Primary Education Studies BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)

Chelmsford, Cambridge


We also offer Primary Education Studies BA (Hons) as a 2 year accelerated degree in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough.


Passionate about education? What children learn and how they are taught affects their experience. Our full-time Primary Education Studies degree course in Cambridge or Chelmsford explores fascinating ideas and core educational theories. Study key topics such as behaviour management and the curriculum. Prepare to be a teacher or explore a range of careers in education you may not have been aware of. You’re in charge.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Our course offers entry onto postgraduate initial teacher training, as well as a range of other careers in education, social care and health. Career options include family support; social work; nursing and related disciplines; early years settings; international, national and regional aid work with children and their families; and postgraduate study and research.

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Humanities, English, Media, Social Sciences and Education
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to the humanities, social sciences, English, media and education. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching, and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to a broad range of disciplines whose skills and theories are widely applicable. Students will study a variety of writing styles in order to recognise, deconstruct and replicate various forms of persuasive, analytical, and informative writing. Students will learn the basics of intercultural studies and how these theories can be applied to real-world problems. Students will consider social perceptions held across western cultures, and the difference between social and self-perception, participating in structured discussion and argument. Students will be introduced to the core principles of psychology and will explore various current applications of psychological theory. Students will also be introduced to ethics and will learn about some of the key theories and thinkers in the development of current ethical considerations in a range of scenarios. This module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Intercultural Studies; Psychology; Composition and Style; Ethics; Social Perceptions.

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 as a Construct Physical and Social Development of Children
    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.
  • 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: 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.
  • Perspectives on the Child 2: The Family School and Community
    Students will explore childhood cognitive development and learning will begin by exploring the key theories of cognitive development, particularly those of Piaget and Vygotsky but also including an examination of more recent information-processing and neo-Piagetian theories. The module will then build on children’s cognitive development by looking at Language development of children and offers an in-depth study of the development of speech, communication and language. The module will cover the development of speech, communication and language from a range of different viewpoints, socio-cultural, psychological/development, and educational.
  • 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.

Year three, core modules

  • Perspectives on the Child 3: Inclusion, SEND and Developmental Difficulties
    You will develop your theoretical understanding of a range of potential barriers to learning, which may arise for pupils in their educational contexts. This module is taught through two themes. In theme 1 ‘Inclusion and SEND: the policy and practice context’ students will develop their understanding of the developing policy context, and theoretical models and perspectives on inclusion and the child with SEND. Using theory and policy to inform practice, students will develop their approaches to identifying and reducing barriers to learning and for personalising provision, with the aim of developing inclusive practice for all pupils in an educational setting. In theme 2 ‘Developmental Difficulties of Primary aged children’ students will extend their theoretical understanding from theme 1 to learn about commonly occurring developmental difficulties and their implications in an educational context on the basis of previous knowledge gained throughout Theme 2 of the strand Perspectives on the Child.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Subject Knowledge for Teaching 3: Key Skills for Primary Teaching
    This module explores school effectiveness in its broadest sense. Starting with the requirements of Ofsted for an effective school, students will firstly consider the requirements for outstanding educational provision in Primary Schools, including leadership and governance, teaching and learning, and behaviour and safety of children. The module then moves on to explore one of the most significant contemporary debates in education, namely children’s wellbeing; this will begin with consideration of children’s physical wellbeing (including paediatric first aid training), but will move onto children’s mental health and subjective wellbeing.
  • Subject Knowledge for Teaching 3: The Wider Curriculum
    Building on the Subject Knowledge for Teaching English, Maths and Science modules previously studied to consider the wider primary curriculum through two complimentary themes. Theme 1 is an Arts-Based Approach to Environmental and Sustainability Education. Within this theme you’ll explore Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) with a focus on pedagogies of the arts (particularly art and drama). A theoretical analysis of the nature of ESE, before moving on to critically examine the nature-human binary. Contemporary issues concerning children’s connectedness with nature will then be considered before moving to explore a range of pedagogical approaches to ESE with a focus on Art and Drama. Theme 2 has a Multiple Intelligences through the Curriculum approach. This theme will consider and explore non-core subjects, such as Design and Technology (DT), Physical Education (PE), Music and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), through various learning styles and multiple intelligences.


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, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

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 starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Fee information

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

Additional Costs

At the beginning of the course you will be required to obtain an Enhanced DBS check for working in schools and with young people. This is likely to cost approximately £45.

As part of the course you will be offered a number of predominantly optional, local school visits. You will be responsible for transport costs for these

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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UK and EU students

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UCAScode: XX12

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