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SWAP Access to Social Science / Primary Teaching

  • Start date:   August 2024
  • Level of Qualification:   SCQF Level 6
  • Course Type:   Full-time

SWAP Access to Social Science / Primary Teaching

This one-year course is designed to support adults to return to formal education after a significant gap in learning and prepare them for higher level study.

Start date – Aug 2024

End date –  Jun 2025

SCQF Level - 6

Mode –  Full time

Days – Monday to Friday (not Friday PM)

The SWAP programme offers a range of interesting subjects that can lead to progression into several HNC and degree pathways such as Psychology, Criminology, Sociology, Social Work and Primary Teaching. Those interested in Primary Teaching will have the opportunity to gain experience in a West Lothian Primary School.

Read about Steven Anderson's West Lothian College experience here


  • HNC Digital Creative Media

    What the course includes

    By the time students have completed their SWAP year they will have gained the skills, abilities, knowledge and understanding necessary for higher level study, i.e. HNC or University Degree. The course includes a wide range of interesting subjects including:

    • Social sciences:  Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, Social Anthropology, Criminology
    • National 5 Maths (External exam); Level 6 Communication and Literature 1 (equivalent of Higher English)
    • Optional unit for Primary Teaching: work-based placement a primary school
Foundation Skills

Why choose this course

The SWAP programme is designed specifically for those returning to learning following a gap in formal education. The course prepares students to progress to University or HNC level study the following year. There is a specific focus on academic skills development, such as reading textbooks, conducting research, independent learning and study skills to support progression to more advanced courses.

Our SWAP courses help prepare students for university, with 97% of the students that progressed to university in 2018 successfully completing their first year.

Entry requirements

The necessary entry requirements are:

  • You will require to meet the SWAP criteria for selection:
  • If you do not have any qualifications above SCQF level 5 (Standard Grade, Int 2, GCSE or equivalent), you must have been out of full-time education for at least 3 years OR
  • If you already have qualifications at SCQF level 6 or higher (Highers, A Levels, HN) you must have been out of full-time education for at least 5 years.
  • You must be able commit to college on a full-time basis (around 18-20 hours per week in class and additional hours of self-study, i.e. available Monday to Friday).
  • You aim to progress to study at the end of the one-year to either University for a Degree or to College for an HNC.
  • If English is not your first language, ESOL Level 5 is an entry requirement for this course.
  • Where it leads

    Opportunities for successful SWAP students are incredibly varied.

    Progression can include university degree-level courses in Sociology, Social Policy, Social Work, Primary Teaching, Psychology, Criminology, History, English Literature, Politics, Philosophy, Journalism, Anthropology, and many other related programmes.

    Former students have gone on to study degrees at many Scottish universities, including St Andrew’s, Edinburgh, Stirling, Edinburgh Napier, Heriot Watt and Queen Margaret.

Interview arrangements

If you are invited for an interview, you should plan to be in college for 2-3 hours. You must bring evidence of any existing qualifications, along with a personal statement that includes the following information (maximum 300 words):

  • Experience - work/volunteering and /life experience
  • Personal qualities and interests
  • Reasons for applying for the course
  • Challenges that you will face as a mature student returning to full-time education

The interview involves:

  • Information session
  • Individual interview
  • Literacy/writing task
  • Maths test*

*Should you be successful at interview, a condition of entry will include successful completion of a Level 4 Maths Summer School- as well as brushing up on skills you may not have used for some time, this study week is also a great opportunity to meet the other SWAP applicants before the course starts in August.

Fees, Finance & Funding

There may be help available to assist with your study related costs. Impartial, confidential help and advice on financial matters is available from the Student Funding Team - including Bursaries, Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), Student Awards Agency for Scotland, Student Loans Company and student support funds. Click here to find out more

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Take that next step in your career and apply for this course today. If the course is not yet open for applications, feel free to ask any questions by clicking make an enquiry.