Primary education

The Bachelor of Education (Primary Education) covers all the Key Learning Areas (primary-school subject areas) with special attention to the mandatory areas of Indigenous education, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), and special education. Professional experience (practice teaching) is integral to the program and commences in the first year. During their fourth year, students can specialise in one of a number of year-long elective units, including creative arts, special education, TESOL and Aboriginal education.

Requirements for completion

To qualify for the award of the Bachelor of Education (Primary Education), students must complete 192 credit points of units of study as described in the unit of study table.

First year

The first year of the primary program is a foundation one in which, during the core Education unit, students encounter general concepts relating to education and teaching in contemporary society. Students consider such contested concepts as child protection, the nature of the curriculum, curriculum construction, teachers' knowledge, and the teacher as a professional.

The relevance of these concepts to classroom practice is explored in lectures and seminars. Similarly the Science Concepts 1 unit covers important work in the content of science itself, rather than how to teach science. Students will be told how children and adults understand (or fail to understand) scientific concepts. Creative Arts 1 allows students to begin exploring arts-enriched approach to teaching dance, drama, music and art.

Second year

During this year, students experience their first sustained period of teaching a class. This inducts them into the cycle of assessment, planning and teaching.

To prepare for this professional experience, students investigate teaching from the perspective of the learner in their second-year units of study. This perspective will be informed by both sociological and psychological theory and include a unit of study focusing on the learning needs of indigenous students. As well, you students continue their curriculum study in English and begin to explore the pedagogy of both mathematics and PDHPE for the primary school.

Third year

The focus of the third year of the BEd(Primary) program is to assist students to translate theory-based knowledge into their teaching practice. Each of the units of study contains multiple opportunities for students to analyse and reflect on their teaching experiences in different contexts.

Knowledge and understanding of teaching the key learning areas is enhanced. Students will be able to continue developing their expertise in teaching mathematics, English, PDHPE and creative arts. Studies are introduced that will instruct students in the teaching of two other key learning areas: Human Society and its Environments, and Science and Technology. Two units – Teaching in Multilingual Classrooms and Positive Approaches to Special Education – focus on catering for the diversity found in Australian classrooms. In these units, students gain a greater understanding of how to cater for students from diverse sociocultural and language backgrounds, as well as students with disabilities and special educational needs.

Fourth year

The fourth year of the Bachelor of Education (Primary) program is the graduate stage of students' learning continuum as teachers. In this year, they synthesise what they know and apply this knowledge to new contexts. Students will be able to critically reflect on their level of attainment towards graduate teacher standards and understand professional learning strategies that will enable them to acquire new knowledge in a collaborative fashion.

During the year, students will deepen their knowledge of the key learning areas – maths; science and technology; English; and human society and its environment (HSIE) – and there will be an added focus on how to integrate these areas while maintaining the integrity of each.

A second unit of study devoted to how to teach children with special needs strengthens students' capacity to deal with diversity. The unit called Reading and Designing Research allows candidates to expand their knowledge of how to conduct action research in classrooms.

Professional Experiences in Year 4 enables students to implement strategies for planning key-learning-area integration, gathering evidence to support their application to the graduate level of the NSW Teaching Standards and critically reflecting on their strengths and areas for further professional development. In this way, Year 4 provides the opportunity for each student to consolidate knowledge about their chosen future profession.


The Education honours program is available to all students enrolled in an undergraduate education degree within the Sydney School of Education and Social Work.

Education honours is an integrated program undertaken during the final three semesters of an undergraduate degree. For students enrolled in four-year degrees, the program commences in Semester Two, Year 3.

Students enrolled in the honours program are required to undertake two honours units of study, and complete an honours dissertation.


The SSESW Bachelor of Education Primary degree offers two specialisation options, Primary Mathematics and Primary Science and Technology.

BEd(Primary) students who elect to undertake the specialisation study pathway will complete the normal generalist teaching degree with the added benefit of a specialisation in either mathematics or science and technology.

Contact/further information

Bachelor of Education, Primary, Program Director: Dr Cathy Little
Phone: +61 2 9351 3685
Sydney School of Education and Social Work

Learning outcomes

The Bachelor of Education (Primary Education) prepares graduates who have:

  • A broad general education with in-depth knowledge in at least one area
  • An evolving personal theory of education, based on an understanding of contemporary society, children's development, the variety of roles of teachers, and the purposes and functions of schooling
  • The necessary knowledge, attitudes and attributes for the effective performance of the complex tasks and responsibilities of primary teachers
  • A capacity to construct, implement and evaluate appropriate programs of learning experiences for primary-school children
  • Ahe maturity and humanity necessary for professional teaching
  • An ability to maintain, enquire into, and evaluate their own professional development
  • The ability to analyse critically new professional and policy developments.