See what some of our undergraduate students have to say about their experiences of the placement module.
Chloe, a BA Education Studies undergraduate, on how she secured her placement with Ofsted.
Jinjue on volunteering in a SEN school in her first year
I have always been interested in working with children and pupils or in any form of school settings. Special educational needs (SEN) school was something I’ve only known about very recently, and I never had the chance to work in such setting. I wanted to do something related to education outside of lectures, and Warwick Volunteers offered many opportunities for students to volunteer in various school settings and different areas and subjects in education. Student tutoring in SEN schools captured my attention because it was an entirely new concept that I had never experienced. I hoped that I could gain understanding of working with pupils with special needs.
My favourite part of volunteering is the challenges that I will encounter every single class. Even though it is the same class with the same students, there are always continuous and unexpected situations happening that needed handling. I have come to realise the amount of support needed just for a class of ten students, and I feel very satisfied and rewarded when I am able to help the teacher and manage a few students.
My experience in a SEN school had given me a flavour of how it feels to be a SEN teacher. It tells me the possible difficulties I might encounter, and the skills I need to manage the students; both academic and personal. It is also a good experience for me to consider if being a SEN teacher would be a good fit for me and a way for me to reflect on whether this is a career that I can continue to persist with passion throughout lifetime.
Jinjue found her volunteering through Warwick Volunteers. See all the great opportunities they offer and information about requirements for volunteering in schools and working with children.
Jo tells us about her work placement with a charity
I completed my placement with the UK charity ‘Just Around the Corner’ (JAC). JAC is a charity committed to engaging with young people and their families, enabling and empowering them to make positive choices in their lives, and JAC works with over 2000 young people each year.
The Rehoboth Centre provides a number of different activities which encourage the personal development of young people. JAC also provides Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) which enables participants to learn about themselves and others by engaging in activities with the horses and then processing and discussing their thoughts, beliefs, behaviours and patterns. Most of the young people who visit JAC are struggling with behavioural, emotional, social or learning difficulties and the EAL sessions are delivered to young people in small groups or on a 1-1 basis.
My initial reason to complete my placement at JAC was to gain experience in a Charity setting- I aimed to understand how working in a school differed from working in a Charity both practically and in terms of policy and procedures. My second aim was to learn more about Equine Assisted Learning and how this could help children with a wide range of difficulties. Finally, I hoped to undertake my own craft related project within the charity with a focus on self-esteem and confidence building.
When I started this course, I believed that after I completed my degree I would train to become a teacher. However, I have realised that teaching is not the future career for me. Therefore, this placement module gave me the opportunity to explore a different aspect and area of education. I would highly recommend students contacting their local children’s and/or young people’s charities to gain experience if they wish to explore a different career path. My time with JAC has made me revaluate my career aspirations and I am now exploring the option of developing a career in Art Therapy.
Observing and participating in the EAL sessions run by the specialists was one of my favourite parts of the placement; however, my favourite part was creating and delivering my own craft-related session to two groups of young people. The session included creating posters about what made them special and I showed the young people a variety of different drawing techniques which they found fascinating and gave them the confidence and inspired them to produce their own drawings, including one of the young people who initially refused to participate as he thought he was no good at drawing. I found this experience of working with young people outside a school setting extremely rewarding.