The first year community placement is part of an Education module available to all BA students in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students undertake a seventy hour placement with an organisation of their choice working with children and young people 0 – 14 years. The students’ learning on placement is supported by an on-campus module where lectures and tutorials are designed to explore topics related to placement as well as using the students’ own placement experiences to promote the learning of others. Students gain 20 credits for their participation in this module as well as their ability to maintain a placement file and to write a reflective evaluation of their time on placement.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Placement learning is one of the most powerful learning experiences for undergraduate students at the University of Strathclyde. While placement experiences are challenging - the School of Education sets high expectations and uses rigorous methods of assessment - students enjoy the opportunity to put on-campus learning into practice in a real context.
On this module, students from across disciplines work together to learn about children and the communities in which they live; children's health and wellbeing; child protection; children's voice; the composition of the family. The notion that the health and wellbeing of children and young people is central to the advancement of society is a seminal theme in this module.
This module has the potential to create a powerful impact on the university's neighbouring communities and to impact positively on the learning of students. It is a longer term goal that helping undergraduate students to understand and engage with the communities in which they work will have an impact on the communities in which they work as graduates.
- To provide students with the opportunity to consider the informal curriculum with which children engage outside the mainstream classroom and to consider how and when children learn within their own communities.
- To encourage students to consider health and wellbeing as a holistic theme that is central to all aspects of a child's life.
- To introduce policy documents and research that focus on children's life chances, health, wellbeing and education in a variety of settings.
- To offer placement experience for students in order to develop their understanding of content learned on the on-campus programme and to provide opportunities to use placement experiences to inform discussion, thinking and learning in on-campus classes.
- This module has been available since 2013-14. By June 2016 students will have contributed well over 50,000 placement hours to the communities in which they work.
- A number of students have chosen to undertake their placement outside Scotland.
- Students contribute placement hours to a range of projects within the University of Strathclyde – the Science and Technology Forum; the Children’s University; the Townhead Homework Club; the university’s widening access programme.
- Many students stay on with their placement provider in both voluntary and paid positions.
- Primary Education students on this module get to learn about the education of children in its widest sense. Undertaking placement in HMP Barlinnie, the Trossachs National Park, with babies whose mothers have post-natal depression etc. expands the opportunities available to our students and provides a more rounded experience for new teachers.
- Students from disciplines across the Faculty learn together and are able to offer different perspectives on the themes of the module.
- As a result of the level of independence required in securing and undertaking a placement that meets university requirements, students are developing a range of employability skills and graduate attributes from the start of their course.
- There are around 260 students on this module each year (160 Primary Education students + 100 BA students from across subjects in the Faculty). With a tutorial to support the learning at each lecture this is an investment in terms of staff time from the School of Education.
- All students are required to pay to join the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. This has implications for those with limited income.
- International students can struggle to provide the Police Reports and Certificates of Good Conduct required to support their PVG application.
- Some students find the transition to university challenging and a seventy hour placement to fit around their other studies requires perseverance and the ability to be able to problem solve.
- Students moving to Glasgow and students from non-traditional backgrounds have limited cultural capital to support finding a placement in West Central Scotland.
- A Placement Coordinator is committed to this module by the School of Education to manage requests from placement providers and to support students in finding their own placements. This adds to the commitment required by the School.
- From 2015-16 adverts from placement providers placed on the Myplace Situations Vacant board were starred to show these were particularly suited to students who had moved to Glasgow to study.
- Provision must be put in place to support students who are late starting placement through no fault of their own.
- Regular ongoing checks are necessary to identify students who are not keeping up with the requirements of the module. There is now an option at the end of semester one to transfer out of this class for students who are not coping with the demands.
- Expectations are high and need to be maintained at this level. Students entering the HaSS BA programme have a minimum entry tariff of AAABB from S6 so are well positioned to succeed on this module. However, their expectations of university are sometimes of an organisation that is less demanding and which allows students to interact if and when they choose. Reinforcing expectations is an ongoing and important task.
260 students per year approximately participate in this module. This model could be used in any subject or discipline where the School or Department is able to commit the staffing to run the tutorial support programme. This programme is integral to the students gaining the most from their placement experience.
The model is completely transferable.