Primary teacher education

roydvale schoolgirls working on laptop in class

Primary teachers work with children in Years 1 to 8 (ages 5 to 13) in primary, intermediate, middle and area schools.

Be part of the learning journey

You will introduce children to the world of learning, and start them on their road to reading, writing and mathematics. It’s a very rewarding and satisfying career in which you can make a real difference in children’s lives.

Primary teacher education students:

  • Are interested in working with children and their communities
  • Want to teach all school subjects
  • Are organised and well prepared
  • Are nurturing and enjoy cultivating a love of learning in others

If that sounds like you, read on to find out more about taking these programmes at UC.

You'll learn about the theory, practice and management of teaching, including the place and role of education, the characteristics of learners and the teaching-learning process. You'll also learn about the curriculum taught in schools today to prepare you for the profession of teaching. This includes English, Māori language, mathematics, science, technology education, social studies, art, music, drama and dance, health and physical education and learning languages.

You will spend time working in a classroom where you can trial and refine your planning, teaching and management skills. By the end of your studies at UC you will have learnt and practised all the teaching skills required of teachers in New Zealand primary, intermediate, middle and area schools.

There are three qualification pathways for Primary Teaching at UC:

  • As an initial degree through the three year Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (BTchLn) programme. This is full-time or part-time on campus in Christchurch, full-time in Rotorua and Nelson or, full-time or part-time by distance study. For more information see the Primary Bachelor of Teaching and Learning Structure 2017.
  • If you already have a Bachelor degree you can enrol in the one-year (Feb-Nov) Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) (GradDipTchLn). This programme can be undertaken full-time on campus in Christchurch and full-time or part-time by distance study. This option is suited to those looking for a well-respected pathway to teaching, including practice in schools and research-based coursework. It is the recommended pathway for International students.
  • If you already have a Bachelor degree you can enrol in the Master of Teaching and Learning. You will complete a 180 point master’s degree within one calendar year (Jan-Dec) of fulltime study on campus in Christchurch. The MTchgLn programme is leading-edge in its focus on classroom practices that cater for diverse learners' needs for the New Zealand Aotearoa context. Research and theory will develop your understanding of learning processes, providing you with a robust academic backdrop to apply in working inclusively with Maori, Pasifika and other priority learners. This option is suited to those looking for the challenge of post-graduate level study (a B+ average in your major 300 level courses is required), that is practice-based and research-informed. The rewards of this more intensive programme include the opportunity for year-long engagement with local partner schools, and a higher entry point salary on entering the teaching profession. The Journal of Initial Teacher Inquiry showcases 2015 MTchgLn students' research articles which relate to a mix of both primary and secondary school-based contexts.

Successful completion of any of these pathways lead to eligibility to apply for NZTC registration. However, there are differences in the duration, focus and qualification awarded. Specifically, the BTchLn is a three-year undergraduate programme whilst both the GradDipTchg and the MTchgLn are one-year programmes for those with a Bachelor degree. Below is a quick overview of the differences between the the GradDipTchg and the MTchgLn programmes.

 BTchLnBTchLn (Hons)GradDipTchgMTchgLn
Level of qualification Undergraduate Postgraduate Graduate Postgraduate
Qualification Duration 3 years full-time or up to 6 years part-time 1 year full-time or up to 3 years part-time 1 year full-time or up to 3 years part-time 1 year full-time
2017 Course dates 13 Feb - 16 Nov 2017 20 Feb - 19 Nov 2017 FLO 7 Feb – 24 Nov 2017 
Campus 13 Feb - 24 Nov 2017
16 Jan- 8 Dec 2017
Fees* $5,900 $7,100 $8,060 $10,650
Loans Yes Yes Yes Yes
Allowance Yes Yes Yes No
Starting salary point – primary** Salary Group 3 Salary Group 4 Salary Group 3+ Salary Group 5

* These are domestic fees are for 2017.

** Source - https://education.govt.nz/

All Initial Teacher Education programmes have one intake each, starting in January or February. Applications open in August and are due four weeks before the programme starts. We recommend early application as programmes are limited entry.

The Bachelor of Teaching and Learning is open to any student with University Entrance. However, English and Mathematics are recommended.

If you are 20 years of age or over, recent tertiary study is desirable. For example, you may want to consider the Certificate in Learning Support (CertLS) which is available by distance or the Certificate in University Preparation (CUP) before applying.

If you already have a Bachelor degree you can apply for the one-year (Feb-Nov) Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary). If you already have a Bachelor degree with a B+ average in your major 300 level courses you can apply for the one-year (Jan-Dec) Master of Teaching and Learning.

Selection for entry is not automatic and is based on:

  • Academic ability
  • Involvement and interest in working with children
  • Community involvement
  • Communication skills – you need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly, confidently and coherently, and to listen and respond to others appropriately
  • A police check and an interview

IELTS requirements for Initial Teacher Education programmes

All students for whom English is an additional language must provide evidence of their English language ability.

Please note that the IELTS requirements for entry to Initial Teacher Education programmes are set by the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and are higher than the standard University requirements. IELTS academic scores are the only acceptable English language test for teacher education.

Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood), Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary), Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching, Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary), or the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary):

  • IELTS (Academic) with a minimum score of 7.0 in all bands.
  • Applicants who have completed at least two years of successful study in a New Zealand secondary school and achieved a minimum number of NCEA level 2 credits in Literacy, or who have completed a tertiary qualification in New Zealand at NZQA level 7 or higher, may be eligible for an exemption from the requirement to sit IELTS.

Master of Teaching and Learning (all endorsements):

  • IELTS (Academic) with a minimum score of 7.5 in all bands.
  • Applicants who have completed at least two years of successful study in a New Zealand secondary school and achieved a minimum number of NCEA level 2 credits in Literacy, or who have completed a tertiary qualification in New Zealand at NZQA level 7 or higher, may be eligible for an exemption from the requirement to sit IELTS.

Graduates of our Primary Teacher Education programmes will be eligible for provisional registration. This enables you to apply for teaching positions in New Zealand. Please contact the relevant authorities for international requirements.

Our graduates have gained positions in primary, intermediate, middle and area schools in New Zealand and overseas. Some have also gained positions in secondary schools, government departments, recruitment and human resource management, universities, as well as in private academies and agencies.

For more information about the skills you will learn and the jobs and activities our graduates do visit the UC Careers Hub What can I do with a degree in Primary Teacher Education?

Learn from our students' experiences