School placement is an integral element of initial teacher education and is a vital part of learning to be a teacher. Over the course of the two-year PME, you will undertake placement in at least two different schools.
It is your responsibility, once offered a provisional place on the PME course, to make satisfactory arrangements for your school placement in year 1 of the PME. The Department has built strong relationships with many schools and we will support you in the process of finding a placement. Applicants with disabilities should consult the Guidelines for Student Teachers with Disabilities.
You must secure placement in
Schools within 160KM travel distance
from Maynooth. In year 1 of the PME, you will spend two days per week in school from late August until late May (Thursdays and Fridays) and a three-week block placement in January. You will be university-based on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Further details on school placement are available in our
School Placement Booklet
Learning to be a teacher in the post-primary system involves experience both inside and outside the classroom. As part of the school placement, it is expected that you will teach some classes and also participate as fully as possible in the life of the school. As a student teacher, you are expected to co-operate in every reasonable way with the running of the school and to assist with school activities, provided that it does not interfere with your own classes or with your ability to be at Maynooth University for the full day on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You should not be included in the school’s timetable as if you were a qualified teacher. Rather it is expected that you should work with a co-operating teacher (or teachers) to teach some of the classes normally assigned to them.
Securing a school placement can be a challenging process for some student teachers, so please start as early as possible and use any professional or personal contacts you may have. Many schools make decisions relating to school placement during the summer and some school placements are not finalised until the start of the new school year. Please note that schools generally close for holidays during July and August so we recommend that you securing your school placement before the end of June.
It is recommended that you strategically target a small number of schools for your school placement. Applications should be personalised (e.g., use the name of the principal) and show evidence that you have some familiarity with the school context. When contacting a school by telephone, email, letter or in person, you should:
- Indicate that you are an intending student on the PME programme at Maynooth University
- Request a meeting/ interview with the principal or deputy principal to discuss your application
If the principal/ deputy principal invites you to attend the school for interview or requests a meeting, this should be considered as a formal interview for placement. Consequently, you should:
- Dress professionally
- Be familiar with the school context and the recent achievements/ initiatives of the school
- Try to identify ways you could contribute to the life of the school
- Bring the following documentation:-
Letter of Application
to the principal
A CV with
Provide the school with the
Placement Form English
Foirm Shocrúchán Scoile
Be familiar with the location of the school and arrive ahead of time
Upon arrival, call to the school reception, introduce yourself and explain that you are expected by the principal or deputy principal
If you have been accepted by a school where the principal (or nominee) has signed the School Placement Form, you may not subsequently change schools. If you decide at a later date not to accept the place on the PME, you must inform in writing the principal (or nominee) of the school who offered the placement (as well as informing PAC and the Maynooth University Department of Education).
Once you secure a placement and the form has been signed by the school, a scanned copy or photograph of the
Placement Form English
Foirm Shocrúchán Scoile
should be emailed as soon as possible to:
Please ensure that this scan/ photograph is clearly legible. You should retain the original signed copy in a safe place for your own records.
Dates and times
Schools normally re-open in late August. In consultation with the principal or deputy principal, you should be present in the school from the beginning of the school year and attend induction/ orientation meetings, staff meetings and relevant subject meetings.
You should be present in your placement school on Thursdays and Fridays from early September to observe classes and to become familiar with the school prior to beginning to teach.
School placement dates
Your school placement begins in late August and ends in late May. During this time, student teachers are expected to be present in their placement school throughout the school day on Thursdays and Fridays during school terms.
In addition to teaching on Thursdays and Fridays, there will be a 3-week block placement in January.
Following a period of observation until September 25th 2020, you are expected to teach classes on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the academic year, and for five days a week during a period of block teaching in January. In order to facilitate the development of teaching skills, classes should have a minimum of 12 pupils. You should not be allocated classes that may be presenting undue difficulty to established staff. Schools are requested, wherever possible, to accommodate you with the same classes on Thursday and Friday, so that you have an opportunity to get to know the class.
An overview of the teaching requirements is provided in the figure below. In semester 2, you are expected to teach 6 class periods per week and to observe/ team teach an additional 2 class periods with 3rd year students. The purpose of this observation/ team teaching is to enable you to gain an insight into how students are prepared for the State Examinations in June.
The support of co-operating teachers is greatly valued and appreciated by Maynooth University Department of Education. Co-operating teachers will allow you to work alongside or teach some of their classes over the course of the year. You are urged to work closely with co-operating teachers:
- to agree overall schemes of work for a particular class well in advance;
- to keep them informed of progress and/or difficulties;
- to invite them to observe your classes, particularly early in the school year;
- to actively seek out, listen to and act on their advice.
The co-operating teachers who work with you play no formal role in the assessment of school placement. However, the school placement tutors and university tutors will consult with the co-operating teachers and also with the school principal, or other staff members, as appropriate.
Student teachers are visited on a number of occasions during the year by at least two tutors: a placement tutor and a university tutor. Placement visits have a dual focus of supporting and advising you in relation to your practice and assessing your progress against agreed criteria. In this regard, tutors assist you in making realistic appraisals of your own work by focusing on lesson planning, classroom management, teaching and learning strategies, strategies for developing relationships with teaching colleagues and post-lesson evaluations.
Video recording and Data Protection
As part of the PME, you will participate in both video and audio recording in your placement school. Acceptance by a school of a PME student on placement from Maynooth University assumes permission for such recordings. You will be prepared in university to consider the ethical implications of recording your teaching and a protocol is in place to ensure the process is in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
You should teach at least two subjects as part of your school placement. Students with two recognised teaching subjects (double honours degree) must teach classes in their teaching subjects as defined by their final degree subjects. Ideally, you will teach half of the required number of classes in each one of your teaching subjects
Student teachers who have a single honours degree or one recognised teaching subject must teach all, if possible, or almost all of their classes in that subject. The remaining classes may be used to expand their teaching repertoire. This may involve teaching Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE); participation in team teaching; delivering a specific interest module in transition year; or engaging in another interesting initiative that the placement school is promoting.
The following school subjects are supported with specific teaching and learning methodology seminars:
- Irish, English, French, Spanish, German
- Business Studies (Accountancy, Business, Economics)
- Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
- History, Geography, Music, Religion
- Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE)
- Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)
- Computer science
- Politics and Society
During the PME, students are required to take specific courses in the teaching of their subject(s).
The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 provide a legislative basis for the mandatory vetting of persons who wish to undertake certain work or activities relating to children or vulnerable persons or to provide certain services to children or vulnerable persons.
All students who undertake school related practice (school placement) must undergo a vetting process within Maynooth University.
You will be contacted by email when your vetting process begins. This will require you to fill out a Vetting Invitation Form (NVB1) which we will email you. You will then be invited to the department in person to present your completed form and your additional documents. All information regarding the additional documents will be on your Vetting Invitation Form. An Garda Síochána has developed a 100 Point Check in relation to identity documents for guidance purposes and this will be explained in the email we send to you. One piece of identification must include a photo. It is not possible for a family member or friend to present the identity documents: they must be presented in person. Maynooth University will then initiate the Vetting process on your behalf.
Further information regarding Vetting is available here