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General guidelines for placement learning

These guidelines are designed to give an idea of the kinds of issues that should be considered if a Faculty Board is contemplating including placement learning in a course leading to a University degree or award.

Placement learning is defined as:

  • learning that is a planned and intended part of an academic course;
  • typically taking place outside the institution with support of a placement provider.

It includes placements arranged by students with the approval of the institution, but does not include part-time, term-time or vacation work (that is not a planned part of the course) arranged by students.

Developing proposals for placement learning

External guidance and legislation

Before proceeding with any proposal for placement learning you should read in full the Quality Assurance Agency's Code of Practice, Chapter B10: Managing higher education provision with others:

The General Board's Education Committee will wish to assure itself that appropriate attention has been paid to the Code before considering any proposals.

General criteria for consideration

Course organisers are strongly encouraged to discuss any proposals for course provision which include placement learning with Educational and Student Policy at an early stage. Such proposals will be considered on their merits, in the light of the specific considerations in each case and the following general criteria:

  1. The contribution that placement learning makes to the overall aims of the course should be considered and should be reflected in the Programme Specification for the course.

  2. There should be defined procedures for how placements are secured and allocated, including what happens if a student fails to secure a placement.

  3. Any requirements of Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Bodies regarding placements should be taken into account.

  4. Careful consideration should be given to how the placement provider will provide learning opportunities, feedback and support, including induction, for students and whether they can fulfill obligations under relevant Health and Safety, and Equality legislation.

  5. There should be clarity regarding the assessment methods that will be used for placement activities. Placement activity which develops a student's general and transferable skills, as opposed to subject knowledge skills, should not contribute a significant proportion of the marks for any examination.

  6. It should be ensured that both students and placement providers are given clear information about the expectations, rights and responsibilities placed on each.

  7. Provision should be made for support and guidance of the student by the faculty/department while on the placement.

  8. The faculty/department should ensure that there is a member of staff with overall responsibility for the operation of placements, and that relevant training and support is offered where necessary.

  9. The faculty/departments should ensure that there are adequate procedures in place for the monitoring and evaluation of placements, including gathering feedback from placement providers and students.

  10. The financial implications for students of taking up a placement should be considered. Where a placement which is educationally essential to a course will involve the student in costs over and above the normal fees for the course this must be indicated clearly on the faculty/department website.

Note that there are visa implications for students on placements, including a responsibility for monitoring, and Faculties/Departments should seek advice from the International Student Team at an early stage.