Hi all, have been a great admirer from afar of lots of the fantastic posts on TES that have helped me in my student/teacher based learning. However, I would now really appreciate any thoughts and feedback from yourselves on my current predicament to help me make the right decision going forward. A quick background about me is that I am in my mid-30s and that school didn’t work for me the first time round. I didn’t apply myself as much as I should, and having left school I went on to be a successful builder/landscaper. However, there was something inside that made me want to go and get re-educated and see how far I could go, and I had this vision of going from the back of the class at school – to the front and hopefully a career in teaching. 6/7 years ago I went to night class to get my GCSE’s in Maths, English and Science. This enabled me to have eight C and above grades which I never thought would happen, this led to a full-time Social Science access course which I also passed – and led to me being offered 4 places at University – which I never thought I’d ever get. I took the financial hit and continued to go through those doors that kept opening and I graduated with a 2:1 degree in ‘physical education and the primary years’, I’d never regret doing all this and hopefully will be able to tell any future kids of mine that education is fantastic and a super way of seeing how far you can go. This led to me doing a Primary PGCE for the year 18/19 and this is where it all started getting very tough and difficult – for many reasons. I completed my first placement, even though it was difficult and I found it hard, I then completed my 3 enhanced mini placements which then left only school placement B – so a 50 day placement. I struggled to switch off, I was finding the workload difficult, and I was trying to hold a long distance relationship together at the same time – only 40 miles but long enough and especially when doing the PGCE. It was all coming to a head and was probably going to crash and burn when I got diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I think not being able to switch off from school things at night and just being in a not great place just led it all to a head – where I temporarily got mitigation so I could return to do the School B placement at some point. I had done about 25 days before I mitigated, and I have until March 2021 latest to re-do that placement. I completed the academic assignments all at masters’ standard so literally the only thing to worry about is the placement. I was pro-active and moved in with my girlfriend and got a job as a teaching assistant at a fantastic local school. The head, the staff, the kids and the environment is amazing and thoroughly enjoy being a part of a wonderful little community, and is somewhere where I can take a lot from and get valuable experience. Now I wasn’t going to do my remaining placement this academic year – although I was going to see if I could maybe do it from May to July – although I may not be able to because of COVID. My main issue is that I understand that the DFE are now allowing teaching students scheduled to qualify without having to complete the set required days. I completely understand why – I just am finding it frustrating that my university won’t help support me in this particular way. In no way am I looking for a free ride or pass, I really am not! And if it was based on previous placements then they could recommend me for QTS. I know I wasn’t scheduled to do it as of yet – but there is no guarantee when they could do this, how and all those type of things. My other half is a nurse and is currently in the thick of it on the wards and like everyone – we don’t know when this COVID nightmare will end. I just wish my university were more supportive. If the NQT’s from this year will have more support or a strenuous qualifying year then I think I would benefit from that so much more. In light of everything I’ve done to get to this point, taking and still taking a huge financial hit to try and get there, because obviously I won’t an income for the 50 day placement either, it just cranks up the pressure. Again, I’m not looking for a free pass at all and I know I have a way to develop, hence why I would continue to be a TA for another year to get that experience of teaching and being comfortable and truly believing I can succeed and deserve to be in a wonderful teaching environment. It bugs me how myself and my colleagues are keeping are schools open and providing education and child care so key worker and vulnerable children in these crazy times – which I happily do by the way, but it all counts for nothing according to my Uni, and I get that to a degree. But just feels extremely harsh. If I could get extra provision as an NQT – and still have an income it would make life and paying the bills so much better. It just feels like a kick in the teeth, especially having battled back from anxiety and depression. I’m not a special case and I know there will be many of us out there who have worked or are working hard to combat this. I still believe the Uni could have provided more support for those struggling with those type of issues. I just wanted to know what you all think about the situation. Is it me being silly? Are the University being too harsh? Do I call the Uni’s bluff and try and say I want a placement for Summer 2 term from mid may onwards? I’m just stuck as to what to do – I just find it frustrating. It feels like its coming to an end and that someone from a building background probably shouldn’t have tried this in the first place. Sorry for being down – clearly not the end of the world just sucks a bit. I can only apologise for the essay and rant, I would dearly just love any advice or thoughts from yourselves. Thank you so much for reading and keep safe!