QMU School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management - Shared Statement for Students on all ITE programmes

Shared Statement for Students on all ITE programmes

Over the past six months the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected us all and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We recognise that this challenging situation means that life is not normal and has an impact on the pedagogical approaches of all schools and universities.

The ITE Staff at QMU are working hard to provide you with high-quality risk-assessed learning experiences that will enable you to both pass your course and also be ready to rise to the exciting and varied professional challenges you will encounter during placements.

We are in frequent and ongoing national discussions with the GTCS, Local Authorities and national bodies to ensure that we are following the national strategy. As national and local guidance changes, there may be changes to how your courses and your programme operate this year. We will communicate any changes clearly when this happens.

In response to Coronavirus every school is following the Safe Operating guidance issued by Scottish Government (including risk assessment and enhanced hygiene and cleaning arrangements). To continue to ensure your own health and safety as well as those of the staff and pupils you will work alongside you must follow all the relevant local and national guidance.

In particular you should:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the guidance and procedures issued by the Scottish Government, specifically: ([broken link]); the interactive tool for students used alongside the guidance Easy Read formats.

  2. Familiarise yourself with the guidance and procedures issued by the school and Local Authority in which you undertake placement. We are working with our partner schools to ensure you are briefed on school and Local Authority procedures at the start of your placement

  3. In advance of your placement (for QMU) you should complete a Covid-age risk assessment, submit it to the designated area on the HUB, and if you are categorised as high-risk you would not be required to go on placement, and we would discuss alternative arrangements with you.

  4. You will also be required to undertake a local risk assessment at the school before the start of your placement. You then complete a signed checklist to inform us that you have complied with regulations at school. This will need to be done after reading the local risk assessment for the school and in discussion with the School’s Covid Lead. This checklist will confirm to us that you fully understand the local risk management arrangement and should be submitted to the university via the relevant page on the HUB.

  5. We ask that you download NHS Scotland’s free Protect Scotland app.

Approach to Assessment for School Experience Semester 1 2020-21

In consultation with our partner Local Authorities, and in line with national guidance, University Tutors will not currently make in person visits to schools. This decision reflects our efforts to relieve pressure on the school system as a whole. It also recognises that in the current context visitors and other professionals are not able to visit schools, as they normally would, because of the restrictions in place. In addition, in most Local Authorities staff meetings are likely to be fully online and staff are unable (or severely restricted) to meet in person on school premises for planning discussions. This does vary between schools/LAs. This approach to assessment:

  • minimises risk of transmission and disruption from localised restrictions or lockdowns or self-isolation

  • considers the wellbeing and safety of our students and staff

  • enables us to work in partnership, to be proactive in our planning and ensure we are able to offer alternative approaches to assessment which are robust and fair.

This decision sits within the scope outlined in the Joint Agreement (ADES/GTCS/SCDE/SPMG) Covid-19 Guidance for Student Teacher Placements.

Placements will still be assessed, and University Tutors will continue to lead the process, working in partnership with school-based educators. Working within the framework of the Taught Assessment Regulations, and the requirements of the GTCS, individual programmes will be able to tailor the approach to assessing school experiences to take into consideration placement structures and local circumstances.

The overarching principles informing our approach include:

  • University Tutors remain core to the assessment process, although this will be done via alternative approaches.

  • Schools/supporting teachers are not being asked or expected to undertake any additional responsibility for the assessment of student teachers.

  • There will be no overall increase in workload for school staff as a result of this process.

  • Assessment is conducted in partnership and remains an essential component of the process.

  • As far as possible the approaches taken will build on the processes already embedded into the placement structure.

  • As is already the case, a clear process for early identification of any emerging issues or potential cause for concern is established.

  • If a cause for concern is raised and, through dialogue between school and university, an exceptional case may need to be made for an on-site visit. This should be possible if safe to do so and in agreement with both school and University.

A detailed overview of the specific approach to assessment for your next placement will be outlined in the relevant handbook and/or HUB pages and will be clearly communicated to all students. We intend to hold Q & A sessions nearer to the commencement of placements but will continue to share information with you at relevant points in the year.

Please contact your Programme Leader or Geetha Marcus, Academic Lead for Placements, should you have any queries or concerns about this document.

Dr Geetha Marcus
Senior Lecturer, PSE

Academic Lead for Placements