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Placement Study - EDU00046H

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Nathalie Noret
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

Students may propose to undertake a period of work experience relevant to their programme in an education service or education-related activity, arranged by themselves, in place of an Optional Module in semester 5 (semester 1 stage 3) and assessed through a written report. Proposals must be submitted to the student's Programme Leader during semester 4 for approval before the end of Stage 2; the handbook gives more information.

Professional requirements

Students are reminded that they may need DBS clearance for some placements, and that they should establish this well in advance of the placement being approved. This is the student's responsibility.

It is the student’s responsibility to source and arrange a placement in an educational service or activity that is relevant to their programme of study. BSc Psychology in Education students' placements must be related to psychology in education.

All placements are subject to approval by the Education Board of Studies in semester 4, and all placements will comply with the current version of University of York Policy Statement on Work-Based Learning and Placements. This compliance will be established during the approvals process, by the module coordinator working with the student and the placement host, and monitored during the placement by the placement supervisor. Under normal circumstances, a student will be visited at least once on the placement by an academic member of staff in the department, typically the module coordinator or the placement supervisor. The student will have three meetings at the university with the placement supervisor during the course of the placement.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

  • None

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

The placement study module offers you the possibility of working towards the attainment of your Programme Learning Outcomes by experiencing and reflecting on the working of an education service or education-related activity in practice. It is not a theoretical exploration of the service or activity; neither is it principally an empirical enquiry into the service or activity. Rather, it is experiential learning supported by reading, reflection and critical analysis. For example, you might consider arranging a placement study in a Higher Education Institution's policy response team, a Forest School, or with a Local Authority's service for learners with special educational needs. The experience of arranging and carrying out work in the chosen education service or activity will enhance your employability profile, not only in general but also for the specific area (special educational needs provision, for example); this could help you target a particular career path.

Module learning outcomes

By completing a Placement Study module, you will come to know about and understand the operation of the chosen education service or educationally-relevant activity. You will be able to critically reflect on the challenges associated with providing the service or running the activity, for example in terms of the legislative environment, or social, economic and political pressures, or conflicting imperatives. You will also be able to evaluate the relationships between theoretical (research and scholarship) perspectives and policy drivers on the service or activity and its operation in practice. You will demonstrate self-awareness regarding the contribution you made during your experience and the associated strengths and areas for development in your work.

Module content

The proposal for a Placement Study, together with the arrangements for its establishment and conduct, will be developed by you, the student, initially under the guidance of your supervisor. A draft must be submitted to your Programme Leader and the module coordinator by the end of week 6, semester 4 of your programme. Responsibility for writing the proposal and setting up the placement lies with you, the student, but the Programme Leader and module coordinator will provide support, guidance and challenge. The final proposal should contain a clear and succinct statement of the aims of the particular placement study proposed; the setting of the Placement Study, with contact details; the material on which the Placement Study and the written report will be based; the methods by which this material will be obtained; and a timeline for the placement and the associated private study and assessment work. Once the proposal has been agreed with the Programme Leader, the written approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies will be sought, normally at the semester 4 Undergraduate Teaching Committee Meeting, after which the proposal will be put to the Board of Studies at the end of semester 4. You will not be allowed to undertake a Placement Study or to receive credit relating to any work done during a placement until the proposal has been accepted and approved at the Board of Studies meeting in the semester before the placement. The department will allocate a placement supervisor, who will be an academic member of staff in the department (this person may also be the module coordinator).

The term education service is interpreted very broadly to refer to the delivery of any educational experiences by a group of professionals in a designated area of work, or to the work of professionals dealing with educational issues, ideas and concerns. Examples of educational services are: adult education; educational administration; educational librarianship; educational research; education and training in commerce and industry; hospital education; museum education; the prison service; the school psychological service; vocational education. It includes the work of educational professionals within, for example, further, higher and adult education; play groups, nursery schools and other EYFS settings; primary schools; secondary schools; special schools; youth and community work.

The Placement Study is the equivalent of a semester’s workload on one optional module, but the placement itself will normally last for seven weeks and will normally take place in York or within easy travelling distance of York. Students may make a special case for a placement away from York, but still in the U.K., bearing in mind University residence requirements and the need to study for their other modules. The placement may involve more than one setting or venue.

Students will need to meet any additional costs of a Placement Study themselves, for example transport costs, although it may be possible for students to link some placements with sponsorship or exchange schemes.

A typical schedule for the work is as follows. The first week of the semester will involve preparation work for the placement. During Weeks 2 to 8 you will be expected to visit your placement regularly (two days a week would be typical); your schedule should take account of your university timetable. Whilst at your placement you should keep a diary of observations, reflections etc, and probably collect documents and data, with the agreement of the hosts. Although the placement study is not principally an empirical enquiry, you may plan and/or carry out the collection of some empirical data and/or analyse such data, if this is part of the service or activity or, for example, if you are asked by the service to carry out a small scale service evaluation; this can form part of your summative assessment report. The rest of the time each week will be spent in reading, preparation, analysis and writing. However, this schedule may vary markedly from study to study. For example, the placement itself may be more concentrated or more spread out. Additional material may be collected outside semester time.

In Week 9 you will present an oral progress report about your placement study to your placement supervisor (this is formatively assessed). In addition to this meeting, you will have two other keep-in-touch meetings with your departmental placement supervisor during the course of the placement study.

You will be required to submit for summative assessment a written report 3,000 words in length in the assessment period following the placement, based on your reading, any documents or data collected, and your diary.

Please note the following.

1. The Placement Study is an opportunity to investigate the issues involved in the delivery of an education service or activity. Your report thus needs to focus on the particular problems and issues faced by those professionals you have observed and spoken to. You will also need to draw upon published writings to contextualise your study and to interpret your observations and experiences.

2. The assessment of the report will follow the standard degree class grade descriptions for your programme. Of particular importance will be the extent to which you are able to highlight key issues from your documents, data and diary and relate these to existing literature on your topic. The Module Learning Outcomes emphasise critical reflection and self-awareness.

3. The report should have appropriate structure and content, covering the following

The area. What have you decided to look at and why? What literature (research, theory, policy) relates to this topic area? What are the main aims of your particular Placement Study?
The placement. How did you set up/ gain access to the service/setting? What does the service do? How is it organised? What did you do? What documents and/or data did you collect? How did you analyse your material and develop a sense of emerging issues? What did you contribute, and how effective was that?
Findings. What are the main things you found out from your Placement Study? How do these relate to your aims for the placement and to the existing literature you have reviewed? What challenges are associated with providing the service or activity?
Conclusions. Having completed this Placement Study, what do you feel you can now conclude about the way this education service operates and the issues facing those professionals involved in this service/setting? What are the implications of your conclusions? Can you make any recommendations for future organisation, policy or practice of educational services or settings of this kind?
References. List publications cited in your report using the standard APA format.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay (3000 words)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative assessment is embedded through the processes of working up the proposal for approval, through feedback from the host and from the visiting staff member, and through the formal formative presentation.

If a re-assessment is required in the summer reassessment week, this will consist of the essay in a revised form, accompanied by a brief (500 words max) commentary explaining how the essay has been revised in the light of feedback received.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay (3000 words)
N/A 100

Module feedback

The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

The important texts for the module will be specific to the placement. An interesting general read might be:

Blackwell, A., Bowes, L., Harvey, L., Hesketh, A. J., & Knight, P. T. (2001). Transforming work experience in higher education. British Educational Research Journal, 27(3), 269-285.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.