1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Can you challenge the school you are assigned to on placement?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by oblomov, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. I'm doing a primary PGDE at the moment and I live in Glasgow. Of approximately 120 students less than 5 of us have been told our next placement will be in a village that is at least 1 hour 20 minutes away from our places of residence by public transport. None of us own a car, so we are expected to travel by train, bus (AND on foot for 20 minutes) to our placement school. The journey would take approximately 35 minutes by car.
    I feel this is incredibly unfair when everyone else has been placed no more than about 30 minutes from where they live. Not only is relying on public transport in this country stressful enough as it is, it also hugely restricts the amount of planning and preparation time we'll have for our classes as we'll be in transit for such a long time. My first placement went well and I received a very positive report from my school, yet I feel the university is now jeopardising my chances of successfully completing the course with this arbitrary decision.
    If this topic belongs in another part of the forum then I apologise, but any advice regarding any steps I can take would be greatly appreciated as I am really upset about this, gutted actually.
    Thanks.
     
  2. I'm doing a primary PGDE at the moment and I live in Glasgow. Of approximately 120 students less than 5 of us have been told our next placement will be in a village that is at least 1 hour 20 minutes away from our places of residence by public transport. None of us own a car, so we are expected to travel by train, bus (AND on foot for 20 minutes) to our placement school. The journey would take approximately 35 minutes by car.
    I feel this is incredibly unfair when everyone else has been placed no more than about 30 minutes from where they live. Not only is relying on public transport in this country stressful enough as it is, it also hugely restricts the amount of planning and preparation time we'll have for our classes as we'll be in transit for such a long time. My first placement went well and I received a very positive report from my school, yet I feel the university is now jeopardising my chances of successfully completing the course with this arbitrary decision.
    If this topic belongs in another part of the forum then I apologise, but any advice regarding any steps I can take would be greatly appreciated as I am really upset about this, gutted actually.
    Thanks.
     
  3. No need to apologise about posting on the wrong forum, we all do it at some stage. And really, there is no 'wrong' forum, but over on Student Teachers, James gives some brilliant advice. I'm not sure if there is an expert on the Scotland Student Teachers forum, but James can still advise you about the best course of action.
    Personally I would say that is a bit unreasonable. My uni offers transport (usually a taxi if you can't drive) to placement if it is outside a certain post code region. It would appear from other posts though that long distance is becoming more and more common.
    Hope you find a resolution soon, and good luck in the rest of your course.
    JSY x
     
  4. I got a school for a placement where the teachers had been described by Ofsted as "can't be bothered, uncaring and generally bored". When I arrived there, I got the same impression, so I refused to accept the placement. It meant I had to do another placement later on in the year, and so finished my PGCE late, but I still got a job in an outstanding school for September. If that helps..
     
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I do understand your frustration at having to spend large amounts of time in transit. But you're not alone, out of the 2 'local' Unis, most students who have TPs in my county have to find temporary lodgings for their TPs as transport is so difficult & time consuming & even then, most will have, on average a 25 mins commute to their school!
    When I studied in S London, most of us travelled far & wide right across London even into outlying counties. Even with good London Transport, South London to Manor Park & Finchingfield in North London or even Essex in one case took most of us ages + the cost!
    Think of any advantages; an opportunity to see how a small village school works- very different e g small Primaries often have mixed age classes & this impacts enormously on learning & preparation. Will look good on your future job application. a small school may not have such serious discipline issues to contend with so you may be able to spend more of your time actually teaching & honing your teaching skills.
    But if it wasn't you it would have to be someone else. There just aren't enough spaces to provide all students with local placements without constantly disrupting children's education by having a continual succession of students!
    Teachers often travel quite a distance when they actually start a job, teaching & living near one's students isn't always a good idea, so think of it as preparation for the future.


     
  6. I wouldn't call 25 mins a "commute"... more like "round the corner!" :D

    Yes, others would have to take that placement. How about giving it to people who can drive? I couldn't drive (no license) when I trained, so I had priority in the local area. They went as far to extremes as I could reasonably travel by public transport, but never asked more than I was able to give.

    Otherwise, I feel, a university is not giving the students what they should. Training and having a job are two very different things. I work an hour away, but I can drive now!
     
  7. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Point taken NewStrings! I was thinking more in terms of walk/bus/ walk as very few schools in my (rural) area have bus stops right outside.
     
  8. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    If the placement is too far away to be viable on public transport (and bearing in mind that you may well need to be at school before 8am, thus needing to set off around 6- can you?) and you can't drive, would the university be willing to fund accommodation for you nearer the placement?
    This happened on my PGCE, where a few of us needed particular key stage experience combined with particular languages, and we had to go to the university's furthest school- three hours' drive from where I lived at the time! Luckily as it was unavoidable, the university did pay rent on a house for us to share in the town of the placement. Otherwise we'd have been in the untenable situation of having to pay two sets of bills, or of having a three-hour commute each way (on a good day with a following wind)!
    Incidentally, I would strongly recommend getting your driving licence as soon as you can. Having witnessed it, I know for a fact that sharing lifts or using public transport, even for a reasonable commute, is quite a compromise and not ideal at all. A car is a real blessing, especially when you have a late parents' evening or a load of marking to transport.
     
