Student teacher placement advice: what you need to know

Student teachers' school placement time in Scotland has been cut as a result of Covid

Henry Hepburn

Teacher training: New student teacher guidance: what you need to know

New guidance on student teacher school placements in Scotland has been released.

This guidance has been jointly produced by education directors' body ADES, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), the Scottish Council of Deans of Education, and the Student Placement Management Group.

Student teacher school placements: new guidance

Here are some of the key points:


  • There is no further reduction to required placement time; at least 40 days (55 per cent of the usual "school-placement experience") across the final two undergraduate years is required  not all in one year  and 50 days (which is also 55 per cent) at least for concurrent undergraduates and postgraduate (PGDE) student teachers.
  • All students require face-to-face class contact as part of their initial teacher education (ITE).
  • All students’ face-to-face teaching must be observed by a university tutor, in person or virtually, as a part of the assessment of professional placement.
  • Assessment and support arrangements will not incur any extra workload demands on "teacher supporters" or schools beyond that normally expected.

Background: Covid ends school placements for student teachers

Quick read: 'Traditional profile of student teachers is changing'

Opinion: How Covid-19 has changed what it means to be an NQT

Covid: Government advised to scrap primary teaching postgrad

Other advice:

  • "Planning should take place to maximise placement time before the Easter holiday, subject to the unfolding Covid-19 context".
  • Remote teaching will also "contribute to a student teacher’s overall school placement experience".
  • Year 4 and postgraduate (PGDE) students are the highest priority for school placements.
  • If, through no fault of their own, a student cannot meet the 55 per cent requirement for school-placement classroom experience, an "extension placement" will be required in autumn 2021 (financial support for this period "will be outlined separately").
  • "Non-face-to-face teaching" – at most, 45 per cent of placement time where direct classroom experience is not available – will entail online learning and "peer micro-teaching".
  • Staff who work in education in Scotland can access a Covid test even if they do not have symptoms, by clicking here.
  • During 2020-21, one assessment of a student teacher’s practice is required, through in-person or virtual observation; observation must be of a student teacher’s "in-person" classroom teaching, but the observation itself might take place virtually.
  • To relieve pressure on the system in 2021-22 cohort, student teacher placements should not be planned before October 2021.
  • Despite Covid restrictions, student teachers will be permitted to cross local authority boundaries for school placements.
  • Student teachers are not classed as key workers so there is no guarantee of school places for their own children.
  • Although fourth-year dental students will have to repeat a year, this "is not envisaged for student teachers".

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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