Before the placement

  • Students must be enrolled in an Education Program to undertake Professional Experience.
  • Professional Experience dates are not negotiable. Students must attend at the advertised times. If students have a medical condition or are pregnant, they should contact the relevant Course Coordinator for advice.
  • Students are required to meet any costs incurred during professional experience placement including any transport, accommodation and living costs.
  • Students must attend all compulsory lectures and tutorials for each Professional Experience course if they wish to be provided with a placement. Each course also has prerequisites that are listed on the Course outline.
  • Students who are enrolled in a Primary program are required to teach a K-2 class on at least one placement and a 3-6 class on at least one other placement.
  • Students who are enrolled in a Secondary program are required to teach their major on at least two placements and their minor (if relevant) on at least one placement.
  • Students must read in detail the Professional Experience Guide prior to visiting their School / Service and constantly use the Guide as a reference during their professional experience.
  • Semester 2 Internship preparation lectures/tutorials are held in semester 1 each year for all Education programs. Students should ensure they enrol in their semester 2 internship course as soon as possible at the beginning of each year and attend internship lectures and tutorials throughout semester 1.
  • Students will be required to use the School of Education's Professional Placement System (SONIA) in relation to Professional Experience. Details will be provided during preparation lectures.
  • Students should ensure they access their Course Blackboard site on a regular basis as important information about professional experience may be made available.
  • Withdrawal policy for courses that contain a professional experience placement is different to other University courses. Students may withdraw from professional experience courses without academic penalty one week or more before the placement is due to begin. This will allow prior notice to be given to schools of any student's intention to withdraw from the placement, and may allow the place to be re-allocated. Withdrawal after the official date will usually result in a fail grade. If there are special circumstances, students may apply to the Head of School for permission to withdraw from the course, after the official final date, without academic penalty. Permission to withdraw will not normally be given to students who have commenced the placement.

Adverse circumstances

Students who are unable to complete their professional experience placement due to adverse circumstances and who meet Adverse Circumstances eligibility requirements may apply for a reallocation or variation of their placement via the Adverse Circumstances process.

  1. To apply visit adverse circumstances and follow the instructions.
    Once your Adverse Circumstances application has been approved by the relevant Course Coordinator, complete Step 2 below:
  2. Log onto SONIA online and complete the Adverse Circumstances Prof Exp Notification Form, available for self-selection under the SONIA Forms tab, to notify the Professional Experience Unit of your approved placement reallocation/variation.

More information

  • Students must NOT arrange their own placement.
  • Students must NOT negotiate placements through conjoint lecturing staff, teachers or friends.
  • Students cannot attend Schools/Services where they are employed or where they have any relatives, including children, or close connections.
  • Students cannot attend the same School/Service twice.
  • Students cannot return to the primary or secondary school where they did their schooling (schooling reference may not apply to mature age students). It is the Course Coordinator's responsibility to make final decisions on unacceptable placements.

All students enrolled in undergraduate Primary and Secondary programs are expected to undertake one Diversity placement as part of their program of study. This is inbuilt into the third year Quality Teaching, Diversity and Equity professional experience courses.

Diversity placements are intended to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to cope in an environment different to the one they experienced on their first placement.

Third year placements should be outside the local region but within NSW, or alternatively can be Interstate or International. Please note Interstate and International placements have a minimum Grade Point Average requirement of 4.75.

If students have extenuating circumstances and must stay in area the should apply via the Adverse Circumstances process.

Students seeking placement outside their local region will be asked to nominate preferred schools.

Students seeking placements within their local region will NOT be asked for preferences and will be placed by the Professional Experience Unit in a setting dissimilar to their 2nd year placement. Students will be required to travel 30 min to 1 hour from their home.

The procedure for applying for placements will be explained in preparation lectures and the Course Coordinators will make the final decision about all placements.

Pregnancy has potential risks during placement, from physically demanding activities, to exposure to diseases that can cause harm to unborn babies. Students who are planning to become pregnant or who are pregnant at the time they are due to go on their professional experience placement must consult their health professional and inform them that they will be in regular contact with children to understand how they can minimise the risks of injury or infections while on placement. Students who are planning to become pregnant or who are pregnant at the time they are due to go on their professional experience placement have the following options:

  • undertake the professional experience placement while pregnant; or
  • postpone the professional experience placement until an agreed time after the birth

Students who choose to complete the professional experience placement while pregnant are required to provide a medical certificate stating their fitness to undertake the placement at the scheduled date to the Course Coordinator.

Students who become pregnant whilst completing their placement can choose to withdraw from the placement without penalty, and arrange to complete the placement at an agreed later time. Alternatively they can choose continue with the placement.

Students who choose to defer their placement due to pregnancy should be aware that this may delay the student's progress in the program. Such Students should discuss their program with the Program Convenor.

Risks for pregnant Students on placement

Employees who are in contact with children in schools and early childhood centres can be at greater risk of contracting infections that can be potentially harmful to unborn babies. These infections include:

  • Rubella (German measles
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Chicken Pox
  • Erythema Infectiosum
  • Toxoplasmosis

Pregnant Students must also take extra care during manual handling of objects and children and ask for assistance. Other potential physical risks include workstation ergonomics, standing or sitting for long periods of time, and physically demanding or strenuous activities.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.