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Durham University


X101 Primary Education BA Undergraduate  2021


Please note: 2020-21 courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Summaries of course-specific changes resulting from the impact of Covid-19 will be provided to applicants during August 2020.

For the latest information on our plans for teaching in academic year 2020/21 in light of Covid-19, please see

UCAS code X101
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 Years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications
Contextual Offers You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.
More information Still have questions?
Department(s) Website

Course Summary


At Durham University, we are passionate about developing high-quality teachers who aspire, through their scholarly, reflective and inspirational practice, to make a difference to the lives of their students, 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 offers Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and is ideal for those committed to a teaching career in a primary school. In addition to preparing you to teach the whole curriculum, the course enables you to become a specialist in a particular curriculum area: English, Mathematics or Science. 

The degree aims to help you develop an appropriate repertoire of professional knowledge and understanding to provide a foundation for effective teaching in a primary school; an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the core subjects of the National Curriculum; personal skills which would enable you to contribute to a school as a curriculum specialist in one of the core areas; knowledge and understanding of the other subjects in the primary curriculum to a level which will support effective teaching; understanding of schools and the National Curriculum as the framework within which children’s formal learning takes place; classroom effectiveness by drawing upon the expertise of practising teachers; a personal educational philosophy and a professional approach to your work; an understanding of the responsibilities and roles of the primary teacher.

The Primary Education degree offer closely aligns with the research focus and outputs of the department, offering evidence-based, recent and relevant materials alongside other academic elements, which will fully support the developing primary practitioner.  There is an opportunity to personalise the degree from the range of optional modules on offer in Years 1 and 2. There are excellent opportunities for the consideration of international and intercultural perspectives; increasingly relevant with current UK policy looking to overseas pedagogies to inform curriculum development.

The course also offers forward-looking professional development opportunities such as the development of the role of the teacher-researcher and the opportunity to explore the role of subject leadership within schools for future career development. 

Course Structure

Year 1

Core modules:

  • The Evidence Informed Primary Teacher: Developing the Practice
  • Shifting the Focus: From the “Three Rs” to the “Three Cs”.

Examples of optional modules include:

  • Context of Education
  • Introduction to Intercultural and International Education
  • Evidence in 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
  • The Three Cs: Criticality, Concepts and Curriculum
  • Educational Research Methods. 

Examples of optional modules include:

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

Year 3

Core modules:

  • Future Leaders: Subject Co-ordination and Leadership
  • Beyond the Three Cs: An Adventure in Primary Pedagogy
  • Double Dissertation: Disciplinary Contexts of Education.

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 teaching background supported by the school, your School Training Centre Co-ordinator and a University Tutor.

The school-based activities involve structured classroom observations, planning and research projects and practical teaching - the latter starting by teaching individual pupils, eventually leading through group work to full classroom teaching. You will each have a designated teacher-mentor who will guide your work in schools. In all three years of the course, there are weekly serial visits and block placements in school; increasing in length from 4 weeks in Year 1 to 12 weeks in Year 3.

Placement Year

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

Course Learning and Teaching

Lectures provide supporting frameworks of key theories and concepts with follow up seminars being used as peer-assisted learning opportunities and dialogic approaches to teaching and learning.  The seminar mode of delivery reflects the nature and approach to teaching in the primary classroom and supports the additional aspects of professional development programme.

At many points throughout the degree students are encouraged and required to work in teams which will enhance cohort cohesion as well as support professional and academic development.  Students will therefore learn from their peers as well as their academic and professional tutors. Students will be able to analyse a range of classroom perspectives and stakeholder viewpoints, triangulating between theory, practice and policy.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

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 plus B at A-Level.

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.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £21,730.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £21,730.00 per year

The tuition fees shown for home and EU 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 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 funding 

Career Opportunities

School of Education

Of thse students who graduated in 2017:

  • 94% are in paid employment or further study 6 months after graduation

Of those in employment:

  • 94% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £22,487

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2016/17 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found

Our Schools Partnership produces consistently good primary teachers and many of our Graduates are considered to be outstanding.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

School of Education


The School of Education at Durham University is an Ofsted-rated Outstanding Provider of Initial Teacher Education (rated in 2010/11 and again in 2012/13).

The core of our programme is the partnership between the University and schools. The course has been developed so that students are taught by primary education experts, using innovative and research informed methods to develop their knowledge and skills. Outstanding teachers require excellent subject and pedagogical knowledge, and our programme offers both academic and practical opportunities to develop both.

Our partnership with schools is firmly embedded within the programme, so students spend time in school throughout the course of study. Our network of primary schools covers a wide geographical area and a diverse range of schools. We operate a cluster model, where schools work in teams to offer a variety of teaching experiences to our students, putting into practice their professional learning. Our programme weaves together knowledge, skills and understandings from research, theory and practice-based experiences.


  • Rated as ‘Outstanding’ course by Ofsted in the most recent assessment in 2013.
  • 1st in the Complete University Guide 2018.
  • 2nd in The Guardian University Guide 2018.
  • 3rd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

In the National Student Survey 2017 our students said that:

  • Our staff are good at explaining things (93%)
  • My course has provided me with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth (94%)
  • My course has provided me with opportunities to apply what I have learnt (94%)
  • I have been able to contact staff when I needed to (89%)