Dear Student,
 
Congratulations! We have been informed by the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) that you have been offered a provisional place on the Professional Master of Education (PME) programme in the Department of Education at Maynooth University. We really look forward to working with you over the next two years as you prepare for a career in teaching. This webpage contains information that will guide you through the next steps as you prepare for your time as a PME student teacher in Maynooth University.
 
Please note that acceptance of your place on the Professional Master of Education programme, together with the appropriate fee, must be returned to PAC by the specified date. The offer of the place on the programme is provisional for students who are completing their undergraduate degree.
 
Please be advised that further correspondence will be through email so you should regularly check your email account.
 
Garda Vetting
On 29th of April 2016 a new National Vetting Bureau Act came into force. The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 provide a legislative basis for the mandatory vetting of persons who wish to undertake certain work or activities relating to children or vulnerable persons or to provide certain services to children or vulnerable persons. 
 
All incoming students who will undertake school related practice on the PME must undergo a vetting process before being officially registered. This offer is conditional on your compliance with these new procedures and on the University subsequently receiving a satisfactory Garda Vetting disclosure on your application.
 
We will post a Garda Vetting Application Form and letter to you in May. Please complete the Garda Vetting Form fully and correctly as this is a vitally important document. You must then come to the Education Department in person with your completed form and additional documents. The reason for this is to verify your identity under the new Acts using the identity documents you present. An Garda Síochána has developed a 100 Point Check in relation to identity documents for guidance purposes and this will be explained in the letter we send to you. One piece of identification must include a photo. It is not possible for a family member or friend to present the identity documents: they must be presented in person. Maynooth University will then carry out the Garda Vetting process on your behalf.

School Placement
The experience of working in a school is a vital part of learning to be a teacher and securing a placement is a requirement of participating on the PME course. It is your responsibility once offered a provisional place on the PME course to make satisfactory arrangements for your school placement. The Department has built strong relationships with many schools and we will support you in the process of finding a placement. Applicants with disabilities should consult the Guidelines for Student Teachers with Disabilities
 
The school in which the placement is secured must be within a maximum radius of 160km from Maynooth. Please read carefully the following section in relation to school placement for 2017-18. Please also note that school placement days have been changed for PME students. From September 2017, Year 1 PMEs will be on school placement on Thursdays and Fridays and will be university-based on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Further details of placement days are available in our School Placement booklet.
 
Learning to be a teacher in the post-primary system involves experience both inside and outside the classroom. As part of the school placement, it is expected that you will teach some classes and also participate as fully as possible in the life of the school. As a student teacher, you are expected to co-operate in every reasonable way with the running of the school and to assist with school activities, provided that it does not interfere with your own classes or with your ability to be at Maynooth University for the full day on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You should not be included in the school’s timetable as if you were a qualified teacher. Rather it is expected that you should work with a co-operating teacher (or teachers) to teach some of the classes normally assigned to them. 
 
Applying for School Placement
It is advised that you strategically target a small number of schools for your school placement. Applications should be personalised (e.g., use the name of the principal) and show evidence that you have some familiarity with the school context. When contacting a school by telephone, email, letter or in person, you should:
 
If the principal/ deputy principal invites you to attend the school for interview or requests a meeting, this should be considered as a formal interview for placement. Consequently, you should:
 
If you have been accepted by a school where the principal (or nominee) has signed the School Placement Form, you may not subsequently change schools. If you decide at a later date not to accept the place on the PME, you must inform in writing the principal (or nominee) of the school who offered the placement (as well as informing PAC and the Maynooth University Department of Education).
 
School Placement Details
Co-operating teachers 
The support of co-operating teachers is greatly valued and appreciated by Maynooth University Department of Education. Co-operating teachers will allow you to work alongside or teach some of their classes over the course of the year. You are urged to work closely with co-operating teachers:
  • to agree overall schemes of work for a particular class well in advance;
  • to keep them informed of progress and/or difficulties;
  • to invite them to observe your classes, particularly early in the school year;
  • to actively seek out, listen to and act on their advice.
 
The co-operating teachers who work with you play no formal role in the assessment of school placement. However, the school placement tutors and university tutors will consult with the co-operating teachers and also with the school principal, or other staff members, as appropriate.
 
Placement visits and video recording
Student teachers are visited on a number of occasions during the year by at least two tutors: a placement tutor and a university tutor. Placement visits have a dual focus of supporting and advising you in relation to your practice and assessing your progress against agreed criteria. In this regard, tutors assist you in making realistic appraisals of your own work by focusing on lesson planning, classroom management, teaching and learning strategies, strategies for developing relationships with teaching colleagues and post-lesson evaluations.
 
As part of the PME, you will participate in both video and audio recording in your teaching practice school. Acceptance by a school of a PME student on placement from Maynooth University assumes permission for such recordings.
 
