Student Teacher Placement Policy

For  an equitable and fair allocation of opportunities for student teacher placements

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1. Introduction

The Board of Management of Scoil Naomh Buithe acknowledges the following regarding initial teacher education and the role of school placement in this process.

  • Positive school placement experiences are critical to ensuring appropriate initial teacher education for all student teachers.
  • Close collaboration between schools and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is essential to positive and meaningful school placement experiences for student teachers.
  • School Placement provides a real context for the student teacher’s studies and enhances the capacity of the student to link theory and practice.
  • In the course of school placement, student teachers require the support of the whole-school community in their journey towards professional competence.
  • Hosting student teachers on placement is enriching for the learners in a school, student teachers, co-operating teachers, the wider school community and HEIs. In particular, learners benefit from a greater variety of teaching, learning and co-curricular experiences through the structured participation of student teachers in the school. Furthermore, the school gains access to a variety of newer approaches to teaching and learning through its engagement with student teachers and HEI staff.
  • HEI placement tutors benefit from partnership experiences with schools and from being in the actual setting of a school during visits to student teachers.

2. Development of Policy

This policy was developed by school management following consultations with relevant members of the school community. This policy was formulated having regard to the increasing number of requests from HEIs and from individuals to provide opportunities for student teacher placements in Scoil Naomh Buithe. It is expected that implementation of this Policy will ensure continuity of routine, teaching and learning within the classroom setting, and will also limit disruption to regular school routines. The Policy will provide for an equitable and fair allocation of opportunities for student teacher placements throughout the school and should ensure that excessive demands are not placed on any individual class or teacher. It recognises that every member of staff has a responsibility to contribute to the positive professional development of the student teacher.

3. Aims

  • To provide an opportunity for student teachers to work with children on a professional level in a structured environment.
  • To enable a controlled exchange of teaching methodologies and skills between students and co-operating teachers.
  • To enable children to be exposed to alternative teaching strategies.
  • To support student teachers in their professional development.

4. Child Safeguarding

The guidance given in this policy is based on good practice developed through experience in the school and the principles set out in the following publications:

All student teachers shall give the principal a copy of the following before placement begins:

  • Garda Vetting
  • Statutory Declaration
  • Tusla Children First Elearning Certificate

5. Commitment to hosting student teachers

Scoil Naomh Buithe is committed to hosting student teachers for school placement and, in this context, adopts without modification as part of this school placement policy the Guidelines on School Placement developed by the Teaching Council in consultation with all relevant education partners. (See: http://www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/Publications/Teacher-Education/Guidelines-for-School-Placement-.pdf).

5. Implications for the school hosting student teachers on placement

Hosting a student teacher on placement will involve the student teacher observing classes being taught by members of the school’s teaching staff. It will also involve student teachers teaching classes, in the first instance, while being observed and supported by the co-operating teacher who has primary responsibility for the welfare and educational progress of the class. Then, as the student teacher’s competence develops, the student teacher will move to teaching classes independently in line with HEI requirements and the student teacher’s particular stage of development on the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programme.

6. Implementation Procedures

  • In the normal course of events a student teacher will not be accepted during the first two weeks of the school year or during the last 2 weeks of the school year.
  • A request for a placement will only be considered following a written request from a HEI or from an individual to the Principal.
  • The Principal will discuss the possibility of having a student teacher in a given class with the class teacher.
  • Non-probated teachers will not have a student teacher in their class.
  • A maximum of 4 blocks of teaching practice will be facilitated in any one school year.
  • Only one student teacher per class per year will be accommodated.
  • The student teachers will rotate amongst the staff, whenever feasible, to ensure that no one teacher may be asked to accommodate a student teacher placement year after year.
  • A class will only have a student teacher twice in their primary school career, where feasible.
  • Class teachers will be made aware of the impending arrival of the student teachers at least 2 weeks in advance.
  • The timeframe for each individual placement and the protocol involved will be agreed upon prior to the student teacher taking up a placement.
  • All applicants for school placement will be considered on merit alone. A full list of application criteria is outlined in Appendix A. If all of these criteria are not met, the application will not be considered.
  • It is important that student teachers should follow the agreed scheme of work and timetable as discussed with the class teacher. The class teacher may be involved in teaching for a specific part of the day e.g. in-class programmes, even when a student teacher is required to teach for the full day.
  • During placement the students may be asked to help out with Visual Arts work, P.E., Computers and administrative work. It is envisaged that the student will act as a resource for the teacher, thus making the experience mutually beneficial.
  • Placement time gives the student the opportunity to observe teaching and learning in the classroom and to engage with pupils and teacher.
  • Student teachers are asked to be mindful of our Green School Policy in relation to photocopying and printing.
  • Student teachers should be sensitive to, and adhere to staffrroom routines and conventions and to any health & safety requirements and policies of the school.
  • The student teacher’s mobile phone should be turned off/silent throughout the school day.
  • Student teachers’ files and observation notes must avoid reference to pupils’ full names. Pupils may be referred to by their initials.
  • The student teacher must consult with the class teacher as regards access to any school resources e.g. Visual Arts materials, P.E. equipment, ICT equipment.
  • At every stage during the placement, student teachers should be receptive to advice from the class teacher and/or Principal on any aspect of their professional development.

