Gain first-hand experience of the teaching profession

COVID-19 vaccination and placements

Although the Emergency Management Direction (requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccination to work in an education or early childhood setting) has ended, individual employers have varying vaccination requirements that you need to be aware of and consider in relation to your professional experience placement.

Many placement sites continue to require COVID 19 vaccination as a condition of attendance, including a third dose of an approved vaccine.
In order to be matched to a placement,you need to disclose your vaccination status to the Professional Experience Office (PEO) via InPlace, and you need to provide written authorisation for the PEO to disclose your vaccination status to sites by emailing EDC-placement@unisa.edu.au. This information will be shared with sites to support their risk and safety assessments in deciding whether they can support the placement.

If you are unvaccinated, you are at risk of not receiving a placement as sites across all schooling and care sectors may refuse to have an unvaccinated Preservice Teacher on site and the PEO may not be able to source a placement for you. If you do not advise the PEO of your vaccination status a placement may not be sourced for you, and you may not be allocated a placement.

If you have a medical certificate or letter from a legally qualified medical practitioner certifying you have a medical exemption from receiving a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine on either a permanent or temporary basis, please upload this to InPlace.

Vaccination appointments can be booked online.

Additional information:

Department for Education

COVID-19 vaccination policy for non-employees (PDF 298KB)
COVID-19 vaccination requirements FAQs

Catholic Education South Australia

Catholic Education South Australia COVID 19 Vaccination Policy (PDF, 249KB)

Professional Experience Office virtual reception students
Monday - Thursday, 1pm – 2pm virtual reception
PLEASE NOTE: When you log into the Zoom session you will be placed in a virtual waiting room until a team member is available to speak with you.
For queries outside of these times please email EDC-placement@unisa.edu.au

Professional experience placement courses differ from most other courses as they include course work on campus as well as learning time at educational sites through placements. Depending on your program, placements can take place in a variety of care and school settings, including in rural and remote locations. Placements enable first-hand experience of the teaching profession and help develop your understanding of teaching contexts and of different teaching roles.

Placements help you put your university course work into practice and integrate learnings from your placement and supervising teacher/s back into your course work. Over time you will become more involved with all aspects of teaching, including planning, teaching and evaluating learning experiences, preparing learning materials, addressing student needs, maintaining appropriate behaviour and engaging with extracurricular activities. During placements you will also experience a professional community of teachers, and will undertake yard duty, attend staff meetings and participate in professional development where appropriate.

You must be adequately prepared for placements. Understanding all aspects of your placement gives you the maximum benefit from this valuable learning experience and ensures that all places in host school communities are filled with appropriately prepared preservice teachers (PSTs).

At the heart of the teaching profession in South Australia is a commitment to the education, learning, protection and wellbeing of learners that is aligned with the Teacher’s Registration Board of South Australia code of ethics. During your placement you are representing UniSA as a preservice teacher and as a visitor to the site, and it is expected that you will behave professionally at all times and in accordance with the Australian Professional Standards of Teachers. While engaged in formal professional experience placements or work integrated learning experiences, PSTs are required to embody integrity, respect and responsibility aligned with the Teachers Registration Board code of ethics and the UniSA Code of Conduct for Students.

Your responsibilities

As a Preservice Teacher (PST) entering the teaching profession, it is your responsibility to monitor and provide evidence that you meet eligibility requirements for professional experience placements. You are responsible for meeting several critical deadlines associated with placement prerequisite requirements to be eligible for placements. View the specific requirements for your course below: 

It is your responsibility to manage all prerequisite requirements by uploading the relevant evidence and documentation to InPlace (login required). The due dates for completing the requirements for each placement will also be communicated by the Professional Experience Office (PEO). Professional experience placements cannot be released until all prerequisites have been met. There are six prerequisite areas. Your personal requirements may vary depending on whether you are enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate course, and which year of your program you are currently in (e.g. a name badge must be obtained in first year, but can then be reused in later years). Failure to meet these requirements by the due dates as advised by the Professional Experience Office could result in you:

      • being ineligible to undertake placement
      • being required to withdraw from the course.

