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Assessing and Recording-Progress

Adjustments to placements due to illness or failure

Adjustments to placements

Placement Procedures (where adjustments are needed in response to illness or failure)

Below are the agreed procedures by which student teachers may be given alternative opportunities to successfully complete the school-based experiences which are a requirement of their programme. This is in order to successfully achieve LJMU’s ambitious ITE Curriculum and be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status at the end of the programme, but which have not been successfully completed within the normal timeframe. These procedures are referenced in each programme specification, regarding the completion of the programme.

Over the three years of the BA (Hons) Primary Education degree with QTS, there is a minimum entitlement to 24 weeks of school-based experience. The 24 weeks are divided into 3 phases. Although normally the case, these phases do not have to be completed during a specific year. They do all have to be successfully completed in sequence to achieve recommendation for QTS.

In order to start any placement, a student teacher needs to be “Placement Ready”. Placement readiness is assessed by the Programme leader based on attendance, engagement with the programme and a series of tasks. These tasks are explicitly set throughout the academic year and are listed on the Professional Practice module for each year of study. They are designed to ensure the student teacher has evidence of subject knowledge development throughout the year, is up to date with the most recent safeguarding regulations and has all their required paperwork organised prior to commencing the placement.

The majority of students will complete a block placement each year, however if a student teacher is not judged to be placement ready, it might be necessary to confirm delay of the placement to the following year, to ensure they are fully prepared, and to guard against a negative impact on school partners. The extended year normally gives enough time to do this, and to still achieve QTS in the usual timescale, subject to suitable placements being available. However, should a student teacher fail a placement, and need a second attempt, this might impact on their ability to complete the course with QTS within three years.

All LJMU programmes must be fully completed within a maximum of 6 years from enrolment. Students are encouraged to access Student Advice and Wellbeing services for support and information (including funding queries) throughout their studies.

The Sections below explain other agreed procedures by which QTS students may be given alternative opportunities to successfully complete the school-based experiences which are a requirement of their programme, in order to be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status, but which have not been successfully completed within the normal time-frame. These procedures are referenced in each programme specification, regarding the Award of QTS.

Requesting Leave of Absence from a programme

Students requesting a Leave of Absence (LOA) from their Programme should follow standard University procedures available on the My LJMU section of the University website (https://my.ljmu.ac.uk/) and must discuss this decision with the relevant Programme Leader.

It is recommended that all students considering making a request for a leave of absence seek advice and guidance from both their Programme Leader and Student Advice and Wellbeing Services (https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/discover/student-support/health-and-wellbeing) in advance of submitting any request. Granting of a leave of absence is not an automatic right and the decision will be made on an individual basis by the Programme Leader in conjunction with the Faculty Registrar. Students must follow University procedures and paperwork when requesting a Leave of Absence and be prepared to submit supporting evidence if appropriate. They must ensure that any financial implications are understood.

Requesting Deferral of a Placement

A request for a deferred placement, due to serious personal circumstances, may be agreed in a very limited number of exceptional circumstances. This allows students to continue with their academic work but postpone their school experience. Students who wish to request a deferral of placement should speak with the relevant programme leader and complete a ‘Deferred Placement’ request form which is submitted to the Partnership Manager with supporting evidence. The Partnership Manager will consult with the Programme Leader, faculty registrar and Liaison/Personal tutor before a decision is made.

Examples of where a deferral of a placement may be agreed are due to:

  • serious illness/medical reason with evidence;
  • a severe personal circumstance such as caring for a terminally ill close relative.

The placement may be resumed:

  • after consultation with the Programme Leader/equivalent, Partnership Manager and Partner establishments;
  • as soon as possible, subject to an appropriate placement being available;
  • for the required number of agreed weeks.
NB: A deferred placement will not be granted to offset any student failing a placement. Students must be aware that there may be implications for submission of Academic work where placement experience is required to support assignments, and there may be financial considerations. In such cases, requesting a formal leave of Absence from the programme is advisable.

Extended Placements

There are occasions when a student teacher may be required to extend their time on placement due to certain circumstances for example limited absence through illness or school closure. It may also be possible to request an extension of placement where a student teacher requires further time in school in order to complete a 'Cause for Concern' or 'At Risk' action plan, as part of the Additional Support Framework. A recommendation can be made that the student teacher completes a further identified number of weeks straight away following the standard placement end date where this is practicable or completes a specified number of weeks as a continuation of placement at a later date (where appropriate).

NB: Any request to extend the placement should be made prior to the placement end date. The Liaison Tutor must contact and discuss the situation with the Programme Leader/ITT Partnership Lead and Partnership Manager before a decision can be made, in agreement with school partners. The potential to extend will depend on a number of factors and cannot be guaranteed.

Placement Second Attempts

A student teacher is entitled to a second attempt at a placement phase (e.g., either Phase 1 or Phase 2a or Phase 2b or Phase 3a or Phase 3b) to enable them to successfully achieve LJMU’s ITE Curriculum. The need for a second placement attempt will be indicated by a fail on a Phase Review Form or a terminated placement by the student teacher’s school.

