Primary Education with QTS - BA (Hons)

Course Overview

The essential course information

UCAS Code:
BA (Hons)
Full Time (3 years)
School of Education
City North

With high graduate employment rates, this course offers the professional qualification of Qualified Teacher Status as well as an Honours degree. You will have practical experience in a range of schools, rich in cultural, ethnic and social diversity, on your way to teaching either three to seven or five to 11 age ranges in Early Years or primary school settings.

What's covered in the course?

If you opt for the three to seven phase, you will focus on the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and this will include studying the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum. The five to 11 range follows the National Curriculum, with emphasis on mathematics, English and science.

Choosing a specialist subject gives you an opportunity to begin to develop a more detailed understanding and knowledge of areas connected with learning and teaching in Primary and Early Years education. These include art, design and technology, drama, English, history, geography, music, mathematics, PE, primary languages, religious education, science, special educational needs, and children’s wellbeing. As you would expect, school teaching experience plays a vital role in your training.

Located in the heart of the West Midlands, you have the chance to gain experience in an area of rich ethnic and cultural diversity.

Throughout, you enjoy excellent specialist study facilities, including music, art, design and drama studios, as well as the insight and support of tutors who enhance your learning with their own experiences as outstanding classroom teachers.

“I have undertaken a placement in a primary school for each academic year. Each placement was at a different school in a different year group so I was able to experience a wide range of teaching.”
Verity Graham

Why Choose Us?

  • There is no need to make a firm decision on your preferred age range until the course starts.
  • Your practical teaching experience, on both block and serial placements, is enhanced throughout by constructive feedback from your placement mentor.
  • The University enjoys excellent links with local schools, and those in which you train are carefully selected as offering the most supportive environments for your professional development.
  • The course offers the chance to develop primary language teaching skills in Spanish primary schools.
  • There is an opportunity for some students to undertake a teaching experience in a special school.
  • 94 per cent of Birmingham City University-trained newly qualified primary teachers rated the quality of their training as good or very good in the latest Newly Qualified Teacher Survey.

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

To study on this course, you will need certain qualifications and you will need to have recently completed a minimum of two weeks work experience in a state primary school.

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2015/16

A minimum of 5 GCSEs or equivalent, at grade C or above, at the point of application. These must include English Language, Mathematics and Science.

GCE A Level Grade BBB at A-level or300 UCAS Tariff points. General Studies is not considered. AS Levels are not considered.
Access to Higher Education Diploma
(Teaching or Education)
Teaching or Education related pathway. 60 credits including 45 at Level 3, of which 40 Level 3 credits are at merit / distinction. If you do not hold GCSE English, Maths and Science at grade C or above, then credits must also include English, Maths and Science at Level 2.
BTEC National Diploma (12-units) Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points.
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units) DDM
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units) Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points.
International Baccalaureate Diploma 26 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 300 UCAS points including 4 higher level grades at C2 or above from a maximum of 5 subjects.
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher Minimum of 3 subjects to a total of 300 UCAS points.
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points.

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Please note we will not make offers on the following qualifications:

  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce (QCF)
  • CACHE Level 3 Extended Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce (QCF)
  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

Typical EU/Non-EU (International) QualificationsRequirements 2015/16
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 26 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
Government requirements for teacher training courses

For entry onto any teaching training course you will need to successfully pass the government's Professional Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy. You will not be allowed to enrol on your course until you have passed these tests.

Visit the DfE website for further information.

In addition successful candidates will be required to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance via the Faculty.

How to Apply

Full Time: Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: X120.
Apply via UCAS

Non-EU (International) students:. There are three ways for international students to apply: direct to the University, through a country representative or through UCAS. Please read our guidance on how to apply.

UCAS Information

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £9,000 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £11,500 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Travel costs associated with your school placements will be at your own expense. If you decide to participate in overseas visits or trips, then a proportion of the costs will be at your expense.

Financial Options and Advice

We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.

Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Employment Opportunities

Employment prospects are outstanding compared to national averages - we expect all students to obtain teaching posts on graduation. League tables show that our primary graduates are consistently successful in gaining responsible teaching posts.

Education courses are one of the top 12 degree subjects for getting a job according to a recent article in the Telegraph, with 92.6 per cent of graduates nationwide going into work or further study within six months of finishing their degree.


School experience is integrated closely with the work undertaken in the School of Education. The experiences are planned in a developmental and supportive manner with students progressively taking more responsibility for the classroom over the three years.

Each year has a range of school experience and a block practice.

Further Studies

The school offers a programme of continuing professional development for newly qualified teachers and serving teachers. Graduates may also consider pursuing their studies further on the MA Education programme.

