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Dear James - No placement.... advice?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Empress27, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. Empress27

    Empress27 New commenter

    <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><tr><td class="post">I have just completed three years of University doing a BA (HON) in Childhood Education with QTS. Unfortunately during my second year placement I was unable to finish my five week placement due to personal problems. I believed the University would help me to find another placement when they could and that I would be able to graduate at the same time as my other peers. (Due to the advice from my tutor, I ended the placement early). This is where the problems started. I was not allowed to graduate as I had not finished the placement, though when I asked if I could complete it in the summer when the first years had their five weeks placement, I was told I was not allowed, and had to do my five weeks, when my peers did their eight weeks. They simply said it was 'University Policy.'
    So I completed my five weeks the next summer, and was told that the placement office would start looking for me as soon as the University holidays were over. I had been emailing the placement office since September to see what had been happening. Every email I got was 'we don't have any information, we cannot help at this moment.' When I finally called, the woman at the office told me I was going to be very difficult to place as I lived quite far away! This had obviously never bothered them before as they sent me to a two hour journey placement in my five weeks! They asked if I could drive, but as I explained to them, I am a VERY nervous driver, and tend to drive very little, and would be using public transport as much as possible. If I asked if it would be easier for them if I lived with my boyfriend in the same town as the University, I was told, 'Oh, that's good, we can start looking for placements then.' Does this mean that they hadn't bothered before? But this even did no good because she emailed me a couple of weeks later saying that she couldn't place me as it was far too late (!) and she would try again for the Spring or Summer term.
    I understand it is difficult to place so many students, but what if they are unable to place me for either of these next two terms? What happens them? Do I have any rights if this happens? I have also asked if I could graduate with just my BA(HON) but the tutor told me that the University wouldn't allow me unless I gave up my QTS, and I've worked hard for both! Does anyone have any advice for someone going slightly mad and desperate to finish this extra year. (Which ideally would have been finished by Christmas). Thankyou :)
  2. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Can't you sort out your own placement? Contact your local schools to see if they will have you and then if you find one, ask your uni to get their paperwork in place for you as your placement is arranged.

  3. I'm afraid it is a lot more complicated than that. Students cannot simply find themselves a placement. Partnerships have to be in place prior to placement offers.

    Schools do not usually like being approached by students for this purpose and it can damage existing relationships between training providers and schools. I would not recommend this course of action, although I have sympathies for the OP.
  4. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    As the uni is being totally useless, the OP has to be proactive. I would definately make something happen if I were in this position.
  5. Empress27

    Empress27 New commenter

    No, I'm not allowed to find my own placement. I did try that once and I got such a telling off for it! They said it made the University look bad. Hrmph! It's been a week since I emailed and still no reply. I gave them a long list of schools I could easily get to (I know I don't have choice in travelling, and don't mind how far I go) just so I could give them all the help I could. I'm just fed up of lack of communication. I try and try, yet everytime I email I get, 'We will get in touch when we have some news for you.' I wouldn't mind if they could tell me tht each week, but they don't bother. Argh!!
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I think you are asking an awful lot of your university. I know this is your potential career and so it really, really matters to you, but your university is probably struggling to place all the students doing their placements at the usual time, ours certainly is. Placing students out of normal times is extremely hard.

    You may have sent a 'long' list of schools you can get to. But probably those who can or will support students already have them. There aren't generally schools, who would like to have students, sitting about ready and waiting for people such as yourself. Any schools expressing a vague interest are generally snapped up immediately.

    I know that getting this placement is your top priority, but it is unlikely you are the university's top priority. They will have many more pressing things to do that keep emailing you to say 'no news yet'. It is very hard for you and I do sympathise. But all you can do really is keep emailing every few weeks and sit tight.

    You could volunteer in schools or similar to get experience and knowledge while you wait...not ideal, but will help when you come to apply for jobs later.
  7. Empress27

    Empress27 New commenter

    Thankyou for your reply :) Yes, I know I'm not their top priority, and I do understand that they have to place other students first, it's just so irritating. At the moment I'm trying to get a Teaching Assistant job, or as a Cover Supervisor so I'm working in schools, getting as much experience as I can whilst I wait...... but even that is difficult when I tell them I need to have eight weeks off at some point to complete a placement. Who wants to employ someone who will be off for two months? Anyway, I hope to hear from them soon. Thanks for the advice. :)
  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I wouldn't tell them until the end of the interview when they ask if you have anything else to say or ask. By then you should have convinced them that you are by far the very best person for the job and so they may make allowances.
  9. marybon

    marybon New commenter

    I was in the same position as you are in until I had a breakthrough just 2 weeks ago.
    I got a supply T. A work in a lovely school and I asked the deputy head teacher if I could complete my 8 weeks placement with them. She accepted so I'll be starting my placement in January. I feel you need to be an insider to get what you want.
    Wish you the best of luck!
  10. Placements are a very sensitive issue and it is not easy for the university and even harder on the student. It is a question of keeping in touch with them regularly and trying to be a flexible and accommodating as possible. If possible ask for a meeting so that you can explore in person what is happening and make suggestions about possible placements or strategies (e.g. as in getting a TA post and seeing if that could convert to a placement). As for you rights, that will depend on what the university policy and procedures are. You could try contacting the student support unit and ask for their help to iunvestigate your rights or ask the departmnent to outline what the procedure will be and what the possible outcomes are and how these relate to their published policies and procedures.

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