Before a Placement Starts
The start of a placement is the first date a student is expected to visit the placement school. When a student considers that for exceptional reasons they are unable to attend a placement prior to its commencement they must discuss the situation with their Personal Tutor. Students will need to consider the impact of their circumstances on other areas of their study along with the possibility of intercalation. Following these discussions students must then complete a Request for Placement Deferral and submit it to the Placement Manager, Placement Unit, University of Cumbria, Bowerham Road, Lancaster LA1 3JD.
When the reason for withdrawal is due to sickness a valid sickness note should accompany the form. Any doctor's letters must contain the dates a student is incapacitated for, the nature of the illness and confirmation that the condition will stop the student from attending the placement. The student concerned will then be advised if their reason for non-attendance is deemed valid by the University. Should the reason be valid, the student will be removed from their placement and the placement will be deferred. In the event that a reason for non-attendance is invalid the student will be advised accordingly and be instructed to carry out their placement.
When a student elects to dispute the initial decision, either before or during a placement the request will be adjudicated by the Programme Leader and the Placement Liaison Manager from the Institute of Education.
During a Placement
Students who are unable to complete a placement must complete and submit an Extenuating Circumstances form.
The form must be accompanied by supporting documentation. When the reason for withdrawal is due to sickness a valid sickness note should accompany the form. Any doctor's letters must contain the dates a student is incapacitated, the nature of the illness and confirmation that the condition stopped them from attending the placement.
Types of situations likely to be valid are:
- Health problem verified by the University’s Occupational Health Department or detailed doctor's letter.
- Death or serious illness of an immediate family member i.e. parent/guardian, brother or sister, son or daughter, husband, wife or partner.
- Major household problems e.g. fire.
- Impact of natural disaster, civil disruption or other major hazard.
Circumstances not likely to qualify are:
These include everyday, avoidable occurrences, and normal student pressures such as:
- Colds or known conditions such as hay fever (unless the effects are unusually severe)
- Normal placement stress or anxiety experienced during preparation or the placement period (unless corroborated by medical evidence as a chronic condition and undergoing treatment)
- Non-serious domestic or personal disruptions (e.g. moving house, change of job, holidays, weddings, normal job pressure, failed travel arrangements, financial difficulties, oversleeping)
- Work commitments
- Child care arrangements
- Employment commitments
- Failure to read University e-mail notifying of placement details.
Termination of Placement Due to Professional Issues
When a student leaves a placement of their own accord due to personal reasons or are instructed to leave due to unprofessional behaviour, they will be deemed to have failed the placement. Personal reasons include a clash of personality with a member of the placement school or University staff, unwillingness to accept professional feedback from school or University staff, unwillingness to adopt the professional standards and ethos of a placement school or any circumstance not covered by the extenuating circumstances procedure.
Before leaving a placement a student must explore every avenue to resolve the situation.
In the event that a situation is not possible to resolve due to a student being unwilling to accept the professional advice and counsel of their University Partnership Tutor (UPT) and/or a member of the schools staff, the placement will be terminated and the student will be deemed to have failed the placement on the grounds of unprofessional behaviour. Any complaint subsequent to termination in these circumstances will be dealt with using the University’s complaints procedure and no complaint may be made direct to the placement school.
Following the termination of a placement a student must attend a student progress review meeting with a Programme Leader and a School Engagement Manager to discuss the reasons for withdrawal and to be advised that the placement has been failed. The review meeting will be an opportunity for the student to state any grievances including complaints relating to the placement school. Failure to attend the meeting or engage with any part of the process will preclude a student from challenging the decision to record the placement as a fail at a later date.
The only circumstances that a placement can be terminated without being failed are:
When a student completes the extenuating circumstances process and the details are ratified by the University Academic board.
When a school terminates a placement for reasons outside the schools control e.g. Ofsted visit, staff sickness.
When a placement is terminated for the above reasons the student will be offered a deferred placement in the following academic year.
Further guidance for schools and students can be found in the Cause for Concern document, under the section 'Should a student be removed from a school?'.
Process for Termination of Placement
When a placement is terminated, a Termination of Placement form must be completed and returned to the University. When a student declines to sign the form or leaves school at short notice the circumstances should be recorded on the form.
Continue to Deferred / Resit Placements
Placement Policy Main Page