  9. roddywoomble

    roddywoomble New commenter

    I'm in the same boat. 1 hr 30 min bus to placement, setting off at 6:30 every morning. It really restricts what I can get done on the night and I can only get about 5 hrs sleep a night. Some people can walk to their school from their accommodation. It really is so unfair.
     
  10. I remember having some placements which were a long way from uni when I did my degree in south west London. There were approximately 350 students per year on the BA QTS course, so 1050 placements to be found for all of them each year, plus all the universitys many PGCE students.
    The school partnership office was VERY busy, and did not have the time or resources to properly match students and placements. We were asked to fill in forms stating a preference of year groups, school locations etc, and I do not know of any student who ever got a placement which matched their form!
    My own second year pacement (which I had to stick with all year) was a good 1hr 40 commute, even with the convienience of London's public transport. I did have a car with me at Uni, but it is not practical to drive across central London each day (and restrictively expensive) so I had to use the bus/tube/walk.
    It was tough, and it made a difficult placement year all the harder, but I stuck with it because ultimately, I wanetd to be a teacher and this was what I needed to do to get my qualification. I know lots of others who had similar situations, and also lots of people who were waiting weeks to get a placement sorted... Complaining / asking for a switch was not an option as the response was to simply reallocate the placement to somebody who did not have one, and then leave you waiting weeks for a new one, which may not be any more comvenient anyway!
    I suppose you could try speaking to your partnership office, but you should be prepared to be told to put up with it!
    The school will almost certainly enhance your CV, as you will have experience in a variety of settings, and the placement is only for a short time - we're talking a matter of months here. Teaching jobs are REALLY oversubscribed at the moment, and the I suppose best way of looking at the suituation is to say anything you can do to improve your chances is a bonus.
    Also bear in mind that lots of poeple may be doing placements and also working part time in the evenings/looking after a family. Many of them will still excel in their courses despite this, and you should not expect to perform poorly/less well than you did before because of a long commute! I often sit on the tube marking a couple of books/sketching out ideas for lessons etc I think of it as a way of saving time at home!
     
  11. The same happened to me when I was studying for my PGDE in Glasgow. I called the office that arranged the placements, explained I didn't have a car and they changed my school. Have you called them regarding the issue?
     
  12. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    My main placement, 15 years ago now, was a similar length commute, involving 2 buses and a walk. I think I just got on with it. Wouldn't have entered my head to object. Yes a 10 min journey would have been easier, but hey ho...life isn't always fair!
     
  13. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    On one of my placements we were supplied a minibus that took us from ManchesterUni out towards Glossop for a few schools in that area. It meant I got to school at quarter to 9 and got picked up at half past 3 every day - no time to set up before school or have discussions with staff after school.A quick chat with my personal tutor and she arranged for me to take the train instead and get reimbursed for costs.
    I know my situation is backwards to yours but you may find a solution if you chat with your tutors.
     
  14. clangercrazy

    clangercrazy New commenter

    I don't think this is anything new, but I sympathise hugely with you. When I did my PGCE(just over 5 years ago) our first placement was a paired placement and both me and person I was paired with were placed miles away. We had to take 3 buses to get there and 3 buses back. It took at least an hour and a half and we rarely arrived earlier than 8:20am. Even by train we would have had to take a bus, a train then another bus. It was an absolute pain in the you know what.....however, we survived and had a positive and successful placement. Much of this was due to the understanding of the staff at the school they completely sympathised and understood it was ahrd for us and made sure we weren't panicking about arriving early etc.
    We complained to uni, they said there was nothing they could do, as they said we should expect to travel for up to an hour and a half, and thats how far the reckoned it was.
    Do complain though, on form evaluations etc, as if enough people do it, it may make a difference. Also, talk to the school and let them know the situation you are in. If they are a good caring school they will do everything they can to help.
     
  15. Dear all,
    Thanks for the replies (even those who think I am being a whinging git!), of course I understand that if it was not me going to this place it would be someone else, and if it couldn't be helped then I wouldn't be so peeved about it - it's the fact that the uni KNOW who has a car (they ask us about this pre-course) yet despite their protestations cleary haven't bothered taking this into account when placing students. For example, 2 schools, one driver, one non-driver. For the driver it is either a 5 minute or a 30 minute commute home-to-school, for the non-driver (me) it's either a 45 minute or 90 minute commute. Surely in the interests of fairness in such a situation I should be given the school 45 minutes away and he the school I have been assigned to, only 30 minutes by car? This poorly explained and real example of the discrepancies in commuting times is what has riled me, not just a 'woe is me' attitude.
    In my own case I have been very fortunate in bumping into a fellow student who was also placed in a small town miles from their home, where it just so happens relatives of mine live. Reluctantly the university/schools have agreed to us switching placements, probably to shut me up. The university has asked us to 'be discreet' about the switch because they don't want anyone else requesting a switch! It's indicative of their attitude and organisational abilities, they seem to know they have sold a not insignificant number of students short but don't wish to face up to their own shortcomings.
    For me, getting a driving licence/travelling huge distances for work is not appealing at all even when I re-enter the real world - it's very much have passport will travel in my case, a little less stress and a lot more sun than Scotland! Thanks again everyone for your advice and encouragement :)
     

Share This Page