What’s happening with placements?

Andrea ChesterLeave a Comment

In this post I want to share with you details about placement for students in our Education and ECE disciplines.

We made a decision early in the COVID-19 outbreak to pause placements across all our SoEd programs. We did this to ensure the health and safety of our students as well as support our partners. Given the swift progression of C19 and the physical distancing measures that were implemented, it was the right call.

Since then Mel and the Associate Deans have undertaken the complicated job of negotiating with regulatory bodies to secure a sensible way forward to enable our final year students to graduate this year. Jenelle and her team have been ever-agile in supporting this approach.

Below is a summary for our two disciplines.

Education
The Victorian Institute of teaching (VIT, our accrediting body and the authority that registers Victorian teachers) reached an agreement with Minister Merlino to reduce the number of days for final year ITE students in 2020 by 25%.  

Undergrad programs – reduced to a minimum of 60 days (from 80)
Post-grad programs – reduced to a minimum of 45 days (from 60)

The full details are available here: https://www.vit.vic.edu.au/news/news/2020/helping-pre-service-teachers-and-ite-providers-during-covid-19

All our ITE programs are structured to exceed the minimum number of placement days. As a result all but a handful of our graduating students have already met their placement requirements. This is a great outcome. Our final year students do not have the challenge of making up placement days and we are not stressing the sector for additional placements during their return to classrooms.

VIT also agreed to flexibility around the teaching performance assessment (TPA), mandatory for all final year students. These students can complete the TPA in a remote and/or online learning context/ environment. Alison L and Mel have been working closely with our consortium, the GTPA, to develop effective ways students can complete the TPA without needing to be on placement. It has been a great benefit to be working with such a strong and well-organised consortium on this and Alison and Mel have been key players.

Early Childhood Education
The Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), who accredits both ECE programs and ECE centres, also reduced the number of placement days for final year ECE students in 2020.

Undergrad programs – reduced to a minimum of 30 days, including a minimum of 10 days with children aged birth to under 3 years old. 
Post-grad programs – reduced to a minimum of 20 days, including a minimum of 10 days with children aged birth to under 3 years old.

The full details are available here: https://www.acecqa.gov.au/covid-19/modifications-supervised-professional-experience-requirements

This is also a good outcome, particularly for our students due to graduate mid-year. The final piece of the puzzle, only resolved late last week, was confirmation that our international students still need to accrue a minimum of 45 placement days for visa requirements. These students do have some placements days to complete in order to graduate and Jenelle and her team have been prioritising placements for this cohort.

Will our final year students be well prepared?
We do appreciate our graduating students may be disappointed and/or nervous about a reduction in placement days. I know how valuable placements are to our students’ learning. We are therefore planning additional PL workshops to help our graduating cohort prepare for work and life after graduation. If you would like to be involved in these sessions please let Mel know.

VIT have also assured us they are putting in place additional supports for provisionally registered teachers in 2021 to ensure their smooth transition to the profession.

A very big thank you to the well-coordinated team who have worked so hard behind the scenes to reach such a positive solution – Mel, Jayne, Kath, Jenelle and Tammy as well as your teams including the PMs. Like the proverbial duck paddling hard under the water, you have all done an impressive job to deliver a good outcome, all the while gliding forward.

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