Full Time

About KIS data

From September 2012, all universities and colleges are publishing standardised information for all undergraduate courses in the form of a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS data is designed to meet the needs of prospective students and allow for informed decision-making when choosing a university course.

Putting our students first

We pride ourselves on our student satisfaction levels which have risen from 73 per cent to 83 per cent between 2010 and 2012. Our dedication to improving the student experience is illustrated by our award-winning student engagement, our close links with business and industry and our £180 million investment in new facilities.

Employability facts

90.2 per cent of graduates from the School of Education who responded to our survey went into employment in teaching roles in varying levels of education (and/or further study), earning an average full-time salary of £20,400.

Working with your Students’ Union

Improving student satisfaction is a priority commitment shared by both Birmingham City University and its Students’ Union. In its strategic planning, the Union has pledged to be more accessible, more relevant and provide more opportunity to engage with a diverse student community.

The Students’ Union is already a key stakeholder in supporting an excellent teaching experience at Birmingham City University, through joint projects such as the Extra Mile Teaching Awards and the Student Rep scheme, which allows students to share their ideas on how they are taught.

As Birmingham City University moves towards a two campus strategy where it can better support enhanced learning and student support facilities across a two-mile radius, the Students’ Union will also be better able to implement its commitment to improve communication and engage with its valued student membership.

Course Structure

The course consists of Professional Studies, Curriculum Studies Subject Specialist Modules and School Experience.

The course features lectures, seminars, workshops, electronic learning, research, guest speakers and practical study opportunities, including trips, field work and school placements.

Faculty-based work

Professional Studies provide an understanding of learning and teaching and the knowledge and skills to teach across the Foundation Stage and Key Stages 1 and 2.

If you opt for the 3-7 phase, you will focus on the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and this will include studying the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum. The 5-11 age phase follows National Curriculum, with emphasis on English, mathematics and science.

This takes place at our City North Campus and includes Teaching Studies which cover:

  • Professional Studies which focus on teaching and learning.
  • The curriculum as relevant to your age phase choice i.e. if your age phase choice is 3-7 your curriculum studies will focus on the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 including studying the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum. If you choose 5-11, you will cover all the National Curriculum subjects with an emphasis on the core subjects of mathematics, English and science.
  • A choice of specialist modules to enable you to develop a more detailed understanding and knowledge of areas connected with learning and teaching in primary and early years education including: Art, Design and Technology, Drama, English, History, Geography, Music, Mathematics, PE, Primary Languages, Religious Education, Science and Special Educational Needs.

School-based work

Students undertake a large amount of school experience in a variety of schools in each year. Placements are in your chosen age range of the course, i.e. 3-7 or 5-11.

Course Modules

The modules below relate to the existing version of the course and give an indication of the type of taught content to expect. An exciting, revised, refreshed and updated set of modules will be taught from September 2015 as the course is currently being revalidated.

Year 1

Core Modules:

  • Principles of Learning and Teaching (15)
  • Children's Development, Health and Wellbeing (15)
  • Understanding English, Communication and Languages (15)
  • Mathematical Understanding (15)
  • Scientific and Technological Understanding (15)
  • Understanding the Arts (15)
  • Historical, Geographical and Social Understanding (15)
Enhancement module (15)
Teaching practice
Certificate of Higher Education / Progression to Level 5
Year 2

Core Modules:

  • English and Primary Languages in the FS and KS1 3-7 / English and Primary Languages in KS1 and KS2 5-11 (15)
  • Mathematics in the FS and KS1 3-7 / Mathematics in KS1 and KS2 5-11 (15)
  • Science and Technology in the FS and KS1 3-7 / Science and Technology in KS1 and KS2 5-11 (15)
  • Personalised Learning (15)
  • Inclusive Practice (15)
  • Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years 3-7 / Effective Pedagogy in the Primary School 5-11 (15)
Enhancement Module (15)
Teaching Practice / Foundation stage KS1/2 (15)
Diploma of Higher Education / Progression to Level 6
Year 3

Core Modules

  • English for Reflective Practitioners in the FS and KS1 3-7 / English for Reflective Practitioners in KS1 and KS2 5-11 (15)
  • Mathematics for Reflective Practitioners in the FS and KS1 3-7 / Mathematics for Reflective Practitioners in KS1 and KS2 5-11 (15)
  • Managing Thinking and Learning Across the Curriculum (15)
  • Independent Study (30)
  • Contemporary Issues in Education (15)
Teaching Practice: Foundation Stage KS1 or KS1/2 (30)
Optional Module: The Primary School and the Community
BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS / BA (Hons) Primary Education *

*Any trainee achieving 60 credits drawn from any modules at level 6, making a total of 300 credits in total over the whole course and reaching the end of their registration period or leaving the course, is entitled to the award of BA Primary Education.

