lives of their pupils, both now and in the future. At the core of our vision is a more equitable world in which education plays an important role in enabling individuals, communities and societies to flourish.

The Primary Education degree is ideal if you are committed to a teaching career in a primary school. You will complete a minimum of 140 days school experience, including training about whole-school issues that affect children’s learning environment. The QTS element is accredited by Newcastle University and awarded by the Department of Education.

The degree develops the professional knowledge and understanding to provide a foundation for effective teaching in a primary school. This includes:

  • An understanding of responsibilities and roles of the primary teacher
  • An understanding of schools and National Curriculum as the framework for children’s formal learning
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of core National Curriculum subjects
  • Knowledge and understanding of other primary curriculum subjects to support effective teaching
  • Classroom effectiveness, drawing upon expertise of practising teachers
  • Personal educational philosophy
  • A professional approach to your work.

The degree is aligned with the research focus of the department, offering up-to-date, relevant materials to support you as a developing teacher.

Course structure

Year 1

Core modules:

The Evidence Informed Primary Teacher: Developing the Practice will help you develop an understanding of the Primary National Curriculum Framework and the key concepts underpinning primary learning. You will review relevant policy and legal requirements, and develop a critical appreciation of Foundation subject delivery in the primary context.

Shifting the Focus: From the ‘Three Rs’ to the ‘Three Cs’ develops your understanding of the key elements underpinning the primary curriculum and strengthen your knowledge of their connections. You will examine ways in which the core curriculum is taught and consider the issues involved in ensuring effective provision of the National Curriculum for all children.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Historical and Philosophical Ideas of Education
  • Intercultural and International Education
  • Foundations of Psychology in Education
  • Disability and Educational Needs: What’s so ‘Special’ about SEND?

Year 2

Core modules:

The Evidence Informed Primary Teacher: Enhancing Expertise enables you to develop a deeper understanding of the Primary National Curriculum Framework and the key concepts underpinning primary approaches to teaching. You will evaluate Foundation subject delivery and explore alternative curricula design and delivery methods.

The Three Cs: Criticality, Concepts and Curriculum further develops your understanding of the key elements underpinning the primary curriculum and strengthens your knowledge of their connections. You will explore issues involved in ensuring effective provision of the National Curriculum for all children, including contemporary influences and initiatives.

Educational Research Methods will help you understand the purposes and implications of educational research. You will develop a critical appreciation of the different ways in which research can be carried out in education, and learn how to assess the quality of educational research.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Cultural Identity, Interculturality and Education
  • Constructions of Childhood
  • Assessing Education
  • Learning and Development in Childhood
  • Disability and Educational Needs: Impairment, Empowerment and Education

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement or year abroad)

Double Dissertation: Disciplinary Contexts of Education. For your dissertation you will undertake an extended, independent piece of research with an appropriate educational focus. The dissertation is an opportunity to bring together all the skills, knowledge and understanding gained on the course into one in-depth piece of work.

Beyond the Three Cs: An Adventure in Primary Pedagogy gives you a rich and connected understanding of the primary curriculum, and an understanding of progression beyond primary phase. You will have the chance to develop your critical awareness of effective provision of the National Curriculum for all children.

Future Leaders will deepen and extend your knowledge and understanding of the role of the subject leader within the primary school. You will engage with the challenges of leadership and how to work with colleagues effectively to support them in teaching across the curriculum. You will also be introduced to important current initiatives and curriculum legislation.

Professional development

During the course, you will be assigned to one of our Partnership School Training Centres, where you will have the opportunity to develop your skills in a classroom context, supported by the school, your School Training Centre Co-ordinator and a University Tutor.

These school-based activities involve structured classroom observations, planning and research projects and practical teaching – the latter starting with teaching individual pupils, eventually leading through group work to full classroom teaching. You will have a designated teacher-mentor who will guide your work in schools. Across all three years of the course, there are weekly serial visits and a range of block placements in school.

Additional pathways

Students on BA Primary Education can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.

