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Placement organisation and information

Getting organised for school experience

This section provides all the information and documentation required for school experience. All of the documents required whilst on placement will be available electronically via Blackboard Learn (BBL) for Student Teachers and via these Brunel ITE web pages for our PCMs and Mentors. We hope this will help you to navigate around the requirements for placement but please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any clarification or further assistance.  

 Organising placements

The Partnership Development Unit (PDU), along with your University Tutor, are responsible for the organisation of your placements during the course. We have partnerships with many schools around the Greater London area and in neighbouring counties and we are continually building new partnerships with schools. We are fortunate to have links with a broad range of schools and we aim to provide the Student Teacher with contrasting school placements during the course. We work very closely with our Partnership Schools to provide the very best school experience for the Student Teacher. Placements are organised first and foremost on the basis of Student Teacher learning needs and this is our priority. We want Student Teachers to meet the Teachers’ Standards (DFE, 2013) by the end of the course and to qualify with a recommendation for QTS. However, as far is possible, we will try and take into account personal circumstances such as travelling distance to a school (calculated using www.tfl.gov.uk and www.theaa.com websites), mode of transport and childcare arrangements. We must stress, however, that the school placement process is very complex and we cannot make any guarantees in relation to individual requests and schools offering placements must have agreed to and have signed our Brunel University London Partnership Agreement. Once we have been offered places by schools, we will confirm the placement for the Student Teacher as soon as possible. However, please note that sometimes circumstances change for a variety of different reasons and placements may have to be adjusted. We would also like you to note that, on placement, we all work to school term dates unless otherwise advised. The University Tutor collaborates closely with the PDU to match Student Teacher learning needs and personal circumstances to the most appropriate placement school. The PDU’s email contact details are as follows: 

Brunel Partnership Development Unitcbass-admin-pdu@brunel.ac.uk, Tel: 01895 266092 

In order to ensure the University has the most up to date contact details relating to school placements, Student Teachers are asked to ensure that the contact information required on the timetable is completed and uploaded on to BBL.  

Entitlement for Student Teachers while on Placement

All Student Teachers are entitled to on-going support and professional learning opportunities which will help to maximise potential to meet the Teachers’ Standards by receiving regular honest and constructive feedback on developments. The major elements of the school-based professional learning and support are:

  • A whole-school Professional Education programme organised by the PCM, designed to complement the General Professional Education and Subject Studies sessions taught at University and to give an additional school-specific focus to these areas. This is organised around the school’s timetable and availability of staff;
  • An individualised subject-based learning programme.  It is vital that this professional learning  programme is planned during the initial induction days at the school with your Mentor and reviewed during the block school experience;
  • A Mentor  who will have day to day responsibility for the Student Teacher’s learning in  school, carrying out most of the formal observations of teaching, conducting the weekly professional learning meeting and working with the Student Teacher to complete Profiles at the interim phase and end of each phase of the course; 
  • An appropriate timetable to meet the Student Teacher’s learning needs, details of which are included in a subsequent section of this document. 

Preparing for School Placements

Student Teachers will be allocated their school placement by their University Tutor and receive information about the school – address, name of the PCM and Mentor etc. They should begin to plan their route to school to ensure that they can arrive in school on time –bearing in mind that they will be travelling at peak times. They may wish to find out about the school e.g. looking at the school website, data dashboard and most recent Ofsted report etc. Once the placement is confirmed to the Student Teacher, they should then contact the school’s PCM to introduce him/herself and check arrangements for their first day at school. They are asked to arrive by 8.15am and report to the PCM. In some cases this arrangement will vary but we will inform the Student Teacher if this is the case. Student Teachers should remember that schools are busy places and PCMs are busy people so they should be prepared to wait if they cannot be seen straight away and remember that first impressions count. They may well be one of many Student Teachers from several Universities and subject areas at the school. 

In preparation for the first meeting with the school mentor, the Student Teacher will have completed their Initial Needs Analysis. The school mentor can then use this information as a basis for starting to design the timetable and professional learning programme in school.

