Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (SSPIP) Mathematics

The Primary Mathematics Specialist teacher training course is ideal if you want to teach young children and you have a strong interest in mathematics.

Subject Specialist Primary ITT (Initial Teacher Training) Programmes (SSPIPs) are innovative new programmes, which enable you to specialise within a primary context. The Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education (SSPIP) in Mathematics will prepare you for employment in a specialist role of teaching mainly or solely mathematics in a primary school. We are looking to recruit graduates with strong mathematics subject knowledge who demonstrate an enthusiasm for mathematics, an understanding of the primary context and a commitment to this exciting new role. This course attracts bursaries of up to of £6,000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priority to increase the number of primary mathematics specialist teachers.

Following satisfactory completion of this course, plus a successful induction year in school and references, you can return to complete an MA in Teaching Studies (data collection and a 15,000 word dissertation). Additionally, the School also offers a number of specialised Professional Development programmes which will enable you to further develop your career.

Download a summary of the Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (SSPIP) Mathematics course (PDF, opens new window)

Please note that this programme is now closed for 2016 entry

The 2013 Ofsted report

“Such is the confidence of schools that trainees from the University of Birmingham are of high quality, employment rates for both primary and secondary phases exceed national averages by some margin.”

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering teacher training courses. Its teaching has been graded as 'outstanding' for the third consecutive time by Ofsted inspectors which reaffirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. 

The Initial Teacher Education course

Our aim is to develop analytic and reflective Primary Mathematics Specialists who are aware of the influences on learning and teaching. We are one of the few universities that awards the equivalent of 120 credits for successful completion of our teacher training courses, which we award at Master’s level. For those who successfully complete their induction year there is an opportunity to transfer credits to the MA Teaching Studies course, which is awarded on completion of a 60 credit dissertation.

The Primary Mathematics Specialist course has two parts and is designed and delivered in partnership with local schools, including our outstanding partnership Teaching School. The university part develops your understanding of theoretical and practical issues inherent in the teaching of Mathematics and whole school issues within the primary curriculum. Your school based practice enables you to apply what you have learned in the classroom.

You will undertake three main areas of study; Professional Studies, Core Mathematics and Specialist Mathematics. In addition, you will be introduced to the other core subjects of English and Science, to help you gain an understanding of the wider primary curriculum.

Our school-based placements enable you to put into practice what you have learned and to develop and refine your teaching skills. You will have the opportunity to teach Mathematics and to experience the wider primary curriculum in two different schools. You will teach Mathematics to more than one class on each placement, and over the year this will include both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. You are fully supported while on teaching practice by school mentors and our university tutors. You will also undertake short special interest placements in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 3. This will develop your understanding of progression in children’s mathematical learning.

Our partnership schools vary in size, phase and context, giving you the opportunity to broaden your teaching experience. By the end of the course you will have the necessary experience and support to begin your career as a primary teacher and a mathematics ‘champion.’

If you are interested in teaching young children, but would prefer to train as a generalist rather than a specialist, information on our General Primary and Early Years courses can be found on the Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education course page. If you are interested in Mathematics, but would prefer to teach older pupils, information on our Secondary courses can be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education course page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Equal Opportunities

The School of Education is committed to equal opportunities in the access to and provision of education. For more information please see the following documents:

School Mission Statement (PDF opens new window)

Disability and Disability Equality Scheme
Race Equality

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees for 2016-2017 are: £9,000 (UK/EU full-time), £14,140 (overseas full-time).

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships
Home/EU students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency. Government training bursaries may be available depending on your subject and degree classification. Trainee teachers on primary maths courses, with a relevant degree and at least a B at A level in maths (or equivalent) will be eligible for a bursary.

For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.

Entry requirements

We require graduates who have achieved their first degree, normally at 2.1 level or higher. Evidence of strong mathematics subject knowledge is required, and we would normally expect candidates to have a grade A or B in A-level Mathematics (which will qualify trainees for an extra £3,000 bursary). We will also consider candidates who have engaged in advanced study of mathematics and who have undertaken degrees with demonstrable mathematical content, such as Psychology or Engineering. For further guidance, or if you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact Kirsty Wilson on 0121 415 8225, or

In addition to this it is essential that you have spent a minimum of one week in a maintained primary school, working alongside and/or observing classroom teaching of mathematics and the wider curriculum at the time of applying.

Candidates have to also:

  • have a GCSE in Maths, English and Science (grade C or above) or an equivalent qualification; alternatively you might be advised to take an Equivalency Test. The DfE require us to check original certificates; you therefore cannot start teacher training unless you already hold these qualifications 
  • pass Professional Skills Tests in numeracy and literacy; please see the Professional Skills Tests section of the Department for Education web site for more information on the core skills required by trainee teachers
  • provide a satisfactory medical form 
  • complete an enhanced DBS/police check
  • complete a Declaration of Suitability to Teach
  • adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise 

Please note that for the Primary Mathematics Specialist initial teacher education course at the University of Birmingham we prefer applicants to have passed the Skills tests prior to attending an interview.

How to apply

Please note that this programme is now closed for 2016 entry

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal 

UCAS code: X00G

The course is designed and delivered in partnership with local schools, including our outstanding partnership Teaching School. The university based training takes place in spacious rooms that provide a learning environment tailored to promoting high quality primary practice.

Assessment methods

Written aspects of the programme are taught and assessed at Master’s level. Overall assessment consists of assignments, school based tasks and school practice.

We work closely with the University careers service and local councils in order to provide you with support for the job application process. Our success rate for completion of our primary courses and subsequent employment in schools remains consistently high; 100% of students from the course obtained employment within the teaching profession in 2013/14. The vast majority of our students gain employment in the local region, many of them choosing to remain in partnership schools, where many progress to be senior managers. In developing this new specialist course, we have consulted with our partnership schools, who report that newly qualified teachers with a mathematics specialism and an understanding of the wider curriculum would be highly employable.