As part of the criteria for initial teacher education (ITE) which were published in 2011, the Teaching Council required all ITE programmes to include an extended and reconceptualised school placement experience, based on a partnership approach between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and schools. In the school placement guidelines which were adopted as an addendum to the criteria, the Council recognised that implementation would be challenging for schools and HEIs, owing to the many complexities which would need to be addressed. The guidelines also acknowledged that time would be required for the guidelines to bed down and noted that the Council’s requirements would be subject to review and change, as informed by further research.
With that in mind, the Council commissioned a team of external researchers, led by Professor Kathy Hall in University College Cork, to gather evidence of current practice in relation to school placement, and make recommendations to inform the Council’s thinking and future policy on school placement. The research was conducted over a period of almost four years, with fieldwork beginning in late 2014 and continuing into early 2018. The project incorporated a review of relevant international literature followed by a short account of policy on school placement in selected countries. Methodologically, the study adopts a mixed methods design with quantitative and qualitative dimensions. It was based in six different HEIs that provide a variety of ITE programmes. Qualitative and quantitative fieldwork took place in both primary and post-primary undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Student teachers, HEI staff and school staff associated with these programmes were surveyed through questionnaires and interviews to establish their views and experiences over time. An additional aspect of the study was that it included a number of illustrations of effective practice involving partnership between schools and HEIs.
The full report is available here.