Apply now

Frequently Asked Questions: Professional Experience

The Placement: When, How and Where

Our Frequently Asked Questions will help with most of the things you would like to know about Professional Experience placements. If you should have any unanswered questions please email your enquiry to the College Placement Team (DTESPlacements@jcu.edu.au).

Prior to Placement

Each subject with an embedded Professional Experience has a series of Professional Experience Online Workshops to prepare you for Placement.

JCU has a duty of care to students and placement agencies and seeks to ensure that students who undertake prescribed Professional Experience are academically prepared and emotionally, behaviourally, and ethically prepared for the demands of placements. Review of a Student's Suitability to continue a Course Involving Placement

For each Placement, students are required through attendance to engage in the scheduled Professional Online Workshops. JCU also has an HEI (Higher Education Institution) official agreement with our placement agencies to prepare Preservice and Graduate Student Teachers for Placement. Non-attendance is a breach of that agreement.

The dates and times are advised through the Subject Outline and on the Professional Experience Community LearnJCU Site. Please note that full attendance is recorded at Professional Experience workshops.

The Bachelor of Education and Master of Teaching and Learning courses include prescribed Professional Placements which involve contact with children under 18 years of age.

All students undertaking a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) subject or working with children or young people as part of their studies within Queensland are required by law to hold a valid Blue Card or Exemption Card issued by Blue Card Services Queensland.

Students undertaking professional placements are required to obtain a Suitability to Work with Children Card before the start of the first Placement. Students must retain a current Blue Card for the duration of their course, as failure to do so will result in the termination of their admission to the course.

Blue Card number and details are required to be recorded on InPlace, and schools or centres are required to see the Blue Card upon arrival at the school or centre. Information about obtaining a Blue Card is included in enrolment packages.

If a student lives outside Queensland and/or intend to undertake placement interstate, the student will need to check the requirements for that state/country and ensure that you hold the relevant Working with Children or Police Check before you commence your Professional Experience.

The dates for Professional Experience per subject are on the Professional Experience Calendar. It is published on the College website and within the Professional Experience Community on LearnJCU.

The Professional Experience calendar is available approximately in November of the current year to assist you in preparing for Professional Experience in the following year.

Out-of-step refers to when a student's planned progression of the course and proposed study plan is disrupted.

If you are out-of-step with subjects that have an embedded Placement, it is a student's responsibility to email dtesplacements@jcu.edu.au at the commencement of the study period prior to enrolling in the subject to request and register for a Placement. Failure to do so will mean that a placement will not be found.

Please refer to the Professional Experience Calendar to see when your 'out of step subject' has the scheduled embedded Placement for which you intend to enrol.

The Professional Experience Advisory Committee (PEAC) has endorsed the Professional Experience calendar. It is an agreed calendar that aligns with subject learning and assessment and partnership schools' and centres' capacity to host Preservice and Graduate Student Teachers.

You cannot change the structure or dates of the scheduled time for Professional Experience.

In the event that a Preservice or Graduate Student Teacher seeks to modify a placement and applies for a Professional Experience Special Consideration Application due to medical reasons, the provision of any future placements will be dependent on the student providing a statement from their medical professional based on an outline of the requirements of the Placement provided by the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator. This statement must attest to the Preservice and Graduate Student Teachers' ability to participate in the Placement and outline any restrictions that remain (e.g. reduced lifting capacity) along with time frames. Please refer to the Review of a Student's Suitability to Continue a Course Involving Placement.

It is a Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) requirement for program accreditation, including our JCU Nationally Accredited programs to adhere to this requirement of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) being responsible for arranging Professional Experience Placements.

Your school placement is ONLY organised by staff in the Work Integrated Learning Team.

It is a breach of JCU placement processes to attempt to source and arrange your school of choice for a Placement. It is a breach to approach or engage in conversation with Principals, Deputy Principals, Head of Departments, Site Coordinators or Site-Based Teacher Educators about being placed at the School.

Step 1: To register for a Placement, you must complete InPlace before the cut-off date in the designated week stated on the Professional Experience Calendar.

Step 2: The WIL Team source the Placement.

Step 3: You will receive an email from the WIL Team with all relevant school details once the Placements have been finalised.

Pre-Placement requirements are stated in the Work Integrated Learning Professional Experience Preservice, Graduate Student Teacher General Handbook, the Professional Experience Calendar and discussed in the Professional Experience Online Workshops.

The University is under no obligation to provide a Professional Placement to a student who has not completed the Pre-Placement Requirements by the due date. Professional Experience Placement Requirements Procedure

Students who fail to comply with Pre-Placement Requirements within the prescribed timeframe will have sanctions applied to their enrolment. If they withdraw from subjects after census date, they may incur financial penalties.

