There will be two school placements during the course totalling at least 120 days in school, representing approximately two-thirds of the course. All schools in our partnership are secondary comprehensive schools, and your two placements will cover the full secondary school age range (11-18).
The longer first placement normally runs from September until April and the shorter second placement from April until the end of June. This long first placement allows you to become thoroughly established in this school and experience what it means to be a teacher. You will be in school two days a week and in University for three days. We call these joint (J) weeks, and these allow school experiences and university sessions to be fully integrated. From November your time in school increases to three days a week as you begin to take on more teaching responsibilities.
From January you will be in school full time and we call these school (S) weeks. Just over half of your time in school each week will be spent teaching, with the rest of the time being available to meet your subject mentor, to plan lessons, to observe experienced teachers, and to carry out other investigations to develop your teaching. You will also be in school full-time for the second placement, and this will be an opportunity to enhance the teaching approaches you have developed in a new and often quite different context. There is a week in February and another in April/May when you return full time to the University.
Our 36 partnership schools are located throughout Oxfordshire, with a few over the county borders, and the average distance from the department to a school is 15 miles. You are asked to budget £720 for the PGCE year for placement travel costs.
We take account of your prior experiences and logistical requirements, such as where you are living and any childcare or caring responsibilities, when deciding on your first placement school. We add in to these considerations your experience so far on the course and the developmental priorities that have emerged when deciding on your second placement.