The term “school placement” replaces the term “teaching practice” as it more accurately reflects the range of teaching and non-teaching activities involved. It is a critical part of initial teacher education (ITE) as it enables the student teacher to experience teaching and learning in a variety of contexts, and to participate in school life in a way that is structured and supported.
- Since 2012/2013, all undergraduate programmes of initial teacher education are now at least four years in duration.
- From 2014, all postgraduate programmes of initial teacher education are two years in duration.
- Typically, a student teacher will spend in the region of 20 weeks in schools over the course of those programmes.
- In all cases, the second half of the programme must include one 10-week block placement.
The Teaching Council's Guidelines on School Placement provide a structure for the school placement and are aimed at promoting collaboration and balance of responsibility between programme providers and schools. They contain useful information in relation to the duration, structure and timing of the placement, the settings and activities which are appropriate and the roles of all the key stakeholders. A quick reference guide for schools has also been produced.
A template policy is available for schools which may assist school management authorities. It is important to note, however, that the contents of this template are not in any sense intended to be prescriptive. It is the responsibility of each school management authority (in consultation with teachers, parents and learners) to devise a policy appropriate to their school’s own particular circumstances, in the context of schools and the teaching profession engaging in the process of teacher education, in partnership with the HEIs.