Pre-Interview Work Experience Part One: Finding a School

3

2nd February 2016

As I’d decided to switch my course fairly late on in the year I carried out my work experience fairly late. This was made even longer due to waiting for my DBS check to come through. The check itself cost £44 for the full check. The form itself you must obtain from an institution such as your college or university, after which you fill it out and return it to them.

I worked part-time at a supermarket, which meant that unfortunately I could only do mornings at my ‘placement’. I had already spoken to the Deputy Headteacher about this to check it was okay with the school to have that arrangement. Speaking of Deputy Head, I’ve left out a huge chunk; I’m yet to tell you how I even found a work experience placement, my apologies! My intention is to provide you with as much information as possible, and so whilst I know for some readers a lot of details may seem unnecessary, for others, I know hearing someone else’s experiences can help in knowing where to start and what to do.

Initially, I was looking for placements in Birmingham as that’s where I was living at the time, and I can tell you that it was by no means an easy task. But, I don’t want this to put you off. Most students begin their work experience, or at least their search for it, a lot earlier than myself, as I began looking in February. By the time I’d rung four or five of the local primary schools I’d found online, they had already filled their ‘quota’ of work experience placements. I simply googled primary schools along with my postcode, in order to find schools that I could realistically travel to every day.

For each primary school I found, I emailed the ‘contact us’ email address provided on the website, and I also rang each one in turn. My email simply explained that I was applying to a Primary Education with QTS course at Birmingham City University, and that for that, I needed to do some work experience. I also looked at the Ofsted reports for the schools I had chosen, and in my email spoke of how I had read their latest Ofsted report and how it puts them amongst some of the best schools in the area. I requested that they could get back to me with any information or help they could give me.

I compiled a list of all the schools I wanted to contact, and alongside them wrote the email address and phone number, and a column to write in their response so that I could remember when I came back to it. I chose to avoid religious schools as I don’t personally have a religion, and would therefore be better suited to a non-religious school as it is closer to what I am used to. But that’s not to say that you should be put off by religious schools, it is simply just that in my search for a school initially it was something I was more comfortable with.

Eventually, a lady got back to me and arranged to sort a time for me to carry out my work experience once my DBS check had come back. However, due to unforeseen circumstances I moved out of my student accommodation and back home with my parents. As soon as I knew this was going to happen I contacted my old primary school that both I and my brother attended in Crewe. I was lucky in that they got back to me very quickly and asked for the dates I would be available to start. I also made sure I contracted the original Headteacher from the school in Birmingham to explain the situation to her, and to thank her for the opportunity and her time. I spoke with the Deputy Headteacher via email and he went on to put me in touch with the Year 3 teacher that I was going to be placed with.

I’d like to take the next post to talk you through my week and a half of my work experience. So if you’re curious about what to expect please feel free to read on; if you’re simply interested in the process itself, please skip to the next post (after part two)-I won’t be offended, I promise! For those of you still reading, I’d like to think that maybe you’re curious or excited, or that maybe you yourself have had your work experience and just want to see how someone else got on. I welcome all of you warmly, regardless of what brings you here.

I hope I’ve captured your interest for long enough to keep you around to read more, and would like to point you to part two of my pre-interview work experience post. Thank you for reading!

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