Please note: if course withdrawal takes place after the census date, a fail grade may be recorded for professional experience and this may result in an extension to the duration of your program.

Program details 

  • unisa-student Placement options minus-thin plus-thin

    Having practical classroom experience is important, that’s why we get you to start placements in your first year of study. You will complete up to 105 days of professional experience during your degree in a range of early childhood, primary and secondary settings, with placements offered in both metropolitan and rural schools. You can also choose to complete an education-based internship in your final year or gain an international perspective by participating in an overseas placement.

    Metropolitan placements

    Gain first-hand experience of the teaching profession through a local placement.

    Regional placements

    We are very excited to introduce a new Regional Opportunity Program in 2020.

    Interstate placements

    There is a high demand for interstate placements, so Preservice Teachers need to contact the PEO to advise their preferences as early as possible.

    TESOL professional experience

    In the TESOL Professional Experience, PSTs are connected with experienced qualified teachers, recently qualified teachers, and novice PSTs.

    Placement preferences

    • Site exclusions minus-thick plus-thick

      The University values diversity of professional experiences to support the development of the Preservice Teachers. It is important that you experience a range of school contexts throughout your degree to give you a broad understanding of working with children and young people from diverse communities.

      To ensure diverse experiences, you are unable to attend the same site for more than one placement or internship. You are also unable to undertake a placement at a site where a close friend or family member works, where you have worked previously or currently work/volunteer, or anywhere you have attended as a student in the past five years.

    • Public or private transport minus-thick plus-thick

      We aim to match you to a placement that is within 90 minutes travel to/from your home. Please use your preferences to advise whether you will be travelling via public transport or a private vehicle. We use public transport routes and road travel maps to calculate travel distances.

      As per the Professional Experience Placement Agreement form, you should expect to travel up to 90 minutes from your home to any Professional Experience placement. If you are unable to fulfil this requirement, you can un-enrol from the relevant course and re-enrol when you are able to do so.

    • Metro, regional or interstate placement minus-thick plus-thick

      You need to let the PEO know where you are wanting to complete your placement. If you would prefer a placement up to 90 minutes from your Adelaide residence, please select metro. If you would prefer a regional or interstate placement please mark your preference accordingly. 

    • Residential address while on placement minus-thick plus-thick

      We use the address you have registered on InPlace to inform where you will be residing while on placement (except if you have advised a preference for regional or interstate).

      Please check that the address you’ll be residing in during your time on placement is lodged correctly on InPlace. If this address is incorrect, please update your address details via student information on Learnonline. Please note this change takes 24 hours to update in InPlace.

    • Speciality learning areas, major and minor for secondary minus-thick plus-thick

      Please advise us of any specialty learning areas, majors and minors using the preferences in InPlace.

  • classroom-teacher-present Managing your placements minus-thin plus-thin

    All placements are managed and allocated through our online tool, InPlace (login required). PSTs can access InPlace to determine the requirements of placement, to view and submit preferences, to review their placement allocation and to determine venue requirements. All relevant placement documentation is managed through InPlace and PSTs can use this tool to check their submitted documentation has been confirmed and verified.

    Placements undertaken by PSTs can be situated in metropolitan areas, greater Adelaide, and regional South Australia, with some opportunity for approved interstate or international placements. We strongly encourage PSTs to consider a placement in regional South Australia.

    All placements and negotiation processes are managed by the PEO team. This ensures PSTs suitability, compliance with placement and initial teacher education program requirements and supports quality system processes. To maintain this quality system, PSTs do not source their own placement.

