Students sitting at desks in a Science classroom


What is placement?

School placements are an integral part of the learning experience when completing the PGDE. It gives you the opportunity to make connections between on-campus learning, academic reading and practical experience in schools. Placement mainly involves observing, assisting and teaching in classes. 

During placement you're supported by experienced classroom practitioners and gain an insight into the complexities of the teacher's role. You're guided through planning, assessing and evaluating lessons and encouraged to become self-regulated learners who have a  good understanding of the importance of career-long professional learning. 

Students on the PGDE Primary Education course complete four blocks of placement split across three establishments (1 nursery and 2 schools):

  • Block 1: Nursery - (2 weeks) 
  • Block 2: Primary 1-3 (6 weeks)
  • Block 3: Primary 4-7 (5 weeks)
  • Block 4: Primary 4-7 (5 weeks)

Students on the PGDE Secondary courses also complete four blocks of placement but this is split across two establishments. 

  • Block 1: School 1 (2 weeks) 
  • Block 2: School 1 (6 weeks)
  • Block 3: School 2 (5 weeks)
  • Block 4: School 2 (5 weeks)

“Putting theory into practice and feeling more confident as the placements have progressed has been a very rewarding experience,” 
Andrew Cutler, Maths

How am I placed?

Placements are allocated through the Student Placement System (SPS), normally within the 9 West Partnership local authorities. This system is used nationally for ensuring that student teachers, throughout Scotland, have access to school experience. SPS is automated and is administered by GTC Scotland and works on the principle of matching students to schools, based on the information provided by universities, local authorities and schools.

You should not normally be required to travel in excess of 90 minutes each way to your school placement, from your stated address. All placements are arranged via SPS, you are not permitted to seek placements independently.

 What is expected of me while on placement?

You must attend your placement school throughout the full working day. You must also attend school on staff in-service days, unless told otherwise by your school.

You will be expected to undertake a series of tasks during placement as well as, increasingly, take responsibility for teaching, under the supervision of school staff.  The tasks will encourage you to draw on the in-faculty components of the programme, relating principles and practice within a relevant context.

Schools look for a variety of characteristics, and will use the Standards for Initial Teacher Registration for assessment purposes, but it is fair to say that schools look for students who are enthusiastic, confident, hard-working, experimental, willing to listen and respectful; in addition, a little humility – in the best possible sense – goes a long way too!

How am I assessed while on placement?

You are continually assessed while on placement and must keep a portfolio of progress. This placement file will form part of the evidence of your meeting the Standards for Provisional Registration and prepares you for the continuation of professional development during your professional teaching career.