Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary)

UCAS codes

Course contact

The Admissions Office
0800 027 1000 (+44 141 849 4101 out with UK)

Qualifications and durations

  • Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (full-time)  - 9 months


Start date(s)

  • August

The one year University of the West of Scotland postgraduate course for the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) (Primary) programme can be studied at UWS's new Ayr Campus or Hamilton. 

Please note: Applications for the PGDE (Primary/Secondary) programme from 2015 must be made through the main UCAS undergraduate scheme - and no longer through UCAS Teacher Training, which is used by institutions elsewhere in the UK but not those based in Scotland.

Priority will be given to applications made by 15 January 2015, though late applications may be considered at the discretion of the University.

This course prepares you for a career as a primary school teacher. With a strong practical bias, this course provides the formal teaching qualification for provisional registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). The process of teacher education at UWS is carried out in partnership with schools and the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education course includes substantial training with periods of placement in pre-school centres and primary schools. During placements, there will be tasks focusing on additional support for learning within inclusive education.

The early phases of children’s development have a huge impact on the rest of their lives . Teachers in Pre-5 and Primary education have an important role to play in ensuring all children have the best start possible, enabling them to lead successful, useful, happy, productive and balanced lives. Teaching within this sector is both demanding and rewarding. Becoming a teacher is an exciting, life-changing experience and we invite you to take the first steps with us.

Teachers must be able to plan, implement and evaluate learning programmes across the entire primary curriculum. University-based study focuses on curriculum content and methods of teaching and learning, alongside the theoretical and practical aspects of professional studies in education, psychology and educational technology.

In addition, student attainment is progressed against a set of benchmark statements incorporated in the Standard for Initial Teacher Education.

Within these contexts, the programme modules develops a range of knowledge and understanding, skills and abilities, values and commitments which are fundamental to the professional role of the primary teacher.

These include: planning of content; learning processes and resources; organisation and management of children’s work spaces, grouping and time; strategies for behaviour management; assessment of children’s learning; evaluation of learning and teaching; identification of children’s needs; communication with children, parents and colleagues; and enquiry and research skills.

Download the course leaflet here.

All applicants for PGDE courses should hold a degree that has been validated by a university in the UK or a degree of an equivalent standard from outside the United Kingdom plus have Higher English at Grade C or above (or equivalent). 

Applicants must also be qualified in Mathematics at SCQF Level 5 (e.g. National 5, Credit Standard Grade or Intermediate 2). 

Applicants are strongly advised to visit the Teaching in Scotland website for full information on what is required to become a teacher in Scotland. 

Candidates for this course must successfully undertake an interview prior to being offered a place.

UWS greatly values its partnership with schools and work with them to provide support, guidance and assessment of students to the highest standards possible. 

We use interactive learning techniques including the use of the University’s virtual learning environment and Glow, the education network for delivery and assessment. Workshops, outdoor experiences and learning strategies including peer assessment, problem-based learning, action research and microteaching make this an active, vibrant learning experience. Care has been taken to ensure that the course pays due attention to all issues and developments currently influencing primary education in Scotland. The course takes account of the views of the GTCS and is based on guidelines produced by the Scottish Government.



The course consists of three compulsory modules:

The first module introduces the broad range of subjects that underpin the primary curriculum (Curriculum for Excellence). With a focus on mathematics and literacy, students develop teaching skills specific to subject, stage and ability whilst improving their own personal knowledge and skills. 

The second module explores the Scottish education system and the theoretical basis of learning and is in part delivered jointly with PGDE Secondary students. Workshops focus on core skills in classroom management, planning, teaching, assessment and evaluation strategies, and behaviour management at all stages within the primary school. Assessment currently includes a written assignment in which students are assessed in part on their ability to link theory and practice. 

Please note that this module will be offered at both SCQF levels 10 and 11, giving the option of 40 credits of internationally recognised Masters level study. Further updates will be available on our website.

The third module aims to develop teaching skills at pre-5 and at all stages of primary. Students undertake school placements over the course of the year and assessment is based on the achievement of the standards set by the GTCS (General Teaching Council for Scotland).

Please note the course will be revalidated in March 2014 which may mean some changes to course structure, however the content is expected to remain mainly the same. It is anticipated that the number of internationally recognised Masters level credits being offered will increase following revalidation.


Further study

Postgraduates may be invited to continue their studies and gain modules at Masters Level from a broad spectrum of online titles leading towards a final Masters qualification.
Most postgraduates remain in mainstream teaching either in the UK or abroad, others find employment opportunities within: specialist educational areas; working with children with additional learning support needs; adult training; educational aspects of charities, museums, science centres etc; the commercial sector; employee training, customer relations, presentation of products and services, research and management, writing and publishing etc; the public sector; health education, school management, curriculum development, and social services. The course includes substantial training with periods of placement in pre-school centres and primary schools. During placements, there will be tasks focusing on additional support for learning within inclusive education. Successful students receive the formal teaching qualification necessary for provisional registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, a requirement for entry into the guaranteed one year Induction Scheme.

Useful Information

  • PGDE courses are funded in the same way as undergraduate courses. You can apply to SAAS to have tuition fees paid. Eligibility conditions apply, check for details.

    PGDE Secondary Teaching qualifications for those interested in a Secondary/High School teaching career are also available.

    If you are considering a career in teaching, you are encouraged to look at this informative site:

    Successful applicants who gain a place on this cou rse will need to register on the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme, managed and delivered by Disclosure Scotland, see

    Guidelines for Teacher Training Personal Statement

PGDE Education