Preparatory School Experience

Preparatory experience provides an opportunity to introduce the Student Teacher to the school and department in which he/she will be working, giving experiences that link work done in University with school-based practice, and preparing him/her for teaching on the block experience. These tasks are specified in the Module Study Guide on a week by week basis or provided through the PLAs. Work on the preparatory phase of school experience will also begin to give experiences that provide evidence for working towards the Teachers’ Standards. As well as the tasks prescribed in the Module Study Guide, during the preparatory phase in each school, Student Teachers should engage in the following kinds of activities:

  • Meet with the PCM and Mentor to discuss targets on their Initial Needs Analysis (INA) or Professional Learning Action Plan (PLAP);
  • Attend school-based professional studies sessions;
  • Observe a range of classes and teachers both within their  subject area – including classes that they will teach - and outside it, perhaps undertaking a pupil pursuit;
  • Act as support teacher with the normal class teacher;
  • Arrange a teaching timetable;
  • Familiarise him/herself with school/departmental schemes of work and the activities and topics that they will be teaching;
  • Prepare lesson plans and resources;
  • Plan for individual needs;
  • Work to develop their subject knowledge;
  • Gather data about the school;
  • Work on general and subject specific school-based professional learning activities as detailed in your Module Study Guide
  • Make him/herself fully aware of the school’s safeguarding process; 
  • Teach (if they feel confident enough), a small group of pupils or for a part of a lesson.

The timetable

The school experience timetable should provide a balanced subject related experience to facilitate a focus on subject knowledge weaknesses and develop areas of strength. Student Teachers complete an audit of their perceived subject knowledge strengths and weaknesses and how they feel these might be addressed.  This audit will arise from an Initial Needs Analysis (INA) process early in the course. At the end of each phase a Professional Learning Action Plan (PLAP) is written drawing on the Profile to identify the key priorities for the next Phase. The timetable is constructed to take account of the individual needs and also flexible to allow the Student Teacher to undertake a range of Professional Learning Activities (PLAs), as well as whole class teaching. Examples of different possible PLAs can be found in a separate PLA Handbook. 

If your curriculum does not facilitate learning in a particular target area, it may be necessary to arrange a visit to another school that caters for this. When Student Teachers begin their Development/Consolidation school experience, the PLAP should be used to organise a new timetable, based on identified priorities and targets. Particular attention must be paid, however, in arranging the timetable for the Alternative school experience, where appropriate. 

Timetable Weighting

The weighting of Student Teachers’ timetables should be flexible according to your needs, and the percentage of contact time will increase over the year. This is in order to allow the Student Teacher the critical time required to develop effective practice in planning and evaluation, recognising that in the early stages of the course this is challenging and time-consuming when done well. 

Timetable Weighting: Foundation Phase FSE

All Student Teachers, require support in the early phases, so flexibility is often required. As a guideline, however, Student Teachers should take approximately 33% of a main professional scale teacher’s timetable; a further 33% should be used for PLAs which will include observing; collaborative teaching to address priorities and targets from the Initial Needs Analysis; the remainder of the time is for working on planning, preparation and evaluation. Timetables should also include a Weekly Professional Learning Meeting between the Student Teacher and Mentor.

A possible example for a timetable in the Foundation Phase is given below: 

School Timetable

100%

Main Scale Teacher

80%

Teaching

33%

Training Activities

33%

Total ‘Contact’

66%

Planning and Preparation

34%

20

16

6

6

12

4

25

20

7

7

14

6

30

24

8

8

16

8

Timetable Weighting: Development/Consolidation Phases

The Development and Consolidation phases cover the Easter and Summer terms and take place in a second school. During these phases the weighting is increased to move towards what would be expected of a Newly Qualified Teacher.  Again, however, flexibility is sometimes necessary here and can be negotiated between the Student Teacher, the school and the University Tutor. Additionally, Student Teachers still require time to engage in Professional Learning Activities (PLAs).  On this basis the timetable weighting is:

  • approximately 60%-67% (about two thirds) of a main professional scale teacher's timetable should normally be allocated to Student Teachers for contact with pupils;
  • an additional 10-15% should be used in supportive education: either helping pupils with SEND or in working with a classroom teacher observing or assisting;
  • the remainder is for working on planning and evaluation and other PLAs;
  • a Weekly Professional Learning Meeting between the Student Teachers and mentor will be timetabled.

