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Assessing and Recording-Progress

Referral and Leave of Absence/Deferral Procedures

Referral and Deferral are the procedures by which QTS trainees may be given a further opportunity to complete the school-based experiences which are a requirement of their programme, but have not been successfully completed within the normal time-frame.

Requesting Leave of Absence from a programme or Deferral of a Placement

Students requesting Leave of Absence from their Programme should follow standard University procedures available on the University website and should discuss with the relevant Programme Leader.

A request for a deferred placement ONLY, due to personal circumstances, can sometimes be agreed and result in a deferral as indicated below. In such circumstances trainees 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 Leave of Absence or 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: Leave of Absence from a placement will not be granted to offset the trainee failing the placement. Trainees must be aware that there may be implications for submission of Academic work where placement experience is required to support assignments. In such cases, requesting a formal leave of Absence from the programme is advisable.

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 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.

Extended Placements

There are occasions when a trainee 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 trainee requires further time in school in order to see through a Cause for Concern or At Risk action plan to its conclusion. A recommendation can be made that the trainee 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: Request to extend the placement should be made prior to the placement end date, the University 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 Referral

Placement Referrals may be offered where it is felt that a trainee needs a further opportunity to demonstrate the standards at the required level for the programme if they are to progress successfully. A placement referral is normally offered if a trainee does not achieve a threshold Grade 3 pass at the midpoint or end of Phase 2 as well as effectively demonstrating Part 2 of the Teachers’ standards, in spite of intervention. Placement Referrals may also be offered if a trainee does not successfully complete Phase 3, as long as no previous placement referrals have been undertaken. Trainees offered placement referrals will be given clear guidance and advice by their liaison tutor and the ITT Partnership lead and the implications and expectations will be communicated clearly to them in writing. By the Director of the School of Education and ITT Partnership lead.

A placement Referral takes into account the following circumstances:

  • the trainee has been placed ‘at risk’ and has had targets set and has made good attempts to redeem the situation but is not quite at the pass stage;
  • there is evidence that the trainee is willing to take on board the comments and guidance from both University tutors and school mentors;
  • the trainee has not been granted a referral opportunity during previous phases of training;
  • the trainee in question is committed to responding to identified areas of need.

It is important to note that a referral in Phase 3 can normally only be decided by the relevant Assessment (Progression) Board and:

  • will normally take place in the next academic year, when the placement is scheduled and subject to availability of places.
  • will not be offered if a previous referral has been offered in Phase 2.

The trainee MUST note that:

  • trainees can only be granted ONE placement referral over the duration of the Undergraduate or Post Graduate course. Thus, if a referral placement is not successfully completed, further progress on a QTS programme cannot be made.
  • trainees will commence the teaching phase of any referral 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 trainee the best possible chance of success and to ensure their progress is closely monitored. Schools, in discussion with the University Liaison tutor should decide which stage of the process is most appropriate for each individual trainee.

It must be noted by Programme Tutors, University Liaison/Staff, Trainees 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 trainee is likely to be referred to a Fitness to Practice Panel.

NB: If a referral results in a failure, then the trainee 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 QTS) by the relevant Assessment (Progression) Board. NB: If trainees 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. Trainees will need to consult the Partnership Manager about the fees payable.

Trainees will not be able to claim for transport costs.
NB: If a trainee withdraws themselves from a placement a deferral/referral placement opportunity may not be offered. Trainees must follow the procedure outlined below if they are experiencing difficulties in school.

Trainees 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 trainees must contact their University Liaison Tutor. Liaison tutors will make contact with the trainee and with the host school to endeavor 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 Trainee from placement in exceptional circumstances when all efforts have been made to resolve the situation in the best interests of the school and trainee, but it is considered that the placement cannot provide an appropriate training environment.  The ITE Partnership Lead and the Partnership Manager will make the decision and the school will be contacted.  Unilateral decisions made by trainees 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.

Schools have the right to immediately terminate a trainee’s placement when there is evidence that professional practice (for example safeguarding; unprofessional behaviour (including on-line); or health and safety) is a serious issue warranting an immediate cessation of the placement. Where a trainee 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 trainee will be required to attend a tutorial with the Personal Tutor and Programme Leader or equivalent to discuss the issues and this ‘may’ include an assessment to determine Fitness to Practise. A referral opportunity MAY be offered following the investigation.

Schools should not abruptly terminate any placement as a result of concerns over trainee 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 trainees 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, allowing the trainee an opportunity to address the concerns identified. Where procedures have not been followed by schools, the trainee may be entitled to a further placement opportunity.

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