School placement

Two-thirds of the course will be located in schools. This includes two separate periods of school experience where you will be working as a student teacher, as well as a chance to experience the teaching and learning that takes place at primary level.

A PGDE student delivers a lesson

School experience 1 and 2

On both School Experiences you will be placed in a partnership school along with a number of other student teachers from the course and in many cases another student teacher from the same curriculum area as yourself. In addition to classroom teaching you will be given opportunities to observe experienced staff, work in teams on focused activities, develop and undertake collaborative and individual studies, share in the pastoral work, and become involved in other aspects of school life such as extra-curricular activities.

During the first school experience, you will spend one day a week in the University working on specific themes and issues arising from your work in classrooms so that we can support your development in the early stages of your teaching. As your expertise and experience grow through the year you will be expected to take greater responsibility for your own learning.

As this is an 11-19 course all student teachers can expect significant experience in post-16 education. This will involve observing experienced teachers, supporting pupils in class and teaching A level lessons. Many partnership schools have post-16 provision and it is expected that student teachers placed in these schools will have the opportunity to work with post-16 students. All students will gain post-16 experience during one or both placements.

The partnership between student-teacher, school and university tutor is a central feature of the course. The associate tutors and mentors in schools attend regular meetings with university tutors to review the course and share in its planning and organisation. The partnership schools liaise directly with a link tutor at the University, and developmental meetings ensure a coherent and consistent approach in the different schools.

Primary experience

One week of the course is spent in a Primary School. You organise this placement for yourself. You will play a largely observational role but we hope that you will do some work with groups of pupils. What you learn there will provide the focus for some of the curriculum activities on the course, and give you an insight into the earlier stages of the development of pupils, and your experiences will contribute to your first Masters level assignment.

Enrichment or enhancement experience

During the final two weeks of the second school experience, you will normally have the opportunity to undertake an Enrichment or Enhancement Experience in another educational context such as those listed below or within a different area of your SE2 school such as an inclusion unit. You will cease teaching in your SE2 school and enhance your professional development in a different educational setting. You will be expected to organise this for yourself and to write a critical and reflective report of your experience and take part in a presentation to your peers.

Examples of Enrichment or Enhancement placements in the past have been:

  • Hospital schools
  • Special Schools
  • In-school units supporting students with autism
  • Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)

Other Experience

In all curriculum areas you will have the chance to visit a number of schools as a part of the University-centred parts of the PGDE. These visits will focus on specific themes such as working with pupils with EAL or supporting exam groups and will give you the opportunity to gain experience of schools beyond your main placements.

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