A possible example for a timetable in the Development/Consolidation Phases is given below:

School Timetable

100%

Main Scale Teacher

80%

Teaching

 

60%-67%

Training Activities

15%

Total ‘Contact’

75%

Planning and Preparation

25%

20

16

10-11

2

12-13

3-4

25

20

12-13

3

15-16

4-5

30

24

14-16

4

18-20

4-6

Percentages and periods indicated are approximate and may be adjusted slightly where appropriate or necessary.  Where schools operate a 2 week timetable Student Teachers should teach roughly the same number of lessons each week.  Schools are asked to provide a balance of experience of all areas of activity and experience of both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.  They should also, where possible, provide opportunities for Student Teachers to teach examination and post-16 courses. 

Pupil progress

There has been a significant emphasis on pupil progress in the recently revised Teachers’ Standards and the Ofsted framework for school inspection (Ofsted, 2014).  

The Teachers’ Standards which focus on enabling and assessing the progress of all pupils include: 

2. Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils;

5. Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils;

6. Make accurate and productive use of assessment i.e. make use of formative and summative assessment to secure pupils’ progress and use relevant data to monitor progress, set targets, and plan subsequent lessons.  

Whilst, as part of the April 2014 Ofsted framework for school inspections inspectors must cover the achievement of pupils at the school and consider the extent to which the education provided by the school meets the needs of the full range of pupils. 

Given that Student Teachers will need to meet all Teachers’ Standards to pass the course and be prepared for an Ofsted inspection in their future NQT post, pupil progress constitutes an important aspect of the programme of study. Student Teachers should focus on planning and differentiation to enable and assess the progress of all pupils in their classes.  

For example the Lesson Feedback Record prompts observing staff to comment specifically on pupil progress and achievement in relation to the intended learning detailed on the lesson plan and the contribution of teaching to this learning. This is to support the Student Teacher in focusing on pupil learning as an indicator of the quality of teaching in the lesson. The post-lesson conversations will also focus on pupils’ learning, progress and outcomes. 

Short and Medium Term Planning

In line with guidance offered by the University and school on planning, Student Teachers should work in collaboration with the Mentor (or classroom teacher) to provide evidence of both short and medium term planning. Short and medium-term planning should take into account the prior learning of the pupils; reinforce aspects of literacy or grammar in line with the school’s approach; meet all pupils’ needs, thus ensuring that every pupil makes progress. Student Teachers should be encouraged to plan for a sequence of lessons (Eliminating unnecessary workload around planning and teaching resources, Report of the Independent Teacher Workload Review Group, March 2016) which then informs their short term lesson planning.

A good curriculum plan will:

  • provide a framework for teaching in relevant areas of the curriculum;
  • show your thinking about your intentions, strategies and projected outcomes for the duration of the practice;
  • be an integral part of the ongoing work of the school;
  • make close reference to National Curriculum requirements;
  • respond to pupil’s experiences, their individual needs, interests and knowledge;
  • take account of available resources;
  • be open to constant modification in the light of ongoing evaluation;
  • balance individual, group and whole class teaching appropriately;
  • identify focused assessment points.

Your curriculum plan should clearly demonstrate progression and continuity in the area of study. 

We require all our Student Teachers to use the Brunel University London lesson planning, assessment and evaluation proforma. These are highly commended by Ofsted as a model for planning and draw on best practice from both research and from existing proformas in our Partnership schools. We would be grateful if Partnership schools support students in using these proformas.  If a Student Teacher is awarded Good or above in TS4 at the Development phase assessment, upon consultation with the Mentor and University Tutor, he/she may progress to using an alternative planning proforma which better supports transition to the NQT year.

 

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