Primary Education Studies BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

Chelmsford, Cambridge

September 2017


It’s not just what children learn, but the context in which they learn, which affect their life experiences. Many other factors can also impact on education outcomes. Our course explores all these fascinating ideas, and will prepare you for teaching or a range of careers relating to education.

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Full description


Our course offers entry onto postgraduate initial teacher training as well as a range of other careers in the fields of education, social care and health. Careers including Family Support and Social Work, Nursing and related disciplines, Early Year’s settings, International, National and Regional Aid work with children and their families, postgraduate study and research.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Key Paradigms 1: History and Philosophy of Primary Education
    This module introduces you to key concepts and issues in the history, sociology and philosophy of education. By examining historical and current issues that are of major concern within the world of education, the module seeks to provide you with the theoretical ideas that will underpin your studies in year 2 and 3. Themes such as equality, human rights and citizenship are addressed both as current political issues and as ideas that illustrate the competing ideologies within education. The module also provided you with the opportunity to develop skills related to factual learning such as accessing, assimilating and organising information.
  • Perspectives on the Child 1: Childhood
    This module explores the ways in which childhood is constructed by societies and communities. You will consider how constructions of childhood have changed over time and how these different constructions have been shaped by political, social and economic factors. You will be provided with theoretical ideas from the literary theory and cultural studies fields, which will support future studies in year 2 and 3.
  • Primary Pedagogy 1: The Curriculum and Primary Teaching, Research Foundations
    Focusing on current policy for the curriculum in English primary schools, this module begins with the questions ‘What is a curriculum?’ and ‘What are the principles by which a curriculum could be designed?’ You will study how the curriculum has developed since it was legislated for as the National Curriculum in the 1988 Education Reform Act and put in place between 1990 and 1992. You will explore some of the key issues, perspectives and debates within the discipline of educational studies. You will first reflect on aspects of your own past education experiences. You will then explore qualitative and quantitative research processes, as well as a variety of research methods used by researchers, and consider how they can be applied in practice.
  • Subject Knowledge for Teaching 1: Early Language, Reading and Writing and Early Mathematical Concepts
    This module will introduce you to core subject knowledge for teaching, focusing on early literacy and mathematical theory, practice and pedagogy. You will acquire a clear developmental perspective on these core curriculum subjects which will be useful for teaching across the three Key Stages of primary education. You will gain an understanding of the diversity of ability in the primary classroom, and learn how to make necessary adjustments to plan personalised learning experiences and meet a wide range of needs. Early literacy and mathematical provisions for learning within the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 are a fundamental area of practice with a unique identity and ethos of its own. We will use online materials to encourage you to value creativity and responsiveness to the youngest learners in primary education. You will be able to use your knowledge in your future career in the primary classroom or alternative area of professional practice.
  • Subject Knowledge for Teaching 1: Science and Technology 1
    This module will cover the subject knowledge and pedagogy required to teach science and technology effectively (with an introduction to computing) in early years and Key Stage 1. You will reflect on investigative learning and consider outdoor learning. The Danish education system and its promotion of Forest Schools will be used as an example. You will discuss ‘Talk for science’, an essential element which stresses communication and language skills for reasoning and learning across the curriculum. You will reflect on ICT as an essential tool. At the start of the module, you will attend workshops to enable you to become familiar with appropriate programmes to support learning in primary schools and be introduced to computing in the early stages of primary education. By the end of the module, you will be able to use practices appropriate to Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and teach science and technology with confidence and enthusiasm.

Year two, core modules

  • Key Paradigms 2: Sociology and Politics
    Building on the knowledge you gained in the Year 1 modules, you will engage in a more critical and analytic exploration of the notion of equality, including critiquing notions of justice and social justice. The notion of community through the role of the individual and groups in communities and wider social arenas will be explored. You will discuss what it means to hold rights, children’s rights and the link between being a rights holder and a responsible citizen. The module also considers the notion of the individual, individual freedom and identity and the impact of culture on identity and life in a wider social arena.
  • Perspectives on the Child 2: The Family, School and Community, Communication, Language and Cognitive Development
    You will reflect on how families, schools and communities play a part in an individual’s educational experiences and achievements. Working from the sociological theory of cultural capital, we draw out relationships between the assumptions underlying successful partnerships and what they mean for individuals growing up in disadvantaged families. The rights of the child will also be explored.
  • Primary Pedagogy 2: Creativity, Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods
    You will study how the National Curriculum is taught and how teaching and learning strategies might be used within the EYFS and the National Curriculum to enrich children's learning, for example through cross-curricular approaches. You will also examine the use of data in schools, in particular understanding data for assessment and tracking the progress of pupils. You will undertake observation activities through secondary sources (such as video clips) in primary practice and/or related settings of primary education.
  • Subject Knowledge for Teaching 2: English and Mathematics 2
    Building on your knowledge from Year 1, you will continue to develop your personal subject knowledge for teaching in reading and mathematics. You will be encouraged to observe and reflect on practice in school or to view online materials which depict the teaching of reading and mathematics in upper Key Stages 1 and 2.
  • Subject Knowledge for Teaching 2: Science and Technology 2
    Following on from the Year 1 module, you will consolidate personal subject knowledge for teaching science and technology in Key Stage 2. You will be introduced to assessment strategies and more developed approaches to planning to meet the full range of learners’ needs. You will also consider inclusion and safeguarding in the teaching of science and technology in Key Stage 2.

