Moray House School of Education and Sport

Programme structure

This two-year Masters programme is for graduates who want a teaching qualification designed to make an explicit difference to the lives of children and young people: it will support you in becoming a beginning teacher with a transformative orientation.

The MSc in Transformative Learning and Teaching is the first of its kind in the UK. It provides an in-depth and integrated learning experience, with time spent in both University and school sites throughout the two years, allowing you to develop your skills as a beginning teacher over a longer period of time than would be the case in a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) programme. You’ll also graduate from this programme with a full Master's degree, increasingly seen as desirable for the Scottish teacher workforce, together with a teaching qualification which will allow you to work across the primary/secondary transition.

This programme has been designed and developed in partnership with local authorities. It is future-oriented, drawing on cutting-edge research, and is designed to prepare new teachers for a career in teaching in an ever-changing world, with a particular focus on social justice, sustainability, global perspectives, digital and statistical literacy, and professional inquiry skills.

Our capacity to offer a strong, positive and meaningful experience to teacher education students is enhanced by well-established partnerships with our six neighbouring local authorities. The development and delivery of this programme relies heavily on ongoing dialogue and cooperation between the University, local authority and school staff ensuring that the programme is professionally relevant.

The University of Edinburgh was ranked first in Scotland for education research in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) meaning your programme is informed by cutting-edge research and you’ll learn guided by leading experts in the field.

Programme Structure

Throughout the duration of the programme, students will engage in both university-based learning and site-based learning, with groups of students being placed in school clusters: one cluster in year 1 and a different cluster in year 2. A cluster will typically be one secondary school together with associated primary and nursery provision. Placing students in groups will facilitate collaborative learning and support.

The programme has a central focus on transformative practice and will entitle graduates to teach across the primary/secondary transition phase. You will be able to choose from one of the following pathways:

  • Nursery – Secondary 3 generalist pathway
  • Primary 5 – Secondary 6 pathway in a specific subject

Subject pathways offered in the first instance will focus on shortage subjects: Computing Science, English, Languages, and Mathematics.

Compulsory courses will include:

Students will also choose 20 credits worth of option courses from either: Inclusive Pedagogy or Comparative Approaches to Inclusive and Special Education, which will be studied alongside other Scottish and international students on the School’s MSc in Inclusive Education programme, or Collaborative Working in Children's Services.

In addition, students will select a choice course which will allow them to develop specialist interests.

Course descriptions (2022-23)

University-based learning

The MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching staff and student team is a 'community of practice', with a central focus on school education which makes a difference to learners’ lives. The programme has a well-developed and explicit philosophy underpinning its approach to learning and assessment, based on four key principles. It is: Professionally authentic, Sustainable, Collaborative, and Student-driven.

During the university-based element of each course on the programme, students will experience a range of different approaches and activities, and indeed, as their knowledge of pedagogy grows, will play a role in negotiating how these are organised. Importantly, we will seek to make the learning transparent, sharing it publicly and encouraging interaction beyond the immediate parameters of the programme. The university-based element of the programme will include an international dimension via links with staff and students in other countries.

University-based learning for all Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes takes place at our Holyrood campus, and student teachers who accept a place on an ITE programme are required to have a term time address in a location that will allow them to travel to campus on a regular basis for in-person teaching. 

School-based learning

In response to international research which indicates that ‘The most powerful programs [of initial teacher education] require students to spend extensive time in the field throughout the entire program, examining and applying the concepts and strategies they are simultaneously learning about in their courses’ (Darling-Hammond, 2006, p307), the MSc in Transformative Learning and Teaching is based on the premise that all of its courses should include University and site (School) based learning.

The site-based element takes place in clusters of schools, allowing students to understand more deeply the communities in which their pupils live and learn. Site-based learning is supported through a well-developed partnership between University and local authority/school colleagues and includes a significant amount of collaborative, peer learning, as well as individual experiences working alongside experienced teachers.

You will spend two days per week in your cluster schools throughout the duration of the programme, with some block periods of time built in. The site-based learning element is facilitated by a cluster tutor, who is a specially appointed member of cluster school staff, acting as a first-line liaison between students, wider school staff and University staff.

All Student teacher placements are allocated via the national Student Placement System (SPS) that is hosted and maintained by GTC Scotland. Student teachers are not permitted to arrange their own placements independently.  Placements in Scotland are matched via SPS using an automated process.  Schools, Local Authorities and Universities work together to complete this process successfully. 

More information about SPS and the allocations process

Moray House School of Education and Sport has established partnerships with six Local Authorities. Our Local Authority partners are City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian.   Students will be allocated to site-based learning clusters that are based within our six partner authorities. You should not normally be required to travel more than 90 minutes each way for your School placement from your stated term-time address.


You will negotiate the exact nature of assessment tasks with programme tutors, ensuring that assessment decisions are informed by pedagogical theory and an overt commitment to social justice.

Ongoing, formative assessment is deemed central to effective learning, and therefore both staff and students are expected to invest considerable time and effort in this. Collaborative working is encouraged, and the climate of peer support and challenge is a strong one.

Throughout the two years of the programme, you will work with the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s Standard for Provisional Registration, culminating in a ‘professional viva’. You will present a portfolio of evidence to justify your claim of having met the Standard, and this portfolio will form the basis of discussion at the viva event, which will be led by a panel of University and school staff. This form of professional and academic assessment, informed by internationally-leading practice elsewhere in the world, will support you to take responsibility for your own professional learning, developing lifelong learning habits which will be sustainable career-long.

Place2Be partnership

Place2Be logo

Teachers today are faced with a range of mental health needs in the classroom, and yet traditionally 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 continues 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 will equip teachers with the skills they need for a rewarding career and to produce mentally healthy classrooms benefitting everyone’s mental health.

Place2Be at Moray House

Kathleen Forbes

Place2Be Clinician

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport

Contact details