Education placement FAQs for coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for Sheffield Institute of Education students

Updated 22 January 2021

This information complements communications shared directly with students via email and on course BlackBoard sites.

The situation around coronavirus, as you will be aware, is a constantly changing picture. There are a number senior staff groups across the university which are focused on university activity for both staff and students in relation to this, and they are updating the college on a daily basis. The groups are being informed by the national guidance from the Department of Education, Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England. Students can find this updated guidance on MyHallam

Useful Information: 

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) - Public Health England advice 

Please read and follow this advice from Public Health England 

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) - Sheffield Hallam University Advice  

Whilst on placement students are advised to follow the placement provider's policies and guidelines in line with local risk assessments. Students with any concerns should seek guidance and support from their Academic adviser or Course Leader. 

All students on placement

If you have a genuine emergency outside normal university working hours, you can use the emergency central number on +44 (0)114 225 8888. 

This site has been developed to provide easily accessible information about supervision, support, assessment and all the placement processes for both students and educators.

Frequently Asked Questions for students:

Will there be placements this year?

Sheffield Institute of Education has worked with all their partners to ensure that there will be planned placements opportunities for 2020/21. Some of these may take place slightly later than normal to allow schools to return to their new normal. Note: Any of these plans will be subject to local and national Government guidelines at the time.

What should I do about Initial Teacher Education placements if I am Critically Vulnerable (CV) or Critically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV)?

During this period of National Lockdown in line with government guidance, students identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) should work from home. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may have been advised to shield in the past. If you are CEV, you should contact your Course Leader or Academic Advisor or and / or Student Support Advisor to discuss your opportunities for training.

Clinically Vulnerable trainees should follow government advice and follow social distancing advice to reduce your chances of catching or spreading the virus. As critical workers in an educational setting government guidance states that you can go into the workplace. You are advised to undertake an additional risk assessment with your placement setting and contact your Course Leader, Academic Advisor or and / or Student Support Advisor to discuss any particular anxieties and concerns.

What about implications for Department of Education compliance on QTS Courses?

In light of Covid-19, the Department of Education had amended the ITT criteria and the latest version can be found on gov.uk.

What happens about placement in January 2021?

As a result of the Governments' announcement of a national lockdown until at least February Half Term 2021, we are working in line with Government guidance that states 'Those students who are undertaking training and study for the following courses should return face to face learning as planned : Education (initial teacher training)'.

Therefore, all planned placement activity will continue in a blended form. More details of the plans for this course will be emailed out via Course Leaders. In the meantime, please stay engaged with your placement school as much as is possible. Feedback from schools over the last year has been extremely positive about the role that trainee teachers have played in supporting children and young people through their education and general well-being.

Does my critical worker status as an ITE trainee entitle me to a school place for my children?

Yes. However, DfE guidance also sets out that parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can. Please contact your Course Leader if you require a letter to evidence your critical worker status.

What can I do if I do not have an appropriate space at home to conduct on-line teaching?

ITE students are now able to book space in teaching rooms on campus to do online synchronous teaching. Space can be booked through the Resource Booker system. Please select the option 'For Synchronous Teaching/Teaching Preparation' to book the appropriate room as shown in the image below:

Synchronous teaching/Teaching preparation resource booker room selection

Please be aware that there are a limited number of rooms available for this. Therefore, rooms can only be booked for 1 person and not for group work of any kind and it can only be for your teaching delivery. You must have confirmation from Resource Booker before entering the building. For self-study you should use the learning centre.

Frequently asked questions for schools and other settings:

Will Sheffield Hallam be routinely physically visiting students on placement? 

Department of Education guidance for full opening of schools was updated on 30th December 2020 and states that ‘school leaders will want to consider how to minimise the number of visitors to the school where possible.’ The DfE also states 'We strongly encourage schools to consider hosting ITT trainees.’ ITT trainees are included in the definition of a critical worker. ITT mentors and tutors are considered visitors to a school and are not critical workers.

In light of the above and through consultation with partners for at least Semester 1 placement activity, the Sheffield Hallam University partnership model of quality assurance and support aims to minimise the number of visitors to a school, and as such will be undertaken remotely. This will be kept under close review and will be guided by responses from Department for Education and Public Health England.

Will it be possible for a member of Sheffield Hallam staff to visit the school if needed? 

If all involved with the placement deem a physical visit is needed, then local risk assessment procedures will be followed.

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