This qualification has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- In Stage 1, you’ll study two modules that will provide you with a broad introduction to primary education, childhood studies and child psychology.
- Then, in Stage 2, you’ll study a module that further develops your subject knowledge of the primary curriculum. You’ll follow this with one from a choice of three options.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll complete your degree with two further modules – one that includes a comparative study of primary education in local, national and international; and one that introduces you to the methods used, and the issues encountered, in research with children and young people.
You’ll begin by exploring themes such as: approaches to learning and teaching; inclusive education; play and creativity; learning in English, maths and science; the role of ICT; home-school collaboration. You’ll then learn about wider perspectives relating to the lives of children and young people, and explore their emotional, physical, intellectual, social and cultural development.
At Stage 2 you’ll develop your understanding in four key areas of the primary curriculum: English, maths, science and ICT. You’ll also choose from options exploring issues within childhood and youth, and working with young people.
At Stage 3 you’ll deepen your skills of critical analysis through comparative study of educational systems, practices, initiatives and experiences from across the world. You’ll finish by exploring issues in research with children and young people, including the challenges posed and the different methods available.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 23 September 2020.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) in Education Studies (Primary) uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying online – some modules have a mixture of printed and online material, and others are entirely online. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- working in a group with other students
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- practical work
- finding external/third party material online
- using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays and short answer questions
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
- engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Education Studies (Primary) degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification. However, you must be aged 18 or over.
You do not need to be employed in a primary school in order to study this qualification. However if you're not working in a school on a regular basis you are advised to negotiate opportunities to spend some time in a formal educational setting for children aged 3-12 (this can be in a voluntary capacity) to observe teaching and learning, and gain exposure to a practice context. We suggest that you spend 10 days in school when studying E103, E209 and E309. It is your responsibility – not the OU’s – to ensure that you obtain the necessary Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check or equivalent for the setting and country in which you’re working. You should contact the relevant agency in your country for more information if you are in any doubt about your eligibility or to find out more.
How much time do I need?
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Skills for career development
This degree provides an effective foundation for a wide choice of career paths, in particular within education. It emphasises independent thinking, develops analytical and communication skills and will help you become a clear and confident writer – all attributes that are highly valued by employers. Specific skills you’ll develop include:
- critically evaluating and effectively communicating information to others
- retrieving, organising, synthesising and questioning arguments, opinions and qualitative and quantitative data
- using a range of digital technologies effectively for study, online collaboration and to support your continuing professional development
- planning and managing time and tasks and working to deadlines
- identifying strengths and areas for development, and seeking and learning from feedback.
An Education Studies (Primary) degree gives you a sound foundation for a range of roles relating to primary education, including helping you prepare to apply for teacher training. It is also relevant to other careers within childcare, health, education, play work, working with families and young people or work in the wider education sector, cultural institutions and NGOs. It will develop your understanding of practices and policies that affect children, and introduce you to many new aspects of the subject. If you’re considering teaching as a career, you’re strongly advised to check with your training provider about their entry policy for initial teacher education (ITE) programmes, as requirements vary between different providers.
In Northern Ireland, this qualification is not recognised by the Education Authority as a Classroom Assistant qualification. However, those applying for classroom assistant positions may find that schools will still accept the OU qualifications for shortlisting purposes. You are strongly advised to check with the individual school about their qualification policies for classroom assistant roles, as requirements may vary between different schools.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
- primary teacher
- museum education officer
- teaching assistant
- play therapist
- play worker
- children’s centre manager
- special needs coordinator
- learning mentor
- educational psychologist
- speech and language therapist
- child protection officer
- education administrator/manager
- NGO role (e.g. fundraiser, caseworker)