To meet the JCU Guidelines for Professional Experience, the WIL Team is responsible for ensuring you are provided with a range of settings across a variety of sectors to work with a range of learners.

You can not choose a school centre or sector*.

In completing InPlace, you must provide 2 preference localities (towns). Where a placement cannot be obtained in the 1st preferred geographical location, the WIL Team seeks Placement in the 2nd preference locality.

For your FINAL suite of Placements ONLY– Professional Experience A & Professional Experience B (Undergraduate) Final Graduate Professional Experience (Masters of Teaching and Learning), you may provide a preference for a sector*.

Every effort is made to secure a preference of locality and final Placements (sector) if your preferences still meet the Professional Experience Guidelines. A preference is not a guarantee for a partnership school/centre accepting a Placement.

Furthermore, Preservice and Graduate Student Teachers are advised that they may be required to undertake Professional Experience outside of Townsville or Cairns (depending where the student is enrolled) at their own expense – 7.1 Coursework Enrolment Procedure

Similarly, ONLINE students may be required to undertake Professional Experience outside of their home-based location at their own expense.

*Sectors - Department of Education, Catholic Education, Independent.

No. You cannot undertake Professional Experience in a school or centre where you are employed or have been recently employed. This situation would represent a conflict of interest. You are required to provide a list of schools or centres where you have a conflict of interest when completing InPlace for each new Placement. Failure to declare or disclose a conflict of interest will result in the Placement school or centre being changed.

These situations represent a conflict of interest as the assessment of your Professional Experience must not be subjected to positive or negative bias for either the Preservice and Graduate Student Teacher or the Supervising Teacher.

No. You are not permitted to undertake Professional Experience in a school or centre where your child or close family member* attends or is employed. You are required to provide a list of schools or centres where you have a conflict of interest when completing InPlace for each new Placement. Failure to declare or disclose a conflict of interest can result in the Placement school or centre being changed.

These situations represent a conflict of interest as the assessment of your Professional Experience must not be subjected to positive or negative bias for either the Preservice and Graduate Student Teacher or the Supervising Teacher.

In special circumstances for those in small communities and after discussion with the school Leadership Team, consideration may be granted by the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator. The Placement still needs to meet the Professional Experience Guidelines.

Family members* mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or in-law immediate family member.

Under the Guidelines of Professional Experience, Preservice and Graduate Student Teachers may be required to attend Placement in any location at their own expense. However, if they have particular circumstances that would mean that severe hardship would result from an out of town placement, a Professional Experience Special Consideration Application can be submitted to the WIL Team for the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator's [Education] approval. The application requires supportive documentation and is to be submitted at the time of your InPlace editing dates. Please see the Professional Experience Calendar for InPlace editing dates for the subject with the embedded Placement.

Applications submitted either without supportive documentation OR after placement requests close will not be considered.

Note:

  • Special consideration will not be given for normal family or work commitments
  • If you are unsure of your eligibility for special consideration, you are encouraged to apply
  • If your application for special consideration is accepted, Placement is still subject to the availability and capacity of a partnership school hosting a Preservice or Graduate Student Teacher

Your school placement is organised ONLY by staff in the Work Integrated Learning Team. You will receive an email from WIL Team with information detailing the School or Centre and Site Coordinator's contact details once the Placements have been finalised.

If you are placed in an area outside of the Townsville and Cairns regions where you may need to arrange travel, e.g. book a flight, you will be advised as soon as possible after the Placement is confirmed.

Once students have been notified of their placement school/centre, no change is permitted. Your Placement has been sourced under the Guidelines for Professional Experience.

Yes, students can apply for travel grants "Beyond the Range" to assist them in completing their Professional Experience in rural or remote Queensland if by a Department of Education school. Application for these grants will be advised at the Professional Experience Online Workshops and the Teach Queensland website.

We encourage all our Preservice Teachers to have at least one Placement in a remote setting.

This course includes prescribed Professional Placements. Professional Experience Policy indicates:

11.1  Where a course includes prescribed professional or clinical placements, students may be required to undertake such placements away from the campus at which they are enrolled at their own expense.

You are expected to plan financially to be able to undertake placements away from your home base. You may apply for special consideration if, due to exceptional or unforeseen circumstances, your financial planning to undertake Professional Experience outside of your local area is disrupted. However, you are unlikely to be granted special considerations under these circumstances more than once.

