Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (SSPIP) Mathematics

Start date
38 weeks
UCAS code
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

The Primary Mathematics Specialist PGDipEd leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and offers 120 credits towards our MA in Teaching Studies. Our programme offers high quality training and support, which will prepare you to teach in the 5-11 age range. It is run in close partnership with schools.

This Primary Mathematics Specialist route will enable you to develop your subject expertise within a primary context. You will learn to teach all the primary curriculum subjects as well as developing specialist expertise in teaching mathematics.  You will be fully prepared for employment in a generalist role at the start of your career, where as a class teacher you will 'champion' mathematics and inspire children and teachers. The course lays the foundations for you becoming a future mathematics lead or specialist teacher in a primary school.

We are looking to recruit graduates with strong mathematics subject knowledge who demonstrate an enthusiasm for mathematics and an understanding of the primary context. You will benefit from our collaboration with a wide range of partner schools and the diverse communities we serve will enrich your experience. 

On our programme you will be challenged to develop informed and justified decisions about how you approach your teaching, in order to enable you to continue to develop over your career.  On successful completion of your PGDipEd you will be awarded 120 credits towards your Masters in Teaching Studies

If you are interested in teaching young children, but would prefer to train as a generalist rather than a mathematics specialist, information on our Primary course may be found on the PGDipEd Primary course page. We also offer a Primary PGCE programme (60 Master’s credits) via School Direct route. 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.

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' three times by Ofsted inspectors which affirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. 

Equal Opportunities

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

When I came for an interview I was really impressed by how friendly the department was and that the teaching I’d receive would be in small, focused tutor groups. I also liked the idea of coming to a city where I could get a really varied experience of lots of different schools.

Caitlin Robinson, Alumna

Read Caitlin's full profile

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Fees for 2023-2024 are:

£9,250 (UK), £21,150 (International).

When you apply for this course, it is important that you also take into account living costs and should ensure that you will have sufficient funds to finance the full duration of your studies. Our PGDipEd programmes include a significant amount of time spent on placements in a variety of schools at different locations, and so when budgeting to study you should also allow for travel to and from placements, as well as textbooks, printing, photocopying and stationery that you may need.

Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan

With or without a bursary, you can also access a  Tuition Fee Loan to cover your tuition fees and a Maintenance Loan for your living costs. The available loans for 2022-2023 are:

  • a Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,250 to cover your fees
  • a Maintenance Loan of up to £12,667 to support your living costs

Additional financial support

If you have children or a disability, extra funding is available. For instance, you could get:

Find out more information on the  extra financial support available

For further information contact the School directly or visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

How To Apply

Apply online through DfE Apply. An early application gives more time for remediation if there are concerns about the quality of your application. 

Course code: X00G

The Interview process 

Selection is rigorous and designed to identify candidates with the strongest aptitude. Candidates selected for interview will be invited to:

  • meet course tutors
  • find out more about the course
  • have a one to one interview
  • show GCSE and Degree certificates (where these are available).

We work closely with partner schools to select candidates and applicants will often have the opportunity to meet senior colleagues from partner schools when they join us for interview day.  

Our Standard Requirements

All applicants to the Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education (SSPIP) Mathematics course must hold a degree from a UK Higher Education Institution. This should be a 2.2 or above (and this will be a condition of any offer where the degree is not already awarded). 

Evidence of strong mathematics subject knowledge and enthusiasm for mathematics is required.  We welcome applications from candidates with A level Mathematics and/or degree content, as well as those who have a passion for mathematics and strong performance at GCSE.  Applicants need GCSE Mathematics at grade 7, 8 or 9 (A or A*) prior to making an application, a strong overall profile and a passion to ‘champion’ mathematics in primary schools.

You must also have a GCSE in English (Grade 4 or above*), or an equivalent qualification which must be attained prior to making an application. GCSE Science (Grade 4) must be attained as a condition of entry, where this has not already been obtained. If you are offering a qualification other than a GCSE please check with us before making an application.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact us on

You must also:

  • complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before taking up a place.
  • complete relevant checks to ensure you have the health and physical capacity to teach.
  • agree to abide by the University of Birmingham Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise.

Equivalent GCSE grades

International Requirements

The Primary Mathematics Specialist course is similar to the Primary course, and you will attend the same taught sessions as generalist trainees. In addition, there is substantial additional specialist input on the learning and teaching of mathematics, to enable you to develop confident subject expertise. 

Our Professional Enquiry course provides breadth and depth of insight across key themes such as learning theories, assessment, equalities, inclusion and teacher health and wellbeing. An additional PSHE award is also available to all students.  Our subject courses develop your understanding of effective pedagogy in the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, as well as the wider foundation subjects.

Specialist Mathematics sessions enable you to develop a deeper understanding of theoretical and practical issues inherent in the teaching of primary mathematics.  These give a high profile to the nature of mathematical thinking, including problem solving and reasoning, and to analysis of ‘teaching for mastery’.  The Primary Mathematics Specialist route also develops your understanding of progression in children’s mathematical learning from the Early Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage 3, which enhances your leadership potential.

The course is designed in conjunction with our school-based partnership; we have a full time team of specialist tutors and centre-based training takes place in spacious rooms that provide a learning environment tailored to promoting high quality primary practice. You will also have a personal academic tutor to guide and support you, as well as a dedicated mentor in placement schools.

The school placements will 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 the wider primary curriculum in two different schools.  Where possible, in each school, you will work with one base class, and also another supplementary class.  You will experience both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 during your training year and you will be given specialist feedback on your teaching.

Our partnership schools vary in size, phase and context, giving you the opportunity to broaden your teaching experience. You will visit outstanding schools and meet primary mathematics leaders. By the end of the course you will have had the experience and support to begin your career as an effective and confident primary teacher, and an enthusiastic mathematics ‘champion.’

The modules will require written assignments, including a specialist mathematics assignment. For the final module, University tutors and school-based mentors share the assessment of trainees against the Teachers’ Standards for the award of QTS.

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. Primary mathematics specialist students are highly sought after. A majority of students gain employment in the local region, many of them choosing to remain in partnership schools. Many newly qualified mathematics specialists secure employment in a more generalist post at the start of their career, joining the mathematics leadership team and going on to lead mathematics in their schools.

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