Applying to study education at durham university
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Applying to study EDUCATION at Durham University. Dr. Caroline Walker-Gleaves Director, Undergraduate Division School of Education. Contacts. Admissions Primary: [email protected] Admissions Education Studies: [email protected] Director of Undergraduate Education:

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Applying to study EDUCATION at Durham University

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Applying to study EDUCATION at Durham University

Dr. Caroline Walker-Gleaves

Director, Undergraduate Division

School of Education


  • Admissions Primary:

  • [email protected]

  • Admissions Education Studies:

  • [email protected]

  • Director of Undergraduate Education:

  • [email protected]

Why Durham School of Education? ….Reputation

  • Education Studies 1st Place Sunday Times University Guide

  • Primary Education 3rd Place Sunday Times University Guide

  • Education (overall) 2nd Place Times Good University Guide

  • Primary Education 95% Overall Satisfaction in  2012 National Student Satisfaction (NSS) Survey

  • One of only 3 institutions in England to have every single aspect (22 grading elements) of its Teacher Training Provision rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted (the others being Cambridge and Exeter)

  • Durham is a world-leading university, 80th in the Times Higher World Rankings 2012-13

  • 85% world-class and international quality research in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise

Why Durham School of Education?…Quality

  • Ofsted: we are an Outstanding Provider and our provision shows “the commitment of the high-quality trainees to teaching and development of subject knowledge and their strong reflective practice”

  • External Examiner feedback on the programme is outstanding: Christine Doddington, of the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge: “As well as a broad and relevant range of content covered within the course, there is evidence of a depth of understanding in the widest interpretation of education and therefore a strong commitment by those who teach on it to the development of critical thought, mindfulness and self-knowledge which are clear markers of quality learning in the Higher Education sector.”

  • We have outstanding teachers on our Education programmes (both Education Studies and Primary Education): 3 award-winning National Teaching Fellows; 1 Boyer Award International Teaching Fellow; 2 Faculty Scholars; 1 Times Higher Education Teaching Finalist.

  • We have outstanding researchers on our Education programmes, whose research is supported by National and International Bodies such as Leverhulme and Nuffield and whose work is published in world-leading journals such as Learning & Instruction, Computers & Education, Teachers & Teaching. our academics also write and edit bestselling textbooks, for example on Phonics, Learning and Teaching in post-compulsory education.

  • We have experts who advise governments (UK and other countries) on wide-ranging policy such as Phonics, Assessment, Learning Technology, Educational Progress of Looked After Children etc. as such, students have the opportunity to work on projects alongside the world-renowned Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM).

Why Durham School of Education? ….Prospects

  • We have one of the highest employability rates of any general programmes in Education (92%, HEFCE).

  • 15th in World Employability of Students (World Blue Chip Companies).

  • Highly sought-after Education graduates: in 2011/12, 4 Education Studies finalists had Teach First Places; this year (2012/13) 8 students already have places. Teach First is the Government’s Flagship programme to reduce educational disadvantage and has highly competitive entry.

  • Very high entry levels to prestigious Post Graduate Programmes. In the past 3 years, graduates have gone on to study the MA Social Work at Durham University, the MA Family Therapy at King’s College London, the M.Phil Education at Cambridge University, the D. Ed. Psych. at the Tavistock Institute London, the M.Sc. in Disaster Relief at Manchester University, the MA in Music Therapy at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh and a PhD in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin.

  • The Education programmes are highly unusual in that they are characterized by both depth and generality and as such, graduates progress to a very wide variety of positions, including Teaching, Educational Management, Publishing, Archiving, Curating, Music Therapy, Midwifery, Nursing, Social Work, Charity Development, Policy Studies, Public Relations, Journalism, Law Conversions.

The School of Education at Durham University has TWO Undergraduate Programmes

  • BA (Honours) Education Studies: Single Honours 3 Year Full Time, comprising the study of Education and a choice of 2nd Subject (each with a separate UCAS code) of either English Studies, Geography, History, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Theology, and Art History (new subject – check website for details). Education Studies is taught mainly at the Durham Campus.

  • BA (Honours) Primary Education with QTS (Qualified Teacher Status): Single Honours 3 Year Full Time, comprising a General Primary Programme, but with possible final year subject specialisms in Maths, English, Science, ICT and SEN (new specialism). Primary Education is taught mainly at Queen’s Campus.

Durham Campus…Queen’s Campus

BA (Hons) Education Studies: what is it and what do you study?

  • The degree is a three-year Full Time Single Honours course in which half the time is spent studying within the School of Education and half studying one of nine other disciplines: English Studies, Geography, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Art History, Music, Sociology or Theology.

  • The BA (Honours) Education Studies programme is designed to promote understanding and critical reflection on the role of education in diverse societies and how learning continues to be shaped by social, political, economic and cultural factors. As such, students study Educational elements of Psychology, Sociology, Pedagogy, Philosophy, Politics and History.

BA (Hons) Education Studies: can you specialize and what professions could you enter?

  • Yes, you can narrow down your interests as you progress through the degree, and by the final year you may be able to specialise in: Early Years Education, Special Needs Education, Educational Technology, Children’s Literature, Educational Philosophy, and Citizenship & Civic Education.