Professional Experience Special Consideration Application can be submitted to the WIL Team for the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator's [Education] approval. The application requires supportive documentation and is to be submitted at the time of your InPlace editing preferences dates. Please see the Professional Experience Calendar for InPlace editing dates for the subject with the embedded Placement.

Applications submitted either without supporting documentation OR after placement requests close will not be considered.

Yes. As stated in the Roles and Responsibilities for Preservice and Graduate Student Teachers, you email an introduction to your Site Coordinator to arrange an introductory meeting time prior to Placement.

  • Email introduction to Site Coordinator
  • Arrange an introductory meeting to meet SC & SBTE prior to Placement
  • SC orientates PST & GST to school policy and expectations
  • SC inducts PST & GST to Workplace Health and Safety policy and procedures.

Health and Wellbeing While on Professional Experience

If you have recently suffered a medical condition that you believe will impact Professional Experience and your ability to complete the required duties of the Placement, advise the WIL Team as soon as it becomes apparent. Submit a PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE SPECIAL CONSIDERATION APPLICATION  form to the Work Integrated Learning Team.

If you are studying with a documented disability, injury, illness, short or long-term health condition, including learning disabilities and mental health conditions, you can register with Accessibility Services.

If you are pregnant, you need to obtain a medical certificate from your medical practitioner stating your expected due date and fit to be in the workplace. This medical certificate is required by Workplace Health and Safety legislation and needs to be provided to your school or centre and a copy to DTESPlacements@jcu.edu.au

If you have a medical condition that arises and can potentially limit your capacity to participate in all work involved in teaching duties for Placement and requires both a change and/or a significant change to the Placement outside of the Professional Experience Calendar scheduled finishing time frame, you must apply for a Professional Experience Special Consideration Application. Significant means if continued Practicum overlaps with course work or interferes with the integrity of the Placement requirements.

If the condition prevents you from meeting the Professional Experience requirements with the scheduled timeframe you need to consider withdrawing from the subject. Please refer to Coursework Enrolment Procedure to review requirements regarding withdrawing to avoid academic and financial penalties.

Completing the required number of Professional Experience days for the subject in which the Placement is embedded is a requirement to pass the subject. If you are sick for any days during your Placement, you must:

  1. Contact the school or centre via email before the working day begins (usually by 8 am) and advise them that you will not be in that day
  2. If you had required planning for the day – forward it to the SBTE so lessons can continue
  3. Provide a medical certificate to the school or centre and a copy to the Work Integrated Learning Team
  4. Negotiate with the school or centre to make up the days for your illness - If significant changes require the negotiated days Placement outside of the Professional Experience Calendar scheduled time frame, you must apply for a Professional Experience Special Consideration Application. The Professional Experience Academic Coordinator can only approve the application. Significant means if continued Practicum overlaps with course work or interferes with the integrity of the Placement requirements.

Note: It is not possible to make up missed days when lectures or tutorials are scheduled.

If you are injured, seek medical assistance, report the injury to your Site-Based Teacher and Site Coordinator, complying with the school's or centre's procedures regarding incident and injury.

Complete an accident report form at the school or centre, AND contact the WIL Placement Team in order to submit a report via Riskware at JCU.

N.B. Preservice and Graduate Student Teachers on JCU pre-approved subject-related placements, which have been published as confirmed in InPlace by the DTES Placements Team, are covered (subject to limitations) under the University's Public Liability, Professional Indemnity and Student Personal Accident Insurance.

Completing the required number of Professional Experience days for the subject in which the Placement is embedded is a requirement to pass the subject. You must negotiate with the school or centre to make up the Public Holiday.

Note: It is not possible to make up missed days when lectures or tutorials are scheduled.

If your mental health is affecting your engagement in Professional Experience, please contact JCU Counselling Unit. The service is free for all JCU students.

The 'Request for Intervention' is a 4 step process designed for use for Preservice and Graduate Student Teachers to trigger a response from the Work Integrated Learning Team at JCU. The form is located on the LearnJCU Professional Experience Community Site.

Upon receipt of the Intervention Notification, the WIL Team will notify the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator or Academic Liaison to contact the Preservice Teacher to discuss the concern. If necessary, the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator or Academic Liaison will visit the School to discuss the matter with the parties concerned – the Preservice Teacher, Site Coordinator and/or Site-Based Teacher Educator.

While on Professional Experience

JCU Student ID Card either on a lanyard or within a plastic badge holder. Your identification is to be worn at all times during the Placement.

Your start time should be negotiated with your school’s Site Coordinator during your introduction meeting, prior to commencing.

