Moray House School of Education and Sport

PGDE Primary

The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Primary is for graduates who wish to enter the teaching profession at primary school level. Through graduate level study of education and professional placements, you will begin your development as a primary school teacher. **APPLICATIONS CLOSED for 2021 entry.**

Photograph of four children and a teacher in a primary school classroom

The programme engages students in a professional community of enquiry considering curricular content, professional studies, placement practice and practicum issues. Building on faculty expertise and research, you will gain an excellent foundation for an impactful career in education.

We aim to produce successful, reflective teachers, sensitive to the demands of pupils, responsive to changes within the education system and committed to their own continuing professional development.

Programme structure

On the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Primary, we aim to provide a professional learning experience. Combining campus-based courses taught at Moray House and experiential Professional Placements undertaken in primary schools, this programme follows a chronological sequence of pupil learning and development at specific school stages. There are three main units of study:

  • Early Years
  • Middle Primary Years
  • Upper Primary Years

Each unit comprises two courses, A 'Preparing for Teaching' course and a 'Teaching in School' (Professional Placement) course.

Full attendance is expected Monday to Friday 9am-5pm for the duration of this intensive programme. During Professional Placements in schools, these working hours may be extended.

Course descriptions (2020-21)

'Preparing for Teaching'

Preparing for Teaching courses comprise Curriculum Strands and Professional Studies Strands.

The content covered in each Preparing for Teaching course is contextualised in the primary school placement stage it precedes. Over the Programme as a whole, this combination develops the professional, epistemological and pedagogical knowledge base required of beginning teachers.

Students will undertake extensive critical reading during their study. On-campus learning occurs as lectures, workshops, online learning and self-study. The development of collaborative working skills in problem-based learning contexts and responsibility for learning through professional enquiry is key. The courses involve learning in the domains of educational theory and practice, ensuring that you are well prepared to take on the professional role of a student teacher on placement. You are expected to build on academic literacy skills gained in your previous education.

'Teaching in School' (Professional Placement)

Professional Placement courses comprise Practicum Strands that address classroom knowledge and skills; and experience of planning, managing, organising, assessing and evaluating pupil learning and taking on the role of a class teacher for increasing periods of time.

Professional Placements constitute approximately half of the programme, with students being allocated a placement within one of six key local authorities. Moray House has established teacher education partnerships with key local authorities that are closely involved in supporting teacher professional learning provision. This model of partnership is designed to provide high-quality professional development and enhanced qualifications for aspiring and practising teachers in all educational settings.

Key local authorities

Teaching approaches

Students develop knowledge, understanding and practical skills that enable them to plan, manage, organise, teach and assess the learning of pupils aged 3-12. This involves maintaining extensive written records of their professional involvement with placement classes. Students also develop educational academic literacy skills that enable them to comprehend and communicate critical understandings of policy, practice and research. They also develop the skills of practitioner enquiry and an appropriate professional value base for beginning teachers.


Formative and summative assessments are used to enhance learning. Students are assessed on professional practice alongside theoretical and professional understandings. There are oral presentations and written assignment assessments. Some courses involve local fieldwork expeditions.

Emphasis is placed on both formative and summative assessments with participation in assessments being part of the learning process for students. Students need to satisfy the examiners in:

  • Professional Practice, assessed by both University tutors and teachers in schools
  • University studies, assessed through written assignments and oral presentations

The three university-based courses are assessed at SCQF level 11, while the three placement courses are assessed at SCQF level 10. Each of the six courses has a summative assessment and earns 20 SCQF credits. Students must achieve a Pass grade in all six courses in order to complete the programme.

Completion and Provisional Registration

On successful completion of the programme, students are recommended to the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) for provisional registration. Full registration will be awarded by the GTCS on completion of one satisfactory year of teaching.

General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)

Place2Be partnership

Place2Be logo

Teachers today are faced with a range of mental health needs in the classroom, and yet they receive very little training in this area, or support to cope with the emotional impact that the role may have on them. A unique strategic partnership between Moray House School of Education and Sport and children’s mental health charity, Place2Be, provides a unique resource to student teachers at

Edinburgh. The approach is informed by Place2Be’s 25 years’ experience supporting the wellbeing of pupils, families and school staff in schools.

Building on a successful two-year pilot – this partnership will continue to increase knowledge, understanding and skills around children’s mental health for student teachers and the initial teacher education programmes across Moray House as a whole. As a core element of the partnership, our dedicated Place2Be clinician will provide direct support for student teachers, via a reflective space known as ‘Place2Think’. These sessions aim to build emotional resilience and to promote the need for teacher self-care.

Through this unique partnership, we hope to equip teachers with the skills they need for a rewarding career and to produce mentally healthy classrooms benefitting everyone’s mental health.

Kathleen Forbes

Place2Be Clinician

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport

Contact details


Entry requirements

The qualifications for admission to the PGDE (Primary) are:

  • A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent is preferred.
  • SQA Higher English at grade C or above (or equivalent) or GCSE English (Language) and English Literature both at C or better.
  • SQA National 5 Mathematics or Applications of Mathematics (formerly Lifeskills Maths) at grade B or above, GCSE Mathematics at grade B or above, or equivalent.

More detailed entry requirements (and alternatives) are listed in the information sheet below.

Selection involves a professional interview. 

Because of the high number of applicants for this programme who have academic qualifications significantly above the minimum, it is likely that not all qualified applicants will be invited to interview.

UCAS Programme Link

PGDE Primary - X100 

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