BEd (Hons) Primary

This is a four-year honours degree programme leading to full recognition to teach by the Department of Education and registration with the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland.

At St Mary’s we believe that our vocation is to prepare and provide excellent teachers who can lead and inspire children in a life of learning and who will pass on the beliefs, values, knowledge and skills necessary for leading a full life in society. Teaching is not just a job, it is a vocation. Teachers must believe in their vocation and in the importance of their work for the future of the individual child and the well–being of society as a whole. In our teacher education courses we aim to provide teachers who have:

  • a liking and caring for children and a sensitivity towards their needs;
  • an enthusiasm about teaching and a commitment to the education process;
  • a belief in the promotion of equal opportunities, recognising differences occasioned by race, religion, sex, class or disability and the need to adopt non-discriminatory practices in all these respects;
  • a willingness to learn and an openness to change and innovation;
  • a lively mind and a range of cultural and other interests.

For BEd Primary students, Stages 1 and 2 of the programme consist of five elements:

  • Education Studies,
  • Key Skills (Literacy, Numeracy and Using ICT [UICT]),
  • Curriculum Studies,
  • Professional Development and School Experience and
  • Subject Study including Subject Application in a chosen subject area.

In Stage 3, there is a stronger focus on Subject Study and Subject Application. In the final year, students select specific Curriculum Studies options and also engage in a Capstone project. This is an individual, integrative study which provides the students with the opportunity to focus on a particular area of professional interest.


Compulsory elements:

  • Education Studies
  • Curriculum Studies
  • Key Skills
  • Professional Development and School Experience [PDSE]

Optional elements (Subject Study, chosen by the student from the following):

Compulsory elements of the programme

  1. Education Studies

    This is a broad area of study which draws on the main disciplines of Education and addresses a range of theoretical and professional issues. Through lectures, seminars and tutorials students cover a wide range of topics such as: philosophical perspectives on learning and teaching; child development and psychology; the curriculum in schools; child protection and children’s rights; the social aspects of schooling; principles of effective teaching and learning; issues pertaining to multiculturalism and inclusion; and the education of children who experience special educational needs. This broad area of study facilitates the development of the knowledge and understanding underpinning successful teaching.

  2. Curriculum Studies

    Modules within this strand of the programme involve the study of teaching strategies and modes of learning for all areas of the Northern Ireland Curriculum.

  3. Key Skills

    There is a strong emphasis across the BEd Programme on the areas of Literacy, Numeracy, SEN and using ICT (UICT), as well as linking knowledge and skills in these areas to practice on School Experience.

  4. Professional Development and School Experience

    The PDSE element is central to the BEd Programme at St Mary’s. Within this element, students are encouraged to establish theory-practice relationships through the development of reflective practice. Each year as students gain experience and confidence, they are asked to demonstrate increasing levels of proficiency in the classroom based in line with the revised competence framework of the GTCNI. Over the course of the programme students will have opportunities to teach children of varying ages and abilities in a range of different contexts. There are also opportunities for students to choose options through which they may gain experience of teaching in the nursery and/or special school sectors. Students must pass School Experience each year to proceed to the next stage of the course.