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Placement Issue!

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by hana54, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. hana54

    hana54 New commenter

    Hi I know this is a matter for me to take up with the university, but I was wondering if anybody here has been in a similar situation could offer any advice regarding what routes to take/who to speak to and what my rights are.

    I am entering my final year of my teacher training at university and I am sure you can all appreciate it is a very important and stressful time. I was originally given a local placement close to my home, which of course I was delighted about. My car subsequently broke down, but as I already had my final placement I didn't feel it necessary to inform the university. Unfortunately, over a month later I was informed that this school was no longer available to me. It was not until yesterday that I was made aware of the new placement school. Although the train and bus times add up to just over an hour, It is over an hour and a half away realistically, as the journey also includes a lot of walking. This exceeds the univeristy's policy of 1 and a half hours travel time by public transport (it was originally 1 hour but apparently they changed it, although no students were actually informed of this).

    I have contacted the organiser of the placements, who basically said its none of her concern. I also contacted the head of department, who referred me to someone else. I know for a fact that there are other placement schools easier for me to reach, as very few other students live near me. I feel that it is totally unfair that I not only get a placement 2 months late, but also one that is so far away it adds a good 3 hours on to the school day. Has anyone got any ideas of how I can actually get my concerns taken into account? Sorry this is so long just getting extremely anxious and frustrated with the whole situation!
  2. gandy

    gandy New commenter

    <font size="3">Hi, Unfortually university placements are very difficult and
    complicated process. Having just qualified last year myself, I know the
    feeling. My first placement was approximately an hour and half away, whereas my
    second placement was 30 minutes away. You may think I didn&rsquo;t have it bad, but
    my flat mate who also did my course was placed 2 hours and 15 minutes away
    driving. </font>
    <font face="Calibri">The university said he had no option because he had a car and there weren&rsquo;t
    any other &lsquo;available&rsquo; schools around. It was either go to that school or refer
    the year.</font>
    <font face="Calibri">He even tried I&rsquo;ve sold my car, my car is broken trick etc. but
    because you&rsquo;ve declared you have a car, the further away school is more likely.
    Luckily for him, it was the shorter placement of the two. </font>
    My advice would be keep smiling and let it happen. It&rsquo;s only
    for short term and think about the long term benefit of being qualified and
    having the choice of where you want to teach.</font>

  3. Hi,
    I had this problem at university. I would explain to your uni that you will happily drive if you are given a hire car (they can do this and often have an agreement with a company) Print out the route you would need to take on the bus etc and explain that IF they are on time it'll take you an hour and a half. They cannot expect you to travel that distance as if the train or bus is delayed you will be unable to get to your placement. Also, to get there for 8am (and i was in at 7am on my final placement!) you will need to leave at 7am... you just can't do it! I would speak to the head of the course and the person who arranges the transport and the placement. Explain that you need one nearer you.

    Oh and look up this policy that they have supposedly changed! Because if it hasn't then you can argue that too.

    Hope this helps! x
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I would agree. There isn't a lot else you can do. Life isn't always easy and life isn't always fair. You got the placement when you had a car. It isn't the universities fault you no longer do. It may also not be the universities fault they changed your placement, it could be down to change of staffing in the school.

    I got the bus at 6.20 on my placement having walked 15 mins to get there. And for the course I did, in the dark ages, we had the same school for most of the PGCE year.

    There may well be placement schools nearer to you, but they may not have places available in the year groups or key stages you need. We are a placement school and are having students this term, but if they needed a KS2 placement for their final practice then we couldn't have them, though we do have first placement KS2 places in the summer term.
  5. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    It doesn't matter how near they are to you - if they're not taking trainees in your subject, of if someone's already been offered that place, they're not going to be able to help.
    You didn't. Your placement is due to start soon. The school you had previously been placed in has had a change of circumstances which means a change has had to be made.
    Plenty of people travel that long. Use the time on the train to plan or mark. Maybe you'll get lucky and someone at the school will have spare room you can crash in a few times a week.
    Calm down. You don't know what's gone on in the background and whilst you are justifiably worried about your own placement, there are all sorts of reasons why things have to change. I've pulled out of offering one of our subjects today because of a newly acquired staffing issue. It'll be a pain for the student who thought they were coming, but it's more of a pain to the training provider. You have a right to a placement - they have one for you. That it's awkward is far better than your not having one at all.

  6. Im about to start my pgce. I just realised that i ticked a form saying i have a car, which I do. I so wish I never, as i think i will get lumbered with a school miles away. I know ill get some money to pay for petrol but probably not enough. Plus its likely to put my milage up dramatically.
  7. There's nothing wrong with leaving at that time. I used to do it and now I leave at 6:30 (granted, I still live far away from the school and have yet to move). You just have to do what you can.

    I do agree that expecting someone to travel for an hour and a half to get to a placement is ridiculous, but you may have little luck. Especially if you didn't inform the university you had no car. I'd appeal it and print the journey you'd have to make and see how you get on.
  8. I had huge distances to travel in my second placement during my PGCE, but you just have to do it. 4 of us in a (hire)car had to travel 100 miles a day and to make sure that we didn't hit too much traffic we left our town at 6.30am. None of us whinged; we had a placement school and knew others that didn't for some reason or another.
    When you signed up to do the course your unirversity would have told you that there could be travel involved and to expect to not have leave before 7am is ridiculous. I leave at 6.15 every day, missing traffic and allowing me to work a little in the morning before I start.Over the past few years we have had many students and you can instantly tell those with an attitude about the distance they have been placed. They come across very unprofessionally and we have never employed one of those students ourselves. Damn; I even picked one up every day and changed my travelled schedule to suit her more.
  9. I interviewed at 4 places, and each of them told me to expect a journey time of up to approx. 1.5 hours each way to our placement schools. I just found out my first placement, and that is a 1.5 hour journey away, although as I can't drive and have to rely on public transport, I'll probably end up leaving around 2 hours or more to get there. That's just life.
  10. Placements are difficult and the jigsaw that tutors have to complete is very difficult. School can, and sometimes do, change their mind at a moment's notice. Often there are good reasons for a change e.g. staff illness, maternity, staff leaving etc. There is nothing the university can do. It sometimes means a reshuffle - but even these are difficult. If schools have been told to expect someone then a different person turns up they do find that annoying.
    Work with the provider to seek out solutions.
    Do talk to the provider about your problems, though also do understand that simple moves of trainees cannot always happen.
    Sometimes, when you getto a school you find a member of staff who lives close by - they may offer a lift it does happen.
    Not all providers pay travel - some do.
  11. When I was at Edge Hill they used to pay students 10p a mile and lecturers 20p a mile, I never could get my head around why their cars were supposedly more expensive to run!
  12. Hi there, distance is definately an issue, but you know mine is not just the distance 1.5hr away, is the money too, because it will cost me 15 pounds a day to travel there on top of the normal weekly travel card I have to get for traveling within london. Really not fare!
  13. I see what you did there!
    In this case, it's worth checking with the university whether they will reimburse travel costs. Mine would reimburse anything that was above the usual expense for getting to uni.

  14. It is awful but you have to do it. I'm paying &pound;10-15 a day in petrol to get to my school now that I have a job, and once you take out tax, I'm not actually getting paid any more than I did when I had grants, bursaries and loans as a student. As a teacher I'm afraid it's just something that you have to get used to.
  15. hana54

    hana54 New commenter

    Thank you all your suggestions. I realise this is a ridiculously late reply but it turns out I had no luck changing my placement, had to spend quite a bit of money on travel expenses but in the end it was all worth it as it was the best possible school I could have been at in terms of professional development. Everything works out in the end! :)

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