This qualification has two 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.
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 the wellbeing, psychology and everyday lives of children and young people.
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 15 March 2022.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Diploma of Higher Education 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; face-to-face events may be replaced with an online alternative where necessary
- 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, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
- 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.
On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Diploma of Higher Education in Education Studies (Primary).
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. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.
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 to study this qualification.
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 and E209. If you cannot spend time in practice settings, the study materials provide examples of children’s learning across a range of phases and contexts.
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.
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is either:
People, work and society Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.
View full details of People, work and society Access module
Psychology, social science and wellbeing Access module
Skills for career development
This diploma provides an effective foundation for further study that may lead to 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.
A Diploma of Higher Education in Education Studies (Primary) 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 and working with families and young people. 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 universities.
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