    Contact the PEO team

Placement requirements

  • Assessment and reporting minus-thick plus-thick

    Formative assessment and reporting occur throughout placements. Supervising teachers provide regular verbal and written feedback to Preservice Teachers based on the observations of and discussions about their work. The university also requires that a formative Interim Report is completed for all Preservice Teachers by the end of week 2 of a block placement. A summative Final Report is then completed at the end of the block placement. The Supervising Teacher should discuss both the Interim and Final Reports with the Preservice Teacher. All performance evaluations are guided by the graduate level of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

    Interim report and related Action Plan

    The Interim Report is a formative document. Supervising Teacher(s) will discuss and complete an Interim Report with the Preservice Teacher by the end of the second week of the block placement. The Interim Report should clearly identify the Preservice Teacher’s strengths and any areas needing further development. Interim Reports can be used as an opportunity for goal setting for the remainder of the placement. If any sections of the Interim Report are judged to be ‘below standard’, an Action Plan must be implemented. Supervising Teachers will write the Action Plan with the support of the University Supervisor. Site Coordinators may also be involved in the writing of Action Plans. All Interim Reports and Action Plans must be sent to the Professional Experience Office.

    Learn more about the interim report process or view an interim report

    Professional Standards Preservice Teacher Development Rubric 

    A rubric is provided for each placement to help Supervising Teachers, University Supervisors, Preservice Teachers and Site Coordinators to understand the levels required for a Preservice Teacher to be successful during a specific placement. The rubrics for specific placements are provided as an attachment with the Interim Report.

    Final report

    The Final Report provides a judgement on achievement at the end of a placement. All components of the report need to be judged as satisfactory for the placement to be deemed a non-graded pass. If any sections of the report are judged to be unsatisfactory, the Preservice Teacher cannot be given a non-graded pass for that placement.

    The Final Report should indicate the level of development achieved by the Preservice Teacher and identify important areas of growth that have occurred during the placement. It is important that comments include rich descriptions and examples that highlight key aspects of the Preservice Teacher’s performance.

    An overall rating of satisfactory or unsatisfactory achievement is made by the Principal/Site Coordinator and Supervising Teacher(s). A link to the report is sent to the Site Coordinator by the Professional Experience Office and the completed report should be returned to the Professional Experience Office by the end of the week following completion of placement. Preservice Teachers will then receive a link to enter their comments; this should be returned by the Preservice Teacher within one week of receiving the link to the report.

    Working with multiple supervising teachers

    If a Preservice Teacher is working with multiple Supervising Teachers, it may be necessary for each Supervising Teacher to write comments and combine these onto the final report prior to return to the professional experience office. This is often the case in secondary settings where the Preservice Teacher is working in two or more Learning Areas.

    In non-secondary settings, where the Preservice Teacher works with multiple Supervising Teachers in a team-teaching situation, it may be more appropriate to complete one report. Supervising Teachers in a team-teaching situation can both write comments in the given space or can use a collaborative approach to capture pertinent information, with one person taking responsibility for writing and submitting the report.

    Assessment Reports

    Report 1: Assessment report on Preservice Teacher
    EDUC 2062 Professional Experience 2 (Profex 2)
    EDUC 3061 Professional Experience 3 (Profex 3)
    EDUC 4206 Professional Experience 4 (Profex 4)
    EDUC 5255 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection (ECP1 2019 cohort only)

    EDUC 5287 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 1 (ECP1)
    EDUC 5256 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection (ECP3 2019 cohort only)
    EDUC 5257 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 3 (ECP3)
    EDUC 5271 Reflexive Practice and Professional Experience 1 (RP1)
    EDUC 5272 Reflexive Practice and Professional Experience 2 (RP2)

    Report 2: Placement report Preservice Teacher
    EDUC 1081 Professional Experience 1 (Profex 1)

    Report 3: Placement assessment report Preservice Teacher
    EDUC 1044 Professional Experience Birth-3 (Profex 1 B-3)
    EDUC 5186 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 2 (ECP2)

    Termination/Withdrawal/Fail

    Any Preservice Teacher who is deemed by the Principal, Site Coordinator, Supervising Teacher and/or University Supervisor to be behaving unprofessionally (e.g. unsatisfactory attendance, preparation and/or teaching), or who is compromising the learning of the students/children, will have their placement terminated. In exceptional cases, an immediate termination can occur without going through the Action Plan process. All parties must keep dated written records to assist this process. The Professional Experience Office must be notified immediately if a placement is to be terminated.

    If a Preservice Teacher does not meet the Standards outlined