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College of Indigenous Futures, Education and the Arts

Placement conditions and settings

InSchool education placements
Placement timing

A professional experience placement is defined as an authorised block of time (measured in days) during which pre-service teacher attend an educational setting for a structured experience as part of a specific unit.

The unit information, set out on the Learnline site, describes the purpose and assessments associated with each professional experience. 

Professional Experience start from dates are published on the InSchool website at the end of each year. This states the earliest start date for each unit.

Placements are timed to ensure that pre-service teachers have engaged with the theory that will inform their placement and are well prepared for a positive and productive experience. 

Request to vary placement dates

Starting a placement earlier than the scheduled block is not possible. However, pre-service teachers with extenuating circumstances may apply to delay the start of their placement, depending on the unit requirements, by completing the request to vary placement timing (extenuating circumstances) form (DOCX, 453.43 KB).

 All requests must be made as soon as practicable. Each request must address the reason and have supporting documentation attached.

Placement in diverse settings

Professional experience needs to be undertaken in as 'diverse a range of settings as practicable' (AITSL, 2021). Unless there are extenuating circumstances, each placement must be in a different setting (site, school, centre). If there are extenuating circumstances, a maximum of two professional experience placements in one school/centre (each with a different mentor and class) may be approved.  

Providing that all professional experience requirements can be met, pre-service teachers may undertake one placement*in any of the following settings:

  • remote Aboriginal education   
  • Christian education   
  • Steiner or Montessori education
  • outdoor education   
  • environmental education  
  • distance education    
  • special education

*Note: Requests to undertake the final professional experience placement in a special needs school, alternative or specialist setting are rarely approved as it can be challenging to meet the unit requirements in these settings. 

Placements in remote Aboriginal, Christian, and special education settings have particular requirements. 

Remote Aboriginal education  

Education placements in remote Aboriginal communities are for pre-service teachers who have an interest in, and understanding of, teaching Aboriginal students whose first language and/or dialect is other than English.

Pre-service teachers may be eligible for a one-off remote education placement travel grant to cover travel and accommodation expenses up to $1,000 (when booked by the InSchool team). Please complete the remote education placement travel grant expression of interest (DOCX, 450.26 KB) and email to inschool@cdu.edu.au

Christian education

Pre-service teachers who are practicing Christians are encouraged to undertake a placement in a Christian school. Practicing Christians are defined as those who regularly attend church, are involved with other Christians in the community, and teach the Christian ethos. They show respect for other religions, practice the professional code of ethics, and regularly engage in religious activities.

To ensure that you are the right fit, some Christian schools request a signed statement of faith and interview pre-service teachers prior to agreeing to mentor them.    

Special education  

Teaching children with special needs is a specialist teaching area that requires specific knowledge and skills. Therefore, to be placed in a special education setting it is vital that:

  • you have prior experience, or an interest and understanding, of teaching children with special needs.
  • the requirements of the placement can be met.

To ensure that you are the right fit, some special education settings interview pre-service teachers prior to agreeing to mentor them.    

Application process

If you are interested in undertaking a placement in an alternative or specialist school, please email inschool@cdu.edu.au  and provide the following information: 

  • your student number 
  • the name and unit code of the placement unit 
  • the name of the course you enrolled in  
  • the setting you are interested in (e.g., distance education) 
  • prior experience and/or understanding of teaching students in this setting
  • why you are interested in undertaking your placement in this setting.
Priority placement travel grants

Priority placement travel grants support travel and accommodation expenses for pre-service teachers whose education placement has been difficult to source. 

The one-off grant covers travel and accommodation expenses up to $1,000 (when booked by the InSchool team) in an education setting more than 100klm from the pre-service teachers’ primary place of residence, depending on the availability of placement opportunities.  

If you are eligible, please complete the priority placement travel grant expression of interest (DOCX, 458.25 KB) and email it to inschool@cdu.edu.au.  

Placement conflict of interest

Prior to commencing placement in a school or early childhood setting, pre-service teachers need to ensure they can perform the requirements of placement without potential conflicts of interest. This is to ensure pre-service teachers:

  • can undertake placement without having to cope with presumptions or meet expectations from teaching and non-teaching staff who know them from a current or previous context.
  • can avoid a conflict-of-interest situation arising during the professional experience, particularly from a challenging placement or potentially failed placement.

To minimise potential conflicts of interest during a teaching placement, the following guidelines are advised by the professional experience office.

  • Professional experience placement can be undertaken at a school where the preservice teacher attended as a student, providing it has been 6 years since they were last enrolled.
  • It is not permitted to undertake a placement at a school or early childhood service where an immediate family member is employed, either as a teacher or in a non-teaching position, or where your child or children are enrolled.
  • It is not permitted to undertake a placement in a school or early childhood service where you are already employed or work in a voluntary capacity.

If there are extenuating circumstances, exemptions to these guidelines can be requested by completing this request to undertake placement where there is a conflict of interest (DOCX, 452.93 KB) form.

Organising placements

All education placements are organised by the InSchool team. When pre-service teachers contact education settings directly, it can work against our processes and may jeopardise future placements. If you would like to request to undertake your placement in a particular education setting, please email inschool@cdu.edu.au with the information. A member of the InSchool team will contact the setting, and follow up with you to let you know the outcome. 

Distance to attend placement

The InSchool team organises placements according to the placement setting requirements of the unit and course. Placements are organised as close to a pre-service teacher's home as possible however it may be necessary to travel up to 1 hour each way to attend placement.  

Confirming placements

When a placement has been secured, the host school, mentor and pre-service teacher  receive an official confirmation email from the InSchool team. It includes the contact person’s details and placement information (name of educational setting, dates, mentor teacher and class). This will be sent to your student email address so please make sure you have activated it or redirected it to your personal email address. Confirmed placements may also viewed in InPlace.

Meeting before placement at education setting 

Once the placement has been confirmed, the pre-service teacher arranges a time to meet the education setting contact person/mentor teacher prior to the placement. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss: 

  • dress code

  • use of mobile phones

  • start and finish times (minimum 7.5 hours per day)

  • yard duty, meetings

  • absences

  • school expectations for professional conduct

  • approaches to behaviour management 

  • classroom routines  

  • focus of observations  

  • teaching programs and preferred teaching methods  

  • lesson planning format and detail  

  • when lesson plans will be submitted 

  • frequency and form of mentor teacher feedback  

The placement guidelines, requirements, and student agreement can help guide this discussion.  

Excursions and camps

We encourage pre-service teachers to attend excursions and camps during placement however a travel request will need to be entered into a CDU system and approved before the travel occurs. This involves completing a risk assessment (on the phone) with a member of the InSchool team. 

To arrange this, contact inschool@cdu.edu.au or call 08 8946 6602. It is not possible to attend an excursion or camp with out a risk assessment.