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Preparing for your Complementary School Placement

Schools within the Partnership are free to decide whether to be Homeschools, Complementary Schools, or both.  They are also free to decide which subject areas to offer to the Partnership each year. 

In principle, the Complementary School should complement the Homeschool experience by building on the foundations laid in the Homeschool and providing progression in professional development for each individual. In making decisions about individual placements, University tutors have to work with the school placements that are available to the Partnership. Tutors, in consultation with the Director of Studies, will thus be responsible for the final allocation of Complementary School placements.  In identifying a Complementary School placement for each individual, the following factors will apply:

  • the age range of the pupils, (i.e. age designation 4-11, 7-13, 11-16, 11-18, 13-18 etc);
  • school status, size, nature, organisation and philosophy.
  • nature of pupil intake;
  • whether mixed or single sex.

Where possible we will try to ensure your Complementary School placement is geographically close to your Homeschool, although it must be noted that this will not always be possible. The identification of who will go to particular Complementary Schools will not be confirmed until the beginning of Semester 2. This will enable us to take account of the availability of placements, an individual's developmental needs and the experience available in particular Complementary Schools. 

During the first two weeks of Semester 2 the Director of Studies will contact Complementary Schools about individuals who will be taking up the placements. You will be contacted about your Complementary School placement once schools have been informed. You should not contact Complementary Schools until you have been informed of your placement by the PGCE office.

Allocation of your Complementary School placement

During the latter part of Semester 1 there will be the opportunity for an informal discussion about your Complementary school placement with your SD tutor. This will be done so as to find the best match between your own developmental needs and the nature of the school. The complex process of finalising Complementary school placements will not be completed until the end of week 17, and you will be informed of your placement details after that time.

The Complementary School will be notified of your name and main teaching subject in the same period. Once you have been given details of the school you need to write to the school providing information about yourself prior to your arrival. You should write a letter of introduction to the Headteacher of your Complementary School.  The structure of your letter can be discussed with your SD tutor.  The letter you write should not require a reply from the Heachteacher.

For help with writing the letter please see the appropriate Moodle page.

Key Personnel

Professional Tutor (Complementary School)

  • manages the PGCE programme within the Complementary School, involving the support, coordination, monitoring and assessment of your work across the school through liaison with your subject mentor and other members of staff
  • is the formal contact point between the school and the University
  • please note that your Professional Tutor in your Complementary School may not be as involved with your programme as the Professional Tutor in your Homeschool.

Subject Mentor (Complementary School)

  • is your personal tutor within the school, liaising on a regular basis with the Professional Tutor
  • meets you formally each week to review and guide your development
  • supports, coordinates, monitors and assesses your work across the subject department through liaison with other members of staff, and with the SD tutor.

Other staff in the school will contribute to, support, and monitor your work in the department and the whole school. For example, you will be attached to a tutor group/class. The teacher responsible for that tutor group will support your work and will probably make a contribution to the assessment of your practice of teaching.

Induction days in the Complementary School

The induction days will take place on the first two days of your Complementary School placement which are on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 February 2014.You should arrive at the school no later than 08:30 and should report to the school office. The purpose of the induction days is to:

  • meet your Subject Mentor and other colleagues in the school;
  • discuss your learning agenda for the placement;
  • discuss initial plans for your timetable and extra-curricular activities;
  • discuss your arrangements for travel and accommodation (where necessary);
  • carry out a variety of induction activities to familiarise yourself with the school. These could involve working alongside a teacher and/or you taking full delegated responsibility for teaching a small number of classes towards the end of the week;
  • finalise your timetable;
  • be introduced to school policies and protocols relating to discipline, uniform, pastoral and tutorial procedures, and to resources;
  • observe a range of classes including ones which you will eventually be teaching; and,
  • identify key areas for planning and preparation during the period which follows in the University.

In particular, you should use the induction days to:

  • find out details of the syllabi and schemes of work for the department, but especially those sections relating to the classes which you will teach.

You should determine:

  • the size of the classes (this will affect your organisation and method of presentation);
  • the age range of the children in each class;
  • how the children are grouped according to ability (e.g. mixed-ability, bands, streams); and,
  • the methods and routines normally followed about materials, setting of homework, collection of books, methods of marking.

Begin your planning. In order to do this, you should consider:

  • studying work previously done, e.g. exercise books, work cards;
  • borrowing copies of textbooks and other resources;
  • making sure you have detailed schemes of work so that you know what you are going to teach and can prepare yourself effectively;
  • discovering what materials and aids are available and the procedure about library use;
  • examining the appropriate attainment targets and programmes of study; and,
  • agreeing your timetable and preparing a copy for your SD tutor using the blue proforma.

Your tutor will find it useful if, on your timetable, you include:

  • whether the school operates a 5-day or 10-day timetable and, in the latter case, which is Week 1 and which is Week 2;
  • the time lessons start and finish;
  • the rooms in which lessons take place;
  • the name of the teacher who is normally in charge of the class;
  • the names of your mentor, Professional Tutor and university Subject Didactics tutor;
  • school phone, fax number and email address;
  • which classes you will have full delegated responsibility for from the beginning of the placement;
  • maps of how to get to the school, and of the school buildings; and,
  • any other relevant information, e.g. occasional days holiday, Teacher Development days, details of split sites.

Expectations and Responsibilities

In your Complementary School you can have an expectation of:

  • a formal meeting for 1 hour each week during the Complementary School placement with your Subject Mentor; and other contact which is reasonably required in order to realise course aims;
  • working alongside a group tutor or class teacher on a daily basis experiencing registration, administration, tutoring and personal and social health education (PSHE) work;
  • attachment to a departmental or subject team and a year team, involving attendance at meetings etc;
  • attending whole-school and year group assemblies;
  • attending calendared meetings e.g. parents, induction, consultations, and Teacher Development days;
  • an opportunity to contribute to extra-curricular activities e.g. community, cultural, sporting;
  • working with the full range of intellectual abilities;
  • guidance in the preparation of teaching inputs and lesson sequences in subject and PSHE contexts;
  • once a week observation of, and brief written feedback on, each class taught;
  • regular monitoring of progress in terms of the Teachers' Standards;
  • having your own claims to professional development challenged by your mentor and Professional Tutor as part of the on-going support offered by the school through the development of your personal professional profile;
  • help with the setting of a learning agenda through completion of Training Planner sheets;
  • guidance in the compiling and organisation of your Teaching File and PDP;
  • guidance with regard to job applications and interviews;
  • appropriate working space within the school; and,
  • sufficient time for reflection on work done.
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