  • Graduates of Education Studies are immensely employable. Students who have graduated from Education Studies in the past 5 years have taken positions as Archivists, Charity Development Officers, Publishers and Music Therapists; and they have progressed to professional preparation as Social Workers, Teachers, Psychotherapists, Educational Psychologists and Midwives.

The School of Education compared: BA (Hons) Education Studies entry tariff

  • Durham – AAA

  • Cambridge – A*AA

  • Goldsmiths College London – BBC

  • Kings College London - AAB

  • York – BBB

BA (Hons) Education Studies: what gets taken into account?

  • GCSE grades

  • AS grades (inc. module scores)

  • Personal statement

  • Clear rationale for choosing Education Studies and the joint subject alongside it. We will look at for example why you are interested in Learning (as opposed to wanting to be a teacher), what experiences have you had of where learning was a success, or a struggle, or where you have reflected upon your experiences to change your goals. We are also looking for areas where you may have been involved in community or national projects related to learning for example Sing Up, Church Movements, Drama Charity work (eg Making a Song and Dance about it)

  • Predicted A-level/alternative grades

  • Teacher references

BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS: what is it and what do you study?

  • The degree is a three-year Full Time Single Honours course that prepares candidates to be teachers within the Primary Phase (5-11). The programme does this through the provision of subject-specialism (currently Maths, English, Science and ICT but in future including SEN) and on successful completion of teaching practice episodes, the award of QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).

  • The BA (Hons) Primary degree is designed to prepare teachers to be the most able teachers, thinkers and leaders that they can be. It is an extremely demanding programme in which students are expected to show high levels of ability in the diverse range of subjects that characterize the primary curriculum, from Maths to Music, from Science to Psychology and from Early Years to Adolescence.

BA (Hons) Primary Education: can you specialize and what professions could you enter?

  • Yes you can specialize, through modules and through your final year research-based dissertation. Currently the options comprise Maths, English, Science and ICT, but future developments are in place to include SEN.

  • Primarily, students enter this programme expecting to teach when they graduate, and as such, that is what most of our graduates do. However, the range of contexts and countries is vast: state schools, independent schools, state boarding schools, independent boarding and day schools, state special schools, Pupil Referral Units, Private Special Schools, international schools, embassy schools and so on.

  • But in addition, some graduates decide that they want to go into Educational Management and Allied roles, including policy making, working within LEAs, becoming Education Publishers, becoming Learning Technology Developers and so on. For all these roles, the experience of teaching is critical.

  • It is also important to point out that many graduates (around 50%) go into further study very soon after graduating, the most common programmes being MA (Education), MA (Social Work) and MA (Ed Psych Conversion Route).

The School of Education compared: BA (Hons) Primary Education entry tariff

  • Durham – ABB

  • Northumbria – BCC

  • Brighton - ABB

  • Roehampton - ABB

  • Bishop Grosseteste – BCC

BA (Hons) Primary Education: what gets taken into account?

  • GCSE grades

  • AS grades (inc. module scores)

  • Personal statement

  • Predicted A-level/alternative grades

  • Teacher references

  • Interview

  • Submitted school work at interview

  • Presentation of relevant material and resources

  • Additional tests (Maths & English)

  • We look at the whole picture and everyone individually

Are there key elements that we look for: personal statements

  • No errors of spelling, grammar or expression.

  • Detailed description evidencing commitment to working with children, context almost irrelevant.

  • An awareness of education as a global issue, rather than simply an academic field of study

  • We want to hear candidates’ voices, not the same message or same phrases over and over. Stress that every single person is different and so should their application be.

Are there key elements that we look for: interviews

  • Enthusiasm (even when terribly shy or quiet) and depth of passion about teaching and education that is hard to suppress especially when questioned further.

  • Evidence that the candidate has reflected on any school experience that they have had rather than just gone through the motions.

  • Knowledge about issues of substance, eg literacy issues, educational difficulties of looked after children, whether teaching is about subject or pastoral, etc etc.

  • Knowledge about what teachers actually do: what is their role, what does a standard day look like, is there a standard day. What is it like being a teacher? why would they want to be a teacher? what would be difficult, easy for them?

What do the students say about us?

  • "If I had to sum up in a few words what the Durham BA in Primary Teaching offers, it would be tempting to focus upon the clarity of subject knowledge that the course instils. However, it is the fact that upon qualifying, you will be able to spot good and outstanding teaching a mile off, quite simply because you have been trained to deliver it consistently yourself.”

  • “Quite simply, the course and the staff are amazing. The knowledge, the lengths that they will go to to make sure that you learn and that you change as a person. I cannot say how much I am grateful for this experience and the respect I have for my tutors is endless”

What can you do to help?

  • Prospectus and all details of courses are online


  • For more details about individual programmes, contact the respective Admissions Secretaries:

  • Education Studies: Dr Sophie Ward

  • [email protected]

  • Primary Education: Dr David Bolden

  • [email protected]

  • Read testimonies/experiences online through TES, Student Room etc.

  • Visit us at open days, or by request

  • Ask questions now!

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