Please ensure you follow the school’s policy and code of conduct for late arrivals and note that the school or centre may lodge a complaint with the WIL Team if you are continuously late. This will result in an interview with the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator. Students who do not complete the required number of days of a professional experience subject without the approval of the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator will be determined to have failed the subject.

No. As you are required to meet the placement requirements, one of which is shadowing the SBTE you cannot leave early from placement. Students have to complete the required number of days of a professional experience subject.

Each school and centre will have its own specific dress code policy, including sun-safe protective clothing. You will be required to adhere to the school's dress code policy – including hair and jewellery requirements during your Placement.  At your prior to Placement introductory meeting with the Site Coordinator ask for the school's dress code for Teachers.

'Standards of Practice' which supports the Code of Conduct for the Queensland public service. A brief summary of this being: "It is essential we ensure that our personal appearance and presentation is professional. As a general guide, the appearance and dress of departmental employees should be clean, tidy and appropriate to their duties and the people with whom they are dealing.  Examples of inappropriate dress for DET's work environment include thongs, singlets, revealing clothing or clothing with offensive slogans. Each of us also needs to ensure that in compliance with our duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and the requirements of the Code, we do not wear clothing or footwear that could put our own workplace health and safety at risk."

For Department of Education schools, there is no departmental policy in relation to tattoos or piercings. Jewellery may be a hazard when undertaking some activities. There is no requirement to cover a tattoo unless it is offensive or inappropriate. Independent, Catholic and Private schools may have their own standards concerning the requirement to cover a tattoo.

Take a sun-safe hat (not cap) for outdoor learning activities and playground duties.

  1. Work Integrated Learning Professional Experience Preservice and Graduate Student Teacher General Handbook
  2. Year Level Professional Experience Handbook
  3. Digital or Word Templates specific to the Placement – required templates for a specific Placement is required to be downloaded from the Year Level Folder on the LearnJCU Professional Community Site prior to Placement commencement
  4. Other resources that you may require are outlined in your Professional Experience Online Workshops and Professional Experience Handbook.

The Site Coordinator at your school or centre will assist you at this time. You will still need to be prepared to teach lessons, under the supervision of the relief teacher. It is not legal for you to teach without supervision. The implications of teaching without supervision are outlined in the Professional Experience Preservice and Graduate Student Teacher General Handbook.

For those Placements requiring the SBTE's signature for the Professional Experience Attendance Record, the relief teacher is eligible to sign the Record of your attendance.

Concerns/Problems, At Risk or Failing

The 'Request for Intervention' is a four step process designed for use for Preservice and Graduate Student Teachers to support you with the first step to communicate your concern with the SBTE. The final step of submitting a Request for Intervention is to trigger a response from the WIL Team at JCU. The form is located on the LearnJCU Professional Experience Community Site.

Upon receipt of the Intervention Notification, the WIL Team will notify the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator or Academic Liaison to contact the Preservice Teacher to discuss the concern. If necessary, the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator or Academic Liaison will visit the School to discuss the matter with the parties concerned – the Preservice Teacher, Site Coordinator and/or Site-Based Teacher Educator.

The Professional Experience Academic Coordinator is your point of call to discuss your Professional Experience.

The "At-Risk Notification" process is designed to alert the Preservice Teacher and JCU to areas of concern identified by the Site-Based Teacher Educator and Site Coordinator.

In collaboration, the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator or 4th Year Academic Liaison, School and Preservice and Graduate Student Teacher develop an action plan of support that serves the best interest of all parties, including a time for review.

If you fail the Professional Experience component of a subject you have failed the subject. A successful Professional Experience is a requirement to pass the subject in which the Placement is embedded.

You will be asked to attend an interview with the Professional Experience Academic Coordinator to review the reasons for the unsuccessful Placement.  An action plan to support the continuation of the program will be discussed as will options to seek alternative study options.

If you pass a Professional Experience but fail the academic component of a subject with a Professional Experience component embedded you have failed the whole subject and need to repeat the complete subject at the next available offering

For embedded Professional Experience: successful completion of Placement and coursework (and associated assessment) are required to pass the subject overall. All subject requirements must be completed in the same study period in which you are enrolled. If you are repeating a subject with embedded Professional Experience, you must reattempt all subject requirements (i.e., practicum completed in a previous enrolment does not count).

It is your responsibility to email dtesplacements@jcu.edu.au at the commencement of the study period prior to enrolling in the subject to request a placement. Failure to do so will mean that a placement will not be found.

Before withdrawing, we encourage students to discuss options with The Professional Experience Academic Coordinator before making a decision.