By Press Office 04 March 2018

New primary teaching degree to attract students with a strong social conscience

Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh is to launch a new four year degree which will produce the next generation of primary teachers in Scotland. The University will also offer a postgraduate degree in Home Economics, which will develop teachers who can fill vital posts in secondary schools and positively influence young people’s knowledge and skills relating to food, nutrition and health.

The BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary) will be based within the University’s Division of Psychology and Sociology and will have a social sciences focus. The new course is designed to attract candidates with a strong social conscience, who are passionate about developing young people and equality of opportunity. It will also particularly suit those who have aspirations to lead in the teaching profession.

One hundred and twenty places will be available for people who wish to study the undergraduate degree in primary education in the East of Scotland. Successful students, who secure a place on QMU’s new programme, will be based at the University’s modern campus located to the east of Edinburgh by Musselburgh. They will also have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of placements. The University was recently ranked top university in Scotland and third in the UK for employment of graduate leavers.

QMU will be the new provider of undergraduate primary teacher education in Edinburgh and the surrounding area with recruitment for the new programme starting now. The first cohort of 120 students will take their place at QMU in September 2019.

The University has a history of education dating back to its inception in 1875. It was established at a time characterised by social and economic divisions and inequalities, and widespread poverty. It responded, at that time, by creating new education and career opportunities for women and improving the diets of the urban poor. To this day, it remains true to its roots with a commitment to social justice as one of its core values.

Professor Brigid Daniel, Dean of Arts, Social Sciences and Management at Queen Margaret University, explained: “Primary school teachers are some of the most influential people in children’s lives. We recognise the huge responsibility we have to provide the best possible learning experience for our students so that they can become creative, inspiring and nurturing teachers.

“We want to support a new generation of teachers who are socially aware and who challenge their own thinking, and that of others, to improve learning and teaching for Scotland’s young people. With its social sciences focus, our new honours degree programme will suit candidates who want to engage with issues such as inequality, child welfare, child psychology and wellbeing. We also want to recruit students who have a passion for making a difference in the world around them. The University has a particularly strong track record of community engagement and so, as well as placements within schools there will be opportunities for students to gain wider practical experience in the community, such as with refugee centres and specialised settings offering support and therapy for young people with complex needs.”

Professor Daniel confirmed: “In line with QMU’s ethos, we will provide a full rounded education to our students, not simply training: we will prepare them to be autonomous, flexible, adaptable and critically thinking. In other words, we will prepare them for a successful career, not just their first job.”

Professor Petra Wend, Principal of QMU, who was Chair of National Implementation Board for Teaching Scotland’s Future, said: “Teacher education fits with QMU’s strategy of delivering a portfolio of professionally relevant programmes that serve the needs of society. We are already highly experienced in teaching and inspiring Scotland’s young people via our pioneering Academies programme for 14 – 18 year olds and through the Queen Margaret Children’s University for 5 to 14 years olds. We have significant experience in relevant research and knowledge exchange, for example in social policy development, child welfare, resilience and peer education. Our teaching degree will be distinctive in its focus on education in community settings, as well as in schools, and will build on our strong existing collaborations with local and national community organisations. Combining this with our significant experience of dealing with professional bodies, and our history of teaching, it is clear that our new teaching education degree aligns strongly with our strategy, values and experience.”

Returning to its roots in food and nutrition, QMU will also offer a postgraduate degree in home economics (see press release Twenty places will be available for postgraduate students starting in September 2019.

Professor Wend, continued: “We feel that our compact friendly campus environment where students need not be lost in the crowd, coupled with our approachable and engaging staff and practical application of theory to practice, will appeal to people who wish to make a career in the teaching profession.”

Professor Wend concluded: “Our vision is to be a university of ideas and influence. It is difficult to imagine a more profound way to influence future generations, as well as learning and health outcomes, than educating those who educate our young people.”


Useful links

Division of Psychology and Sociology


Notes to Editor


  • The BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary) is based within Queen Margaret University’s Division of Psychology and Sociology. The new programme will share the reputable approach taken by the University’s psychology and sociology programmes in being intellectually rigorous and student-centred, with a focus on wellbeing, social engagement and diversity at its core.


  • Professor Brigid Daniel is the Dean of the School of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.Professor Daniel studied Psychology at the University of St Andrews and then completed a PhD in the Psychology Department at the University of Edinburgh on ‘The development of head and eye coordination in infants’. She qualified in Social Work from the University of Edinburgh and worked as a social worker in Edinburgh, specialising in work with Children and Families and in particular child protection. She then brought her expertise in child development to a teaching fellow post with Dundee University teaching on post-qualifying programmes for practitioners working in child protection and published the book Child Protection for Child Care and Protection Workers which is now in its second edition.She went to Stirling University as a Senior Lecturer in Social Work and was seconded from there to the Scottish Government for a year as the social work representative on the multi-disciplinary team that undertook a ministerial audit and review of child protection that lead to the influential report “It’s everyone’s job to make sure I’m alright”.  She returned to Dundee as the Professor of Child Care and Protection and oversaw the large suite of professional development programmes in child care and protection that were delivered across Scotland and continued to develop her research on children’s resilience and child neglect. She then went back to Stirling to a Chair in Social Work and managed the delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate social work qualification programmes and masters provision in child wellbeing and protection, adult support and protection and leadership and management.She was the academic advisor to WithScotland – a national hub of expertise on child and adult protection. Professor Daniel established the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection. Launched in March 2016, the hub undertakes research and education aimed at improving the circumstances of children at risk of compromised development. 

For further media information please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E:; T: 0131 474 0000, ML 07711 011239 or Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E: T: 0131 474 0000

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