Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (SSPIP) Mathematics

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

The Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education is a teacher training programme leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).  This Subject Specialist Primary ITT (Initial Teaching Training) Programme (SSPIP), enables you to develop your subject expertise within a primary context. You will learn to teach all the primary curriculum subjects, and will develop specialist expertise in mathematics.  The course lays the foundations for you becoming a future leader in mathematics. You will be prepared for employment in a generalist role at the start of your career, where you will ‘champion’ mathematics and inspire children and teachers.  The course also prepares you for employment in a more specialist role, teaching mainly or solely mathematics.

We are looking to recruit graduates with strong mathematics subject knowledge who demonstrate an enthusiasm for mathematics and an understanding of the primary context. This course attracts bursaries of £6,000 (depending on qualifications) in line with the government’s priority to increase the number of primary mathematics specialist teachers.

The programme offers the equivalent of 120 credits and these may be used towards our MA in Teaching Studies. Additionally, the School also offers a number of specialised Professional Development programmes which will enable you to further develop your career.

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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. As well as offering outstanding teacher training courses, we are one of the few universities that awards the equivalent of 120 credits for successful completion of our 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.

Our primary programmes meet all aspects of government requirements for Initial Teacher Training, and qualify you to teach children aged 3-11 years.  

The Primary Mathematics Specialist course has two parts and is designed and delivered in partnership with local schools. The university part develops your understanding of theoretical and practical issues inherent in the teaching of mathematics and of 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 gain a sound understanding of the wider primary curriculum, focusing in particular on the learning and teaching of English and Science. You will also develop your understanding of teaching the foundation subjects through personalised provision, selecting from university input and school experience to support your professional development

The 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 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 university tutors. You will also undertake short special interest placements in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 3. These will develop your understanding of progression in children’s mathematical learning and hence your leadership potential.

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.’

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.

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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:

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Fees and funding

Fees for 2018-2019 are: £9,250 (UK/EU full-time), £16,290 (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. Trainee teachers on the Primary Mathematics Specialist programme, with a relevant degree and at least a grade B in A level Mathematics (or equivalent) will be eligible for a bursary.

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

Entry requirements

We recruit graduates with a good honours degree (preferably 2.1 or above). Evidence of strong mathematics subject knowledge is required, normally a grade A or B in A-level Mathematics (which will qualify trainees for a higher bursary than a generalist primary course). For further guidance, or if you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact Dr Kirsty Wilson on 0121 415 8225, or

A minimum of five days experience in a mainstream school primary school (not an independent or overseas school), observing mathematics teaching and the wider curriculum is also required prior to application.

Candidates have to also:

  • have a GCSE in Mathematics, English and Science (grade 4 or above) or an equivalent qualification. If you are offering a qualification other than a GCSE please check with us before making an application; 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.

Additional information:

New GCSE grades

How to apply

Apply online through the UCAS Teacher Training portal 

UCAS code: X00G

The primary course is designed and delivered by specialist tutors in partnership with local schools. 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. In 2015-16 all primary mathematics specialist trainees were offered teaching posts and in 2016-17 all those seeking permanent employment were successful. Primary Mathematics Specialist students are highly employable. 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.