Placement

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Learning

Lectures provide a supporting framework of key theories and concepts, with follow-up seminars for peer-assisted learning and discussion. These seminars reflect the nature and approach to teaching in the primary classroom, and support additional aspects of professional development. The degree offers many opportunities for group work, allowing you and your cohort to develop as a close team.

You will be introduced to a range of classroom perspectives and stakeholder viewpoints, analysing the relationships between theory, practice and policy.

You will also be assigned to one of our Partnership School Training Centres, where you will have the opportunity to develop your skills in a teaching context. This is supported by the school, your School Training Centre Co-ordinator and a University Tutor.

Assessment

Most taught modules are assessed by assignments, presentations and portfolios.

As part of the course curriculum, you will access the Government’s Core Content Framework (CCF) criteria.

School-based activities will be observed, and by the end of the course you must demonstrate that you meet the Government’s Teachers’ Standards in order to be awarded QTS.

Entry requirements

You must have a demonstrable interest and involvement in the lives and development of young people and:

A level offer – ABB or above (or equivalent).

GCSE English, Mathematics and Science at Grade 4 (or C) or above (or equivalent).

If your equivalent qualifications are from an overseas institution, you must apply for a Statement of Comparability from NARIC.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDM.

IB Diploma score – 34 with 665 in higher level subjects.

Your professional and interpersonal qualities and your commitment to teaching will be considered when making an admissions decision. Candidates who meet the criteria, will be invited to a selection day. Selection days will involve individual interviews with a pre-prepared presentation element and tests to assess written English and other skills.

Additional requirements

Successful candidates will receive an offer conditional upon successful medical and criminal record checks. The latter is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service and full instructions on how to apply will be provided.

If you have a criminal record of any kind, you may contact the School of Education DBS Manager, Caroline Emery, for further advice and information. All enquiries will be treated in confidence.

We strongly encourage you to register for the DBS Update Service, which lets you take your certificate from one employer to another without having to apply for a new check.

Please note, all DBS Enhanced Disclosures for our Students must be applied for through Durham University unless you have applied to the Update Service.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £24,750 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £24,750 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

School of Education

Our students graduate with a broad range of transferable skills which open the door to careers across a wide range of sectors in the education sector and beyond.

Our BA in Primary Education offers the opportunity to gain Qualified Teacher Status with most graduates progressing directly into teaching. Graduates of the BA in Education Studies degrees move into a diverse range of roles including educational research, publishing, education administration, policy making and management as well as roles in the commercial or public sector. Some students choose further study, progressing to doctoral programmes, while others choose a Masters degree or a PGCE in primary or secondary education.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 100% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 100% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £24,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

Department information

School of Education

Embark on an Education degree at Durham and join us in a first-class experience which combines innovative teaching and exceptional support with a learning experience informed by the highest quality research. We offer courses for people who want to teach and for those who want to develop a broader background in education. Working together we can shape the education of the future.

Our BA in Primary Education has been previously rated outstanding by Ofsted. The programme provides the tools and support you need to become an inspiring and outstanding teacher who will make a difference to the lives of pupils, both now and in the future.

We also offer a BA in Education Studies, which includes specialist pathway options in Geography, Psychology or Sociology. These broad, multidisciplinary degrees consider education, people and their function in the world. In addition to education-specific learning you have the option to choose modules from across the wider university to extend the breadth and depth of your experience.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • World Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2022
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2023.

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the School of Education pages

Research Excellence Framework

  • 2nd for Outstanding Research in Education (REF 2021).

Facilities

The School of Education is a diverse, inclusive and vibrant community of almost 100 staff and more than 900 students. Located on the main campus at Lower Mountjoy, we are conveniently located near the main library and lots of other departments and university services.

Central to our teaching qualifications is the partnership between the University and schools in the area. We work with a diverse network of schools covering a wide geographical area, and if you choose a teaching qualification you will spend some of your time based in a school developing your professional skills to inspire the next generation.

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Find out more:

Use the UCAS code below when applying:

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X101

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses.

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