Assessment Methods

There is a combination of assessed coursework and teaching practice in all years which cumulatively contributes towards meeting The National College for Teaching and Leadership standards for newly qualified teachers. Some assessments also contribute to the degree classification.

Katy Helen

The Individual:
Since graduating from Birmingham City University I’ve been teaching in the International School of Siem Reap in Cambodia, which follows the British curriculum. I am the Reception 2 Teacher and I’m also the Early Years Co-ordinator, which is massive task for an NQT, but I love it. It’s been lots of hard work, but it’s amazing the difference that has been made to the early years in that short time.

When I first got to the school, the nursery and Reception 1 classrooms were very formal learning environments. After a lot of training with the two early years teachers and the directors of education at the school, I managed to convince them of the importance of learning through play and now I have completely changed the learning environments.

I spent a week changing the classrooms and getting resources together and now each classroom has a play based area, role play area and home corner. When I saw the children's faces when they saw it for the first time it was priceless, which for me, is the best part of the job.

I feel very lucky to have two classrooms, one for child-initiated time and one for teaching. I have recently turned the role play area into a ‘travel agents’ to support the topic ‘Around the world on a magic carpet’.

I have a lovely class, with just 11 pupils who are from a range of countries such as Italy, Sri Lanka, France, Korea, Vietnam and of course Cambodia. It’s been a challenging but an invaluable experience working with children, none of whom speak English, even as a second language - for most of them it is a third or fourth. Despite this, most of the class are well on their way to meeting end of year learning targets.

Without my qualification and early years specialism, I would not be doing the work I am now. The course gave me the academic and pedagogical skills to enable me to fulfil my current role and whenever people ask me about the university or ask for advice on teaching courses, I always recommend Birmingham City University.

The Course:
Teaching was always the natural choice for me as I come from a family of teachers. I originally studied for a degree in Radiography, but soon realised it wasn’t for me. After taking a year out in New Zealand and speaking to family members I decided to apply for a teaching course.

I particularly liked the BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS course at Birmingham City University as I could study Science, which is a real passion of mine. My decision to study at the University was further influenced as I had previously studied here and knew the staff were extremely supportive. I also found that at the Open Day the staff were very welcoming, which was re-affirmed when I went for my interview.

The course content and structure were very good and everything that the course promised was delivered. I graduated with a First Class honours degree and I put a large proportion of this down to the teaching and support of the faculty, especially the science team.

I really enjoyed the academic side of the course as studying and learning was something that I love to do and the various teaching practices all gave me something different to build on. Three of these were based in mainstream schools with different age groups. I was also one of only four students who were given the opportunity to take on the role of class teacher within a Special Needs School during the summer in the final year.

The children I taught had a wide range of needs relating to Autism, Down Syndrome, Noonan Syndrome, Prader Willi Syndrome and Global Developmental Delay. This placement was invaluable and really showed me the importance of, and developed my knowledge of, individual education plans and strategies that can be put in place to facilitate learning of all children, regardless of how different their needs may be.

My other three placements also provided me with many valuable experiences and taught me a great deal. For example, one of the features of my first placement was team teaching, where I worked with another first year teaching student. The experience taught me a great deal about working with others, which I have found to be vital as effective communication plays such an important role in education.

During my second year placement I was based in a reception class in a foundation stage unit. This placement offered me a wide range of experience and ultimately formed the basis and developed my knowledge of early years. This included tools to aid in the tracking of children’s learning progress and allowed me to plan effectively to ensure this progress was made.

The University:
The level of support from the staff is something I will always take with me. I feel it was second to none and without it my experience of university would not have been as good as it was. Even though there must have been hundreds of students in the faculty I still felt it was like a family. Staff knew my name and students always spoke to each other. I never felt alone in the faculty which was important as a feeling of belonging at university is fundamental.

I also enjoyed the social side and made some great lifelong friends. I liked the fact that even though I did not live on campus I was still made to feel part of the university community. Not once did I feel left out of University life.

The Future:
My advice to future students is to make the most of my time at Birmingham City University as it goes fast. Something I cannot stress enough is the need to plan. I have known so many students who have left assignments to the last minute and it has affected their grades. Teaching is such a competitive job and getting the best degree possible can only serve to help you in the future.

One final piece of advice I would offer is, don’t be scared to look beyond the comfort zone of home. To be outside your comfort zone can be exhilarating and can make for the best life experiences. The world is full of opportunities if you just go out there, look for them and grab them with both hands.

