Moray House School of Education

PGDE (Primary)

A Professional Learning Experience: An excellent foundation for an impactful career in education.

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Programme aims

The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education -  PGDE (Primary) -  aims to provide a professional learning experience. Through graduate level study of education and professional placements we help students begin their academic and professional development as primary school teachers.

The programme engages students in a professional community of enquiry considering curricular content, professional studies, placement practice and practicum issues. Building upon faculty expertise and research we aim to provide students with an excellent foundation for an impactful career in education.

A one year programme which commences in mid August

The  PGDE (Primary) is a one year (36 week) programme. Please note: This programme of study commences in mid August.

Teacher Education Partnerships

Professional Placements constitute approximately half of the PGDE Primary Education programme. The School has established partnerships with key local authorities that are closely involved Moray House in supporting teacher professional learning provision. This model of partnership is designed to provide high quality professional development and enhanced qualifications for aspirant and practicing teachers in all educational settings.

Students on the PGDE (Primary Education) will be allocated Professional Placements within these six local authorities.

Key local authorities

Programme structure

The programme involves both campus-based courses at our Moray House campus and experiential Professional Placements undertaken in primary schools. It follows a chronological sequence in terms of addressing pupil learning and development.

There are three main units of study, each focusing on the needs of learners at specific school stages:

  • Early Years
  • Middle Primary Years
  • Upper Primary Years

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

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.

Placement courses comprise:

  • Practicum strands that address classroom knowledge and skills
  • Experience of planning, managing, organising, assessing and evaluating pupil learning and taking on the role of a class teacher for increasing periods of time

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 the following areas:

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

Each of the six Programme 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. The three university based courses are assessed at SCQF level 11, while the three placement courses are assessed at SCQF level 10.

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

Further information about the GTCS can be found at their website:

Teaching approaches

Full attendance is expected Monday to Friday 9am -5pm for the duration of the Programme. During school placements, these working hours may be extended. In addition, students undertake extensive critical reading during their study. On-campus learning sessions occur as lectures, workshops, online learning and self-study. There is an emphasis on collaborative learning and increased responsibility for learning through professional enquiry.

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.

Students develop knowledge, understanding and practical skills that enable them to plan, manage, organize, teach and assess the learning of pupils aged 3-12. This involves maintaining extensive written records of their professional involvement with placement classes. Additionally students develop educational academic literacy skills that enable them to understand 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.

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) in English or GCSE English (Language) and English Literature both at C or better.
  • SQA National 5 Mathematics 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 further down this page.

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 participate in face-to-face selection.

The University Student Disability Service provides support for students who may require a Schedule of Adjustments to help them cope with physical or academic demands of the Programme.

Tuition fees

For tuition fee purposes, the PGDE is treated in the same way as an undergraduate programme.

Tuition fees for eligible students from Scotland or a non-UK European Union country are paid by Student Awards Agency For Scotland (SAAS). Check your fee status to see whether you are eligible.

How to apply

Please submit your application via UCAS (Undergraduate) following the link below. Please note that we do not accept applications for deferred entry to this course. The UCAS equal consideration deadline is 15 January and due to high demand it is likely PGDE Primary will close on this date.

Application procedures are available from UCAS at:

Teacher Induction Scheme

The Scottish Government and the General Teaching Council for Scotland organise a guaranteed probationer year for students graduating from a Scottish Higher Education Institution with a teaching qualification whose training has been publicly funded. Students who pay overseas or full fees are not in publicly-funded places and are therefore not eligible to join the scheme.

For further information, please contact:

Undergraduate Admissions Office (Education)

  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS)

Contact details



University of Edinburgh
57 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JU