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Primary Education

child drawing

There was a very good balance of group and whole class interaction. I felt able to participate during sessions and was encouraged to share experiences.
Key Facts
Route Co-ordinator: Fiona Maine

Part-time enrolled 20-21: 2 (2year MEd), 3 (PGCEM)

Open to: Part-time only; 2year MPhil, PGCE-MEd and PACES-MEd

2year MPhil deadline: 16/05/2022 Written task required for application

PGCE-MEd and PACES-MEd deadline: 16/05/2022 

The Primary Masters is intended for education professionals, policy makers and researchers at any stage of their career. We aim to fuse research, theoretical and practical understandings of primary/elementary educational contexts. The course is designed to enable you to enhance your educational thinking and practice through critical reflection, study and research. Students, therefore, participate in both substantive primary education and research methodology courses.

One of the strengths of the course is the diversity of course members and Faculty tutors. The course was established by the associate directors of the Cambridge Primary Review and continues to engage teachers in cutting-edge, forward thinking. Staff members have a variety of research interests, drawing on extensive experience of working in partnership with teachers. Course tutors research a range of topics relevant to early years and primary/elementary education, including: children’s critical and creative thinking, digital literacies, pupil voice, inclusive pedagogy and learning, teaching and curriculum.

A commitment to dialogic pedagogy informs all our research and underpins the course. The different experiences of staff and students allow us collectively to make links between the taught course content and a variety of professional development and research interests. The course encourages collaborative working among participants, drawing on everyone’s insight and expertise as we consider innovations and challenges in areas such as:

  • development of creative pedagogies
  • enhancement of relationships and communication in school
  • educational importance of talk
  • beliefs about knowledge.

Why choose us?

  • Critically engage with the best quality national and international educational research that has relevance to primary education
  • Carry out individual and collaborative critical enquiry into significant educational issues and practice
  • Develop your thinking in order to contribute to informed policy and practice analysis and improvement in the primary phase and your own work setting
  • Benefit from an opportunity to follow up personal and professional interests in children’s learning and primary education in general
  • Join a growing core of practitioner researchers, drawing on a bank of relevant research skills and knowledge
  • Gain access to wider Faculty seminars, networks and other activities

What does this course offer?

  • A combination of lectures, seminars, reading groups, workshops, student presentations and other collaborative activities designed to invite active participation in educational enquiry
  • Inter-sessional learning through school-based activities, guided reading and other independent study
  • The opportunity to conduct and report a substantial and innovative research project
  • A grounding in educational research methodology
  • Support for tackling and solving educational problems autonomously, through the understanding, planning and implementation of research

In this short video Fiona Maine and Ruth Kershner talk more about what this course offers.

coloured pensHow is the course organised?

PGCE-M and PACES-MEd students complete the Master of Education (MEd course) in one year part-time. Other 2 year MPhil students complete the course over two years, part-time. This course includes Primary Education and Research Methods sessions.

Each year there are two Primary Education modules and these run as a rolling programme (the first two will run in 2022-2023).


  • Critical perspectives on primary education policy and practice
  • Creative approaches to the curriculum
  • Pedagogy, talk and learning
  • The school as a community

cpocket watch Course Attendance

Part-time study: Course sessions take place on Wednesday afternoons from 2 – 7pm. The Primary Education sessions run from 4:30-7pm, with two longer conference sessions in the first two terms. The Research Methods sessions (RMS) are on Wednesdays from 2-7pm. Typically there are four or five RMS sessions and 5 Primary Education sessions in the first two terms. There are additional supervisions to support your study.

teachingResearch Method Strand

Alongside these modules, you will benefit from 32 hours of Research Methods teaching. This is taught across all thematic Masters within the Faculty of Education, allowing you to interact with others on different courses. It covers a broad range of social science research methods and is essential for Masters level understanding and critical engagement with the research literature in many specialist areas and in education more generally. Through this strand you will acquire the skills necessary for designing, conducting, analysing, interpreting and reporting a research study for thesis.

Detailed information.

paper cut peopleWho are the course team?

The course is staffed by a team of established faculty members who provide teaching and supervision. Other colleagues also contribute one-off lectures:

road signWhere do our students go?

After finishing the Primary Masters course students have continued to pursue a variety of professional and academic careers. These include continuation and progression within classroom and senior leadership roles, as well as further academic study. Many students have continued to collaborate with us through engaging as partners in research, and contributing to Faculty teacher education programmes.

student smilingWhat our students say

View video interviews with our students, about their experiences and feedback.

Videos and interviews