This policy outlines the practices and processes required in relation to pre-service teacher (PST) professional practice placements in Victorian government schools, as agreed between the Department and all Victorian universities and other initial teacher education (ITE) providers.
- ITE providers will contact schools about PST placements in a placement booking window (weeks 2 to 3 of Terms 2 and 4) to support schools’ advance planning and resource allocation.
- ITE providers have agreed to use the standard placement assessment template for all PSTs.
- Schools and ITE providers must familiarise themselves with the roles and responsibilities outlined in this policy (based on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Department and ITE providers) so each party knows what to expect, and our future teachers receive the support they need
- Schools will have an annual opportunity to tell the Department which ITE providers they are open to working with, and the Department will pass this on to the relevant ITE providers, supporting schools and ITE providers to develop new relationships or build upon existing ones.
The Department and ITE providers have agreed to benchmark practices and processes in a MOU, that applies to PST placements in all Victorian government schools
The benchmark placement practices and processes are designed to make it easier for schools to host PST placements, and to support a focus on the qualitative aspects of each placement.
The MOU details the background to the agreement between the Department and ITE providers and sets out the following new practices.
New placement booking windows
ITE providers will first contact schools regarding their placement needs for the following semester during:
- Weeks 2 and 3 of Term 2
- Weeks 2 and 3 of Term 4.
Note: ITE providers have agreed that PSTs will not initiate contact with schools regarding placements, though PSTs may communicate directly with a school once the school and ITE provider have agreed that the placement can occur.
Coordinating ITE providers’ initial communication with schools is designed to support schools’ planning for the next semester. Increased transparency and predictability of this communication period, year on year, aims to support schools to allocate staff resources to arranging PST placements during these periods. Conversations between ITE providers and schools may extend beyond the booking window in order to finalise and implement the placement arrangements.
Standard assessment template
Victorian ITE providers have developed a standard assessment template for use in assessing PSTs on placement. This means that the requirements for schools hosting PSTs will be consistent, even when hosting PSTs from different ITE providers.
Roles and responsibilities
The MOU sets out the roles and threshold responsibilities of ITE providers, schools, and PSTs in relation to placements. This is designed to provide all PSTs with the level of support required for them to experience an enriching placement, and to facilitate clear communications between providers and schools (for example, through the timely provision of contact persons).
Staff involved in PST placements, including mentor/supervising teachers, are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the following roles and responsibilities (also set out in the MOU).
Roles and responsibilities for Victorian government schools
Arranging PST placements
The roles and responsibilities for Victorian government schools in arranging PST placements are:
- providing the ITE provider with the contact details of the person responsible for coordinating PST placements in a timely manner, including the preferred method of communication
- scheduling PST placements for the following year/semester/trimester, in partnership with the ITE provider
- providing the ITE provider with the contact details of mentor/supervising teachers within the 2 weeks preceding the PST placement’s commencement, including the preferred method of communication
- selecting appropriately skilled mentor/supervising teachers for PST placements
- supporting mentor/supervising teachers to access adequate professional development to appropriately skill and prepare them for supervising PST placements.
During and after PST placements
The roles and responsibilities for Victorian government schools during and after PST placements are:
- coordinating the administration of PST placements, in collaboration with the ITE provider
- ensuring all school staff involved in PST placements are aware of their obligations and responsibilities, including duty of care
- completing all pre-PST placement paperwork required by the ITE provider and returning it to the ITE provider prior to the student commencing the PST placement
- ensuring appropriately skilled mentor/supervising teachers are assigned to PST placements
- providing opportunities for PSTs to learn and develop their skills in the classroom and broader school context, including exposure to high-quality classroom teaching
- planning and delivering professional learning programs for PSTs, in line with the requirements of the ITE program and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and having regard to their level of study
- maintaining regular communication with PSTs to set clear expectations for performance
- providing regular observation, assessment and feedback to PSTs to support professional development and ensure they are sufficiently prepared to fulfil their level of study in line with national standards
- liaising with PSTs prior to the beginning of PST placements, during PST placements, and following PST placements if necessary, to ensure all required documentation has been completed
- maintaining regular communication with the ITE provider and other stakeholders involved in the PST placement process to support relationship-building
- assuming joint-responsibility with the ITE provider for resolutions and decisions regarding grievances or issues that may arise during PST placements, including in the event that a PST must withdraw from the PST placement
- completing all post-PST placement student reports and paperwork required by the ITE provider and returning them to the ITE provider in a timely manner within a fortnight of the PST placement’s completion
- providing feedback to the ITE provider in relation to the success of the PST placement and any issues that may have arisen.
