School of Society and Culture

BA (Hons) Primary Education

Are you passionate about shaping the future of education and changing lives? Are you interested in working with primary-aged children in schools or other settings? Our accelerated two-year degree in Primary Education takes a critical look at educational theory and the primary practices it underpins. Whilst offering the chance to gain an in-depth understanding of how children learn, our course capitalises on Plymouth Institute of Education’s unique geographical location in Britain’s Ocean City.

Key features

  • Gain a full BA (Hons) undergraduate degree in two years.
  • Bespoke study – options to arrange placements (paid/ voluntary) with national or international settings, enabling you to choose experiences relevant to your career aims.
  • 100% coursework = no exams.
  • Benefit from a specialist-led campus-based experience with hands-on placements in the classroom and beyond. 
  • Teaching is innovative and student-centred. You will learn through lectures, seminars, national or international placements, tutorials and one-to-one dissertation support.
  • Experience work-based learning in a range of educational contexts, regionally, nationally and internationally, according to your choice. 
  • Full access to the University of Plymouth’s extensive range of sporting and social opportunities, and student support services. 
  • The Year 1 summer placement allows you the opportunity to have flexibility in your location and nature of your educational setting. 
  • Next steps support to access onward routes to gain Qualified Teaching Status (QTS).

Course details

  • Year 1

  • Modules in this initial year will introduce you to the breadth of the primary curriculum and build your understanding of the latest evidence-informed professional practice. Through exploring the theories linked to learning and child development, you will begin to understand how children are currently supported to learn in primary settings.  Participate in interactive seminars and a placement in a primary setting, enabling you to begin to link theory and practice.
    Summer block
    During the summer months you will undertake a further extended placement, here or abroad depending on your choice. Alongside this, you will study an online professional skills module which will give you the flexibility to study with us here in Plymouth, at your home in the UK or internationally. Within the summer block, there are four weeks of holiday which you can organise flexibly around your chosen placement.

    Core modules

    • Introduction to Primary Education (PRIM401)

      A series of lectures given by members of the BA in Primary Education team, focusing on their own research, interests and enthusiasms. Combined with weekly seminars, these sessions will introduce students to the wide range of areas of study which are part of Primary Education. In addition to discovering the diversity of interests and approaches introduced in lectures, students will have the opportunity to develop study skills and dispositions, with support from the learning team.

    • How Children Learn (PRIM402)

      This module is all about how children learn and the social and political factors that influence the primary curriculum. Looking at key theorists in child development, both historical and current, students will develop their understanding of how theory relates to primary practice.

    • The Primary Curriculum: Introduction to the Core Subjects (PRIM403)

      An introduction to the primary curriculum where students will begin to explore the core subjects taught within primary settings. Students will learn how classroom practitioners establish a positive classroom ethos and engage children in the content of the curricula to promote holistic child development. A series of seminars/ workshops will immerse students in active learning to further their understanding of the primary curriculum and ways in which aspects of it may be taught.

    • Theorising Professional Practice (PRIM404)

      This module is designed to help students develop their reflective abilities and skills, important attributes that will further assist in their continuing professional development. As well as building on their curriculum knowledge, students will be supported to begin to identify and develop skills of professional practice that will remain with them long after University.

    • Professional Practice in the Classroom (PRIM405)

      This module will run simultaneously with Professional Practice within the Primary Classroom (campus-based) in order to align theory and practice within the primary setting. Off campus, students will have the opportunity to be immersed in primary stage (3 - 11 years) work-based settings and experience some of the theory that is being taught on campus. Students will be supported to arrange these placements, which may be attended on a paid or voluntary basis, enabling them to nominate a setting which best suits their interests. Like PRIM404, this module is designed to help students develop their reflective abilities and skills, important attributes that will further assist in their continuing professional development. Students will be supported to begin to identify and develop skills of professional practice that will remain with them long after University.

    • The Primary Curriculum: Introduction to the Foundation Subjects (PRIM406)

      This module will allow students to begin to explore the broader primary curriculum. A series of engaging seminars/ workshops will immerse students in active learning to further their understanding of the breadth of the primary curriculum and ways in which aspects of it may be taught.

    • The Role of Technology in Primary Practice (PRIM501)

      A lecture and seminar series which provides students with an understanding of the contribution of digital technology to learning in the primary environment. Students will practically explore technologies and engage in debates pertinent to themselves as professionals and the children within primary education.

    • The Wider Role of the Primary Professional (PRIM502)

      This module provides an opportunity to understand the wider role of the primary professional beyond the curriculum. It will encompass aspects such as safeguarding practices, well-being, and emotional development.

    • Learning Outside the Primary Classroom: Summer Placement (PRIM503)

      'Learning Outside the Primary Classroom: Summer Placement' allows students to experience learning with primary-aged children outside of the traditional British classroom, such as a forest school, sports’ or summer camp. Students may choose to complete this internationally, for example in an international camp or at a school or setting outside of the UK. Drawing on knowledge gained during the programme, students will be supported to reflect on how children can learn in a range of contexts.

  • Year 2

  • Building on your theoretical and practical experiences, our final year gives you the scope to bespoke your degree further by selecting an aspect of primary practice to focus on in more detail. You will also be supported to carry out your own research on an aspect of primary practice for your dissertation. Built-in careers support will prepare you for your next steps in education or a professional role.

    Core modules

    • An Introduction to International Primary Education (PRIM504)

      This module gives students chance to research and explore primary education approaches from around the world. Through a series of lectures and seminars, we will compare, discuss and debate the similarities and differences between education systems, their merits and challenges. This will enable participants to begin to consider their own visions and values within primary education.

    • Deepening Understanding of Primary Education (PRIM505)

      Through a series of further lectures given by members of the BA in Primary Education team, students will be encouraged to focus on areas which particularly interest them in Primary Education. Additional seminars and workshops will support the process of honing study and research skills in order for students to deepen their understanding.

    • A Critical Analysis of Teaching Pedagogy (PRIM601)

      This module deepens students’ understanding of subjects taught within primary settings. This is achieved by enhancing their subject and pedagogic knowledge across the primary curriculum. A series of seminars/ workshops will immerse students in active learning to further their understanding of the primary curriculum and ways in which aspects of it may be taught.

    • Dissertation (PRIM602)

      This module enables students to use the skills, experience and specialist subject knowledge they have acquired previously to attempt a significant piece of original research. They will relate their research to an aspect of primary education.

    • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Education (PRIM603)

      This module aims to give students opportunities to analyse principles which underpin effective teaching and learning, to consider their own attitudes and values and to develop an understanding of how to promote learning. This module will look at diversity amongst learners and look at aspects of difference such as LGBTQ+ and learners with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

    • Developing Subject Specialist Knowledge (PRIM604)

      For this module, students will select a specific area of focus from the primary curriculum. Through a series of seminars/ workshops, students will explore how practitioners advocate for their subjects, stages and aspects of primary education, both within their settings and wider contexts. Additionally, students will consider the progression of knowledge and key skills within their selected focus of study.

    • Sustainability in Education (PRIM605)

      Preparing them for the ever-changing challenges in the natural world, this module develops students’ critical thinking about how to promote children’s learning in and about the environment. Through a combination of practical activities and critical examination of research in the area, students will be supported to educate the next generation about looking after our planet.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA (Hons) Primary Education programme specification Sept 24_7775

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

DBS assessments and other requirements

It is important to note all offers of a place to study with us are made subject to receipt of satisfactory screenings prior to starting your course.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff


English and one of Mathemtics or Science at grade 4 / C or equivalent. 
Normal minimum entry requirements are BBC at A-level excluding General Studies.
BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
All applications to be referred to the Admissions Tutor.
Welsh Baccalaureate
Can be accepted as add-on points, in addition to 2 A-levels. Refer to Admissions Tutor.
Scottish Qualifications Authority
48 Points. All applications to be referred to the Admissions Tutor.
Irish Leaving Certificate
Normal minimum entry requirements are 3334.
International Baccalaureate
28 overall. English and Mathematics accepted within. Higher Level = 4   Standard Level = 5 
If overseas and not studying English within IB – MUST have IELTS: 6.0 overall with 5.5 in all other elements. 

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home N/A £11,100
International N/A £21,500
Part time (Home) N/A £620
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 
UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 
To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

How many places are available on the course?

There are up to 90 places for this first year of the new the programme.

If I only apply to this course through UCAS Extra, which I can only use if I give up any existing offers, how could I increase my likelihood of being accepted?

There is some helpful information about applications through UCAS Extra on the UCAS Extra website.
Please note that, if you save a choice, applying for up to four programmes, you do not need Apply Extra but can simply go in and edit your application at any time before 30 June to add, provided you have not accepted another offer.
As above, we do not anticipate being oversubscribed and there is no interview required for entry. If you satisfy the entrance requirements and your support statement evidences a genuine interest in Primary education you will receive an offer - this may be conditional if you have yet to gain your A-levels or equivalent qualifications

Are there any links to other universities to do a PGCE in the third year or will I have to apply again in 2026 elsewhere on my own?

You will need to submit your own application, however, we will support you with this process. There is careers support built into the programme and we have already gained assurances, for example from SWIFT, that graduates from this programme will be guaranteed an interview. You would need to graduate with an honours degree, a 2:2 or above, to qualify and have GCSE grade 4 or equivalent in English, Mathematics and Science.
Entrance to the BA (Hons) Primary Education is 112 UCAS tariff points plus GCSE grade 4 or equivalent in English, and in either Mathematics or Science. Students with two of the three GSCEs will be supported to gain the third alongside their study.

What are the benefits of the BA over a BEd?

Both can lead to QTS in three academic years.
The BEd has additional challenges in that students need to complete their professional practice qualification alongside the academic study. 
Until recently, BEd courses were four years long in recognition of this and we find that a significant proportion of students take an additional year to complete, interrupting their final placement to repeat the following year
The accelerated two year degree route, followed by an additional year to gain QTS has the following benefits:
  • Flexibility to pause and gain graduate employment before embarking on QTS year
  • Taking the PGCE route (post graduate one year course) gives you the opportunity to gain Master's Level credits.
  • Having the BA (Hons) in Primary Education will give graduates additional skills, confidence and competencies as they undertake their professional practice and begin their teaching career; sadly there is a high drop-out rate amongst Early Career Teachers. We believe that this route will see our graduates better prepared and supported to enter the teaching profession on completion of a PGCE.
Additionally, there is a choice of routes to gain QTS; University based PGCE route, School Centered Initial Teacher Training route (SCITT) or, potentially a paid apprenticeship route.

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Jo Hawkes, Programme Co-ordinator
Tamara Mortimer, Programme Co-ordinator

Academic staff