Student teachers offered second attempts will be given clear guidance and the implications and expectations will be communicated clearly to them in writing on behalf of the Director of the School of Education by the ITT Partnership Lead.

A second attempt at a phase of placement takes into account the following circumstances:

  • there is evidence that the student is willing to take on board the comments and guidance from both University tutors and school mentors;
  • the student has not already been granted a previous second attempt opportunity during previous phases of training;

The student teacher MUST note that:

  • it is likely to be complex to secure a placement school for a second attempt. There can be no guarantee that a second placement can be secured immediately, and there may be delays to resuming school experience. This may have financial implications and may mean that the student teacher cannot finish the programme until the subsequent academic year.
  • Student teacher can only be granted ONE placement second attempt over the duration of the Undergraduate or Post Graduate course. Thus, if a second placement attempt is not successfully completed, further progress with LJMU's ITE Curriculum, and thus the QTS element of the programme cannot be made.
  • Student teachers will normally commence the teaching phase of any second attempt at placement with an action plan considered as the first stage of the Structured Support and Intervention Programme required under the 'Additional Support Framework'. This is to give the student teacher the best possible chance of success and to ensure their progress is closely monitored. Schools, in discussion with the Liaison Tutor should decide which stage of the process is most appropriate for each individual Student.

Referral attempts of Phase 3 Placements

A Phase 3 placement referral is normally offered if a Phase 3 Final Review Form indicates that it is required, because the first attempt has failed and the student has not had a second attempt at a phase of placement previously. It is important to note that a referral of a Phase 3 placement can only be decided by the relevant Assessment (Progression) Board and:

  • will usually take place in the next academic year when the placement is scheduled and subject to availability of school places;
  • will not be offered if a previous second attempt has have been offered in earlier phases of training.

It must be noted by programme tutors, Liaison Tutor/Staff, student teachers and partner establishments that there is NO automatic right to a placement REFERRAL if a placement has been terminated by a school, based on serious and documented concerns. In such circumstances the student teacher is likely to be referred to a Fitness to Practice Panel.

NB: If a referral placement results in a failure, then the student teacher will not be allowed a second referral placement. This will result in decisions being made about awarding Alternative Awards or in some circumstances, continuation with academic study (without meeting the ITE Curriculum and thus QTS) by the relevant Assessment (Progression) Board. NB: If students are required to undertake a referral for a placement, which incurs additional cost, they may be obliged to pay a fee prior to the commencement of the placement. Student teachers will need to consult the Partnership Manager about the fees payable.

Students undertaking referral placements will not be able to claim for transport costs.

NB: If a student teacher withdraws themselves from a placement a second attempt/referral placement opportunity may not be offered. Student teachers must follow the procedure outlined below if they are experiencing difficulties in school.

Experiencing Difficulties in School:

Student teachers experiencing difficulties in respect of their school-based entitlement MUST contact the relevant personnel. If issues, raised in the first instance with school-based staff, have not been resolved then student teachers must contact their Liaison Tutor. Liaison Tutors will make contact with the student teacher and with the host school to try to resolve the situation in the best interests of all parties. It is likely that a tutorial will be required.

The University reserves the right to withdraw a student teacher from placement in exceptional circumstances when all efforts have been made to resolve the situation in the best interests of the school and student teacher, but it is considered that the placement cannot provide an appropriate training environment. The ITT Partnership Lead and the Partnership Manager will make the decision and the school will be contacted. Unilateral decisions made by students or by university staff cannot be permitted. Where there is an irretrievable breakdown of a placement, an alternative opportunity will be discussed, and agreed where appropriate, by Senior University staff. This may result in delays, subject to a suitable alternative placement being found.

Schools have the right to immediately terminate a student teacher's placement when there is evidence that professional practice (for example safeguarding; unprofessional behaviour (including on-line); health and safety or detrimental pupil progress) is a serious issue warranting an immediate cessation of the placement. Where a student is asked to leave a school, this is considered a placement fail. The school must clearly document and send to the university the reasons for and evidence supporting their decision. In such circumstances the student teacher will be required to attend a tutorial with the Personal Tutor, ITT Partnership Lead and/or the Programme Leader or equivalent to discuss the issues and this may include an assessment to determine Fitness to Practice. A second attempt or in Phase 3 a referral opportunity MAY be offered following the investigation, subject to a suitable school being found.

Schools should not abruptly terminate any placement as a result of concerns over a student teacher's performance in the classroom. When concerns arise, the placement school should contact the University raising their concerns at the earliest opportunity, and the formal Additional Support Framework and Intervention Action Plan (for student teachers not making expected progress at any stage - in Section A of this website - see menu at top of page) procedure should be put into place. This allows the student teacher an opportunity to address the concerns identified. Where procedures have not been followed by schools, the student teacher may be entitled to a further attempt at the phase of placement.

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