Roles and responsibilities for ITE providers
Arranging PST placements
The roles and responsibilities for ITE providers in arranging PST placements are:
- ensuring ITE provider staff are assigned to coordinate PST placements
- informing students that the ITE provider will contact Victorian government schools to arrange PST placements and that students are not permitted to contact Victorian government schools directly
- contacting Victorian government schools with diverse characteristics to enable PSTs to gain a diverse set of teaching experiences
- limiting initial contact with Victorian government schools regarding organising PST placements for the forthcoming academic year/semester/trimester to the 2 designated 2 week windows (Weeks 2 and 3 of Term 2, and Weeks 2 and 3 of Term 4) of the school year/semester/trimester preceding the proposed PST placement
- providing information requested by the Victorian government school to support school planning, including the anticipated number of ITE students to be placed and the teaching areas, grades and stages required (if available), in a timely manner
- providing the Victorian government school with contact information for ITE provider PST placement coordination staff and supervising staff when they have been allocated, prior to students commencing their PST placements
- identify and provide professional learning opportunities for mentor/supervising teachers to support them in their role
- provide an outline of the PST’s knowledge, skills and experiences that have already been developed in the program and the expected learning outcome of each PST Placement
- identify which Australian Professional Standards for Teachers for the Graduate career stage are to be addressed at each PST placement.
During and after PST placements
The roles and responsibilities for ITE providers during and after PST placements are:
- Ensuring ITE provider staff are assigned to coordinate and supervise PST placements and provide suitable professional learning opportunities to PSTs relevant to their level of study
- Ensuring Victorian government schools have an appropriate contact person at the ITE provider for administrative, financial, professional and academic matters relating to PSTs
- Ensuring PSTs are aware of their role, responsibilities and requirements for the duration of their PST placement, including the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers for the Graduate career stage
- Supporting PSTs and Victorian government schools with assessment in line with national standards, moderation and reporting on performance, including managing instances where PSTs are ‘at risk’ academically
- Engaging with Victorian government school staff responsible for coordinating PST placements to ensure PST placements meet the requirements of the ITE program and to support relationship-building and collaboration
- Coordinating contact between the PST and Victorian government school, including site visits to the school during PST placements
- Assuming joint-responsibility with Victorian government schools for resolutions and decisions regarding grievances or issues that may arise during PST placements, including in the event that a PST must withdraw from the PST placement
- Ensuring relevant PST placement procedures and documentation requirements are followed, particularly where there is concern regarding the progress of the PST
- Providing opportunities for, and collecting, feedback from Victorian government schools on ITE program content and theory, the alignment between theory and practice and the extent to which it is aligned with school needs, to inform delivery of the ITE program
- Collecting feedback from PSTs to inform delivery of the ITE program.
Roles and responsibilities for PSTs on placement
During PST placements
The roles and responsibilities for PSTs during PST placements are:
- adhering to all relevant ITE provider and school policies and procedures for the PST placement duration, including supporting the school’s values and ethos, and the VIT Codes of Conduct and Ethics
- demonstrating teaching practice in line with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers for the Graduate career stage and collating evidence of this performance in accordance with ITE provider requirements
- demonstrating the requirements for PST placements, as specified by the ITE provider and school
- maintaining open communication with the ITE provider and all school staff involved in PST placements
- seeking and implementing feedback, advice and guidance received during the PST placement to support improvements to teaching practice
- seizing opportunities to understand and experience the breadth of school activities, including participation in community activities outside the classroom.
Supporting positive school-provider relationships
In an annual survey, the Department will ask principals to nominate the ITE providers that they are open to working with for PST placements. The Department will then advise ITE providers of the schools that listed them, so that ITE providers can prioritise those schools when arranging placements. Nominating a provider does not commit a school to hosting students from that provider. Providers are also free to contact schools that have not specifically nominated them.
Each year, the Department will also share with ITE providers the geographic and subject areas of forecast high teacher workforce demand. ITE providers can draw on this information to build connections with schools with a high likelihood of future employment opportunities for their graduates.
Reviewed 09 August 2021