My plans for the future are to spend another academic year away to complete my NQT year. I have applied for jobs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Europe, but still might stay in Cambodia for another year as I really enjoy it. Long-term, I plan to study a Masters in Special Educational Needs or Psychology and eventually emigrate to New Zealand.

Jamie Barry

Jamie Barry

Jamie graduated from Birmingham City University in 2004 with a BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS - and less than a decade later he was appointed head of Welford Primary School in Birmingham in January 2013. He was 30 when he took up the post.

"It has been a bit of whirlwind and, at times, a very steep learning curve - but I cannot think of any better career. I love teaching and the ability to give children the best opportunities possible," said Jamie.

"I cannot praise Birmingham City University highly enough for helping me kick-start my career," added Jamie. "I felt I was 100 per cent job-ready thanks to the vocational focus of the course, the academic rigour of the study and the support of the tutors."

In his various roles since graduating, Jamie has earned a reputation of applying innovation to teaching. He was an early user of interactive white boards and implementing information and communication technology in the classroom and across the school.

It's crucial that we engage and motivate children, and make the learning experience as exciting as possible for them. We need to switch children on to learning so that they continue as lifelong learners when they leave us."

Attracting the attention of school leaders, by the end of his fourth year of teaching, he took up a post as a deputy head teacher and worked at this level until taking up his first headship at Welford Primary School. The school has 480 children, aged between three and 11 years.

Always wanting to 'think out of the box', Jamie has recently bought a double-decker bus to permanently park in the school's playground to provide an interesting place for youngsters to play and learn.

"School is the most important part of their lives. If we inspire children now we can be much more confident that they will achieve whatever they set their minds to in life. That is why I cannot imagine doing any other job."

Jamie said as a head teacher he misses being in the classroom - but now has new challenges in developing his team of passionate colleagues. "Education is fast changing and I am fortunate to have a team that looks forward to making a difference."

Verity Graham

Verity Graham has begun her teaching career full of experience, skills and knowledge gained during her placements and taking advantage of paid mentoring opportunities.

The University has a fantastic reputation: I asked many headteachers' opinions and Birmingham City University was unanimously reputable to be the best.

The course lived up to my expectations in all ways. I would say to prospective students, if they are offered opportunities or unique ways to enhance your development and CV, then they should take them.

I undertook three placements in primary schools - they are crucial to the course and I would not have been able to develop my skills and knowledge to such a high standard without them.

During the first year I was a mentor in a secondary school, where I was paid to deliver one-to-one and group mentoring sessions. In my second year I was one of three teachers chosen to teach English to a group of Spanish children aged between 11 and 18 staying on a three-week summer school in Birmingham.

I have recently received a nomination for the Dean's Awards for the 'Award for Students who act as an Excellent Representative for the Faculty to the Outside World'. I began a full-time teaching job in September 2013 and hope to move abroad to Spain or France.

Eve Richardson

The facilities, support from staff and interesting guest lecturers have helped Eve Richardson graduate from Birmingham City University with the knowledge that she can be a dedicated and outstanding primary practitioner.

The course has definitely lived up to my expectations. This is down to the super support and guidance from the University staff, relevant and engaging modules and the vast opportunities to gain first-hand experience of working with children.

On certain occasions guest speakers have come into the University which has been fantastic. They included a range of head teachers, a professional storyteller, illustrator and writer Tony Ross and child protection expert Mark Williams-Thomas.

The University has excellent facilities such as a 24-hour library, ICT suites and very well-equipped rooms to support individual subjects; for example a real-size school sports hall, design and technology workshops and a drama studio.

My plans for the future are to have a long and prosperous teaching career; my degree has enabled me to gain a job as a fully qualified primary school teacher and I can't wait to have my own class and inspire young learners!

Kapil Kapur

Kapil Kapur has taken on a role as a mentor while undertaking his degree and won the Undergraduate Student prize at the 2012 Tell Us Your Story awards for his enterprising spirit in setting up a tutoring scheme, supporting young people through extra-curricular activities.

The pupils don't see me as a teacher; I am more on their level. I enjoy it very much, the satisfaction is brilliant and the role is very flexible as well, which is ideal to fit around studies.

It has been great to secure a job that is relevant to my future career. The University has been really good for that and is also helping us to find jobs after we graduate.

The course has been challenging, informative and thorough and the staff are very dedicated; they are always there for us.

I also work at Open Days and admissions events, giving information to parents and potential students about university life and what the course is like.


Prospective students from the UK
  • Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
  • If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
  • Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from outside the UK


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Further Information

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