Please note that in exceptional circumstances Scoil Naomh Buithe reserves the right to contact the HEI to discuss the progress and the (dis)continuation of the placement of the student teacher.

7. Scheduling of student teachers on placement

The Principal will allocate student teachers to co-operating teachers and classes, having regard for: the stage the student teacher is at in his/her initial teacher education programme; the particular needs of the learners in a particular class; the requirement for the student teacher to experience an appropriate range of placement contexts; and any special circumstances of which the co-operating teacher has an awareness.

8. Induction of student teachers on placement

Student teachers will, prior to commencing their placement, be provided with an orientation to the key personnel, ethos and work of the school. This orientation shall involve student teachers being provided with information regarding key school policies, in particular the school’s Code of Behaviour, Child Safeguarding Statement and Risk Assessment, Anti-bullying, Health and Safety, Homework and Student Teacher Placement Policies.

9. Supports for the student teacher

The school community is committed to supporting positively and sensitively the student teacher in accordance with the Guidelines on School Placement developed by the Teaching Council in consultation with all relevant education partners. Furthermore, the school is committed to allocating the student teacher to (an) appropriate co-operating teacher(s) and to the classes essential to him/her undertaking his/her school placement successfully. The school will also provide the student teacher with the teaching facilities and resources, within resources, necessary to do his/her work during the placement.

10. Professional Conduct

Student teachers are expected to:

• be professionally presented in terms of attire, appearance and deportment in the classroom.

• be punctual and remain with the assigned class for the entire day.

• respect the privacy and confidentiality of all members of the school community.

• show interest and enthusiasm in the preparation and teaching of lessons.

• show interest and enthusiasm in all the work done by the children and to praise all children equally.

Scoil Naomh Buithe prides itself on being a vibrant and positive school and all student teachers are expected to reflect this ethos in all their dealings with staff and pupils.

11. Continuing professional development for staff involved in supporting/facilitating student teacher placement

The school’s Board of Management seeks to promote and facilitate the participation of school staff in continuing professional development programmes essential to ensuring the successful operation of student teacher placement in the school e.g. Droichead training by N.I.P.T for the P.S.T.

12. Success Criteria

A student teacher placement will be deemed successful if there is:

• positive and constructive feedback from teachers, pupils and parents.

• integration and communication with permanent staff members.

• a perceived contribution to the learning environment of the school.

• quality of learning by pupils in class.

• quality of learning by student teacher.

13. Communication of the Student Teacher Placement Policy to the school community

A copy of the Student Teacher Placement Policy is made available to school personnel and to the Parents. The policy is readily accessible to parents on request.

14. Ratification and Review

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management at a meeting on 31st May 2021. It will be communicated by email to staff, and saved onto the staff server. It will also be available in the school to parents and the school community. It will be reviewed every five years by staff and the BOM, or earlier if requested by one of the parties.


Signed: Patrick Logue (Chairperson BOM)


Appendix A

Application Criteria for Student Teacher Placement

Applications for Student Teacher Placement in Scoil Naomh Buithe will only be considered if they include the following:

  • Cover letter with date noted
  • Curriculum Vitae (max 2 pages) including phone numbers of referees
  • Contact details (address, phone number and e-mail address)
  • Exact dates of observations/placements where possible
  • Class preference
  • Focus of observation as outlined by the College

Copies of the above must be sent to:

Principal
Scoil Naomh Buithe,
Tenure,
Dunleer,
Co. Louth

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