Dates and times 
Schools normally re-open in late August. In consultation with the principal or deputy principal, you should be present in the school from the beginning of the school year and attend induction/ orientation meetings, staff meetings and relevant subject meetings. 
 
Observation: You should be present in your placement school on Thursdays and Fridays from early September to observe classes and to become familiar with the school prior to beginning to teach.
 
School Placement dates: Your school placement begins in late August 2017 and ends in late May 2018. During this time, student teachers are expected to be present in their placement school throughout the school day on Thursdays and Fridays during school terms.
 
Block teaching: In addition to teaching on Thursdays and Fridays, there will be a 3-week block placement in January 2018 (8th January to 26th January 2018).
 
Teaching hours 
Following a period of observation until mid-September, you are expected to teach classes on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the academic year, and for five days a week during a period of block teaching in January. In order to facilitate the development of teaching skills, classes should have a minimum of 12 pupils. You should not be allocated classes that may be presenting undue difficulty to established staff.
 
Semester 1
You are expected to teach 4 classes per week: ideally 2 on Thursday and 2 on Friday, in semester 1. Schools are requested, wherever possible, to accommodate you with the same classes on Thursday and Friday, so that you have an opportunity to get to know the class.
 
Block Placement
Block teaching in January carries an expectation that you will teach 10 class periods per week.
 
Semester 2
In semester 2, you are expected to teach 6 class periods per week and to observe/ team teach 2 class periods with 3rd year students. The purpose of this observation/ team teaching is to enable you to gain an insight into how students are prepared for the State Examinations in June.
  
Subjects 
You should teach at least two subjects as part of your school placement. Students with two recognised teaching subjects (double honours degree) must teach classes in their teaching subjects as defined by their final degree subjects. Ideally, you will teach half of the required number of classes in each one of your teaching subjects
 
Students who have a single honours degree or one recognised teaching subject must teach the majority of classes in that subject and may teach all classes in the subject. Up to 25% of the classes (i.e. 1 of 4 or 2 of 8) may be used to expand your teaching repertoire. This may involve teaching a subject that you have studied at third level (provided that this subject is taught to first year pupils only); teaching Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE); taking part in team teaching; delivering a specific interest module for Transition Year or another initiative that the placement school is promoting.
 
Subject Methodologies
The following school subjects are supported with specific teaching and learning methodology seminars :
 
  • Irish, English, French, Spanish, German
  • Business Studies (Accountancy, Business, Economics)
  • Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • Mathematics
  • History, Geography, Music, Religion
  • Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE)
  • Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE).
 
During the PME, students are required to take specific courses in the teaching of their subject(s).
 
After you Secure your Placement
Once you secure a placement and the form has been signed by the school, a scanned copy or photograph of the PME Year 1 School Placement Form 2017-18 should be emailed as soon as possible to Ms Anne Lavelle at school.placement@mu.ie. Please ensure that this scan/ photograph is clearly legible. You should retain the original signed copy in a safe place for your own records. If you would like a copy of the School Placement Form in Irish please click on the following document Foirm Shocrúchán Scoile PME 1 2017-18. As well as returning your School Placement Form, you must also complete the following online form available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PMEYear1SchoolPlacement once you have secured your school placement.
 
Securing a school placement can be a challenging process for some student teachers, so please start as early as possible and use any professional or personal contacts you may have. Many schools make decisions relating to school placement during the summer and some school placements are not finalised until the start of the new school year. Please note that schools generally close for holidays during July and August so we recommend that you prioritise securing your school placement before the end of June. 
 
If circumstances arise that cause you to reverse your decision to accept the provisional place on the PME, it is crucial that you inform this Department and PAC without delay. It is also necessary to inform the principal of the school who offered you a school placement of the change, if applicable.
 
The following documents and databases may be of use when beginning the process of securing a school placement for next year:
The Next Steps:
  1. Ensure you have accepted your place with the Postgraduate Application Centre (PAC).
  2. Complete your Garda Vetting form when you receive it in the post and return it immediately to Ms Anne Lavelle in Maynooth University Department of Education. You will then receive further instructions about presenting your identity documents to finalise this process.
  3. Secure a school placement and send a scan/photo of the school placement form to school.placement@mu.ie.
  4. Complete the online form in relation to school placement at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PMEYear1SchoolPlacement
 
For further information on school placement or to discuss any special requirements, please contact the School Partnership Co-ordinator, Dr. Thomas Walsh (school.placement@mu.ie).
 
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best as you take these important steps before starting the PME programme in Maynooth. We will be in touch with you in early August with further details.
 
We look forward to meeting you in early September 2017.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
                    
Ms. Angela Rickard                                                             Dr. Thomas Walsh
Course Leader PME Year 1                                                School Partnership Co-ordinator