Central to the BEd and PMEd programme is school placement.  Over the four year programme, students will spend over 30 weeks in school or educational settings.  In Year 4, students will be placed in schools for placements of up to 10 weeks in length.
The publication of the Policy on the Continuum of Teacher Education (Teaching Council, 2011) highlights a new set of relationships between schools and teacher education providers, calling, as it does, for new and innovative models of school placement to be developed using a partnership approach.  Such innovative approaches will pose a number of challenges for all the partners involved.  These include structural, philosophical, financial, programmatic challenges.  A key structural challenge noted in the policy is that of extended school placement periods.  This proposed development is in line with a growing emphasis internationally on school placement/practice as a core element of teacher preparation.  This will enable students to engage with a broader school experience and provide students with opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge and develop skills in planning, implementing and evaluating teaching and learning.  The essential function of school placement according to Burke (1993, p.107) “is that the student begins to see, experience and understand the teaching situation and the teaching process”.  The expectation is that over the course of the four-year degree, placement learning will provide students with important perspectives and contexts through which educational theory and practice may be viewed.  Students will be encouraged to record, and reflect upon, their perspectives by documenting their experiences through a variety of tasks which will integrate theory and practice.