Registering for a placement

Early in the relevant semester for each teacher-education program, the Office of Professional Experience (OPE) sends an email to each preservice teacher enrolled with the school to advise them of the process and dates for registering their placement preferences.

Typically, preservice teachers register online for their Professional Experience placement, selecting as many as five preferences from the list published by the OPE. MTeach (Early Childhood) students who have a pre-existing association with a centre that has agreed to offer them a placement will be able to submit these details during online registration (the service must be accredited). Students are not permitted to “cold call” possible placement providers.

Once preservice-teacher registration has occurred, placements are sorted and allocated by the computer system. Availability of placements is impacted by the highly competitive situation between various universities, colleges and registered training organisations offering teacher-education and children’s-services courses and the many constraints on early-childhood settings, schools and teachers, which limit the number of placements on offer. The OPE endeavours to meet each preservice teacher’s particular preferences but cannot guarantee a specific placement.

Preservice teachers who are unplaced after the registration-and-placement-selection process will be kept informed by the OPE as to the progress of their placement. Preservice teachers applying for placements outside of the areas surveyed by the OPE – such as rural, interstate and overseas – need to complete an additional Placement Permission form (pdf, 74kB) and submit it in a timely manner to the OPE for approval. As soon as you are notified by the OPE that your placement has been finalised, you must contact your placement provider and Tertiary Mentor to arrange a preplacement visit.

Choosing placement preferences

Preservice teachers should consider placement choices in terms of their own professional learning needs, personal circumstances and future employment preferences. Graduates may be advantaged at employment interview when they have completed placements that provide a broad range of contextual learning experiences. Professional Experience placements need to be undertaken within a range of settings. For primary and secondary teachers, the NSW Institute of Teachers advises that at least two school sites must be used. Preservice teachers need to incorporate a diverse range of experiences in their program of study, in terms of:

  • children’s ages and type of service (early childhood)

  • cultural and linguistic diversity (early childhood)

  • grade/stage levels (primary and secondary)

  • employment sectors (primary and secondary)

  • curriculum areas (secondary)

  • geographical location (all programs)

  • socioeconomic community context (all programs).

Preservice teachers in early-childhood programs may need to travel up to an hour each way to their centre and should be prepared to work variable "shifts" and changing rosters within the typical 7am–6pm opening hours of an early-learning centre or childcare centre.

Primary or secondary teacher-education students should be prepared to travel for up to two hours to their placement schools (calculated using data from the Transport Information Line).

The University reserves the right not to place a student in a Professional Experience in any instance where the performance, personal or professional conduct of the student does not meet the required standard, regardless of whether the student is enrolled in a Professional Practices unit of study.

Prerequisites for placement registration

Before being placed in Professional Experience settings, preservice teachers must provide documentation that demonstrates they have completed coursework related to matters of child abuse and sexual assault within the guidelines of the NSW Child Protection legislation. Students enrolled in the school's programs are able to satisfy the preplacement standard required of their registering body by completing units of study within their respective courses.

Prior to their first Professional Experience placement, students in all of the school's teacher-education programs must also provide proof they have applied to have a Working With Children Check (WWCC). The MyPrac database will reject any attempted registration unless it includes a WWCC reference number. Applying for a WWCC is free for student teachers.

Anaphylaxis management

Registration on the MyPrac database requires all teacher-education students to provide evidence they have been trained in managing anaphylaxis. The free, online course, Anaphyaxis e-training, designed by the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy satisfies the requirements of the registering professional body for all preservice teachers except for those enrolled in early-childhood programs. The course takes about 15 minutes to complete. The certificate of completion should be printed and taken with you to your school on the first day of your placement.

Students enrolled in early-childhood programs must satisfy a higher level of anaphylaxis training than preservice primary and secondary teachers. They must also complete specific allergy and first-aid training. The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority requires allergy and anaphylaxis training to meet the specifications of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) units of competency 22024VIC (asthma) and 22099VIC (anaphylaxis). First-aid training must meet the ASQA standard HLTAID003 – Provide First Aid. All of this training is provided by Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness within the Health and Wellness in Early Childhood unit of study in the master and bachelor programs. The costs associated with the training are the responsibility of each student.