Coronavirus: Placements ended for student teachers

All school placements cut short from today as regulatory body attempts to ‘reduce the burden on schools and teachers’
16th March 2020, 9:29pm

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Coronavirus: Placements ended for student teachers

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/coronavirus-placements-ended-student-teachers
Coronavirus: Placements Ended For Student Teachers

Student teachers’ school placements in Scotland have been cut short as of today in response to the coronavirus outbreak - but they will still be eligible to graduate if they can show sufficient progress to this point.

In a statement released on the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) website this evening, the decision is explained as an attempt “to provide clarity and consistency to students, and to reduce the burden on schools and teachers”.

A separate statement has also been released by the GTCS, in an attempt to allay probationer teachers’ anxiety about the impact of Covid-19 on their induction period.


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First minister Nicola Sturgeon, along with chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood and health secretary Jeane Freeman, held two briefings on coronavirus today, in which she reiterated that it was yet not the right time for mass closures of schools.

However, at around the time of the second briefing, held shortly after 5pm, the GTCS and the Scottish Council of Deans of Education - which represents initial teacher education (ITE) universities - published “contingency plans” for student placements.

Their joint statement says that “alternative methods of programme delivery” had been “designed to provide clarity and consistency to students, and to reduce the burden on schools and teachers”.

All ITE placements in schools “will end as of today...and for the remainder of this academic session 2019-20”, which “includes placements for all undergraduate and postgraduate students in all years of their ITE programmes”.

Postgraduate or master’s students will now be “assessed on professional practice undertaken to date, drawing on all available evidence”, while the progress of final-year undergraduate students will also be judged on whether they have “satisfactorily completed professional practice undertaken to date”.

Credits will therefore be awarded in such a way that student teachers will still be eligible to graduate if they can show they have made sufficient progress up to now.

Others may have to go on placement again, however, with the statement also advising what will happen in the cases of students who have not made enough progress.

“Each ITE provider will identify any students whose performance requires them at this stage to undertake a retrieval placement next session,” it says. “ITE providers will inform those students of this decision as soon as possible.”

Undergraduate students who are in the first three years of four-year courses will not attend school placements for the rest of 2019-20, but will be expected to take on extra placement time in subsequent years. 

The statement also advises that in “areas where students have been unable to complete an on campus, taught programme, ITE providers are committed to offering online teaching as a replacement”.

The separate advice for probationers notes that those on the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) or Flexible Route are required to complete 190 days and 270 days respectively as a probationary period.

However, the statement reads: “Due to the unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves, GTC Scotland has revised this minimum requirement for this year only to ensure probationers are not disadvantaged by any absence or potential school closure as a result of the impact of covid-19.

“GTC Scotland’s current position is that we will accept 140 satisfactorily completed days for Teacher Induction Scheme probationers and 200 satisfactorily completed days for Flexible Route probationers. Please note that it may be necessary to review these figures should circumstances change significantly in the coming weeks and months.”

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