Year three, core modules

  • Key Paradigms 3: International and global perspectives in Education
    Deconstructing the education system will help you to gain greater understanding of the complexities of how the education system works and how the parts of a system are related to one another and to society. You will explore policy, practice and curriculum in the UK and across the globe. Learning about education systems in other countries and making a comparison with your own will enable you to view educational issues systematically. If you have an interest in working in the educational sector overseas after graduating, this will also allow you to develop country specific knowledge.
  • Perspectives on the Child 3: SEND and Inclusion, Developmental Difficulties of Primary aged children
    You will develop your theoretical understanding of a range of potential barriers to learning, which may arise for pupils in their educational contexts. Using theory to inform practice, you will develop your approaches to identifying and reducing barriers, with the aim of developing inclusive practice for all pupils in an educational setting.
  • Primary 3: Contemporary Issues in Education, Specialist Focus Project
    The specialist focus project enables you to demonstrate the ability to raise and address significant questions in relation to a chosen topic, which may involve auditing or evaluating existing practice or commenting on significant theoretical or conceptual developments at the local or national level within the area of primary education studies. You will consider current issues and research within education and develop your own specialist focus.
  • Subject Knowledge for Teaching 3: English and Mathematics 3
    Following the Year 1 and 2 modules, you will be given the opportunity to further develop your personal subject knowledge of effective teaching for writing and mathematics within creative contexts. On completion of this module you will understand how expert, creative practice (as represented in the Teachers’ Standards) enables all learners to realise their potential and to make progress.
  • Subject Knowledge for Teaching 3: Key Skills for Primary Teaching
    This module focuses on the ‘craft’ skills of teaching, the practice necessary for effective learning to take place, for example classroom organisation, behaviour management, assessment and planning. You will develop a good practical understanding of primary pedagogy, underpinned by theory and the Teachers’ Standards. This will prepare you for further training either as a teacher or other professions related to the education and care of primary age children. You will learn about professional identify, values and conduct.


Assessments on our course include the following activities:

  • Poster presentation
  • Group presentation
  • Essay
  • Reflective log or commentary
  • Report
  • Specialist Focus Project (dissertation by literature review)

There are also opportunities for informal (formative assessment) to give you the necessary support and opportunities to be an active learner and to make contributions to our learning community in lectures, seminars or online groups. Your tutors will monitor individual, group and cohort learning in order to personalise teaching approaches so that you learn in the way that is most suited to you.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education is the largest provider of health, social care and education courses in the East of England, with over 6,000 students from more than 20 countries.

With 95% of our students finding full-time employment within six months of graduating, you can be sure that our courses have been designed with your career in mind. We’ve been educating nurses, midwives and social workers for over 25 years.

At the cutting edge of research, we offer a range of internationally recognised undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses taught by friendly, supportive and experienced staff. With over 150 research students across our three doctoral programmes (PhD; DProf and EdD), we provide the multi-disciplinary perspective and potential for academic debate that reflects our position as a leader in practitioner-focused and practice-led research studies.

Designed to enhance your learning experience, our facilities include state-of-the-art simulated skills laboratories that mirror real-life clinical situations and UK hospital wards. Our students also benefit from our Early Childhood Research and Resource Centre; a space in which they can experiment with equipment and play activities.

You’ll study in an exciting, modern faculty which has strong links with regional, national and international organisations, including healthcare trusts, social services, local and regional authorities, schools and academic institutions.

Your enthusiasm. Our passion. Your best foot forward.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

You will be encouraged to seek volunteering opportunities in a range of schools or other provisions for primary aged children as a means of gaining direct experience of observing professional practice at first hand. Such experiences will inform and support your academic studies by providing an understanding of varied contexts for the education and care of primary age children based on personal experience and reflection. It is anticipated that through such focused volunteering work and observation you will enhance your personal profiles for employability, or postgraduate teacher training.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


International students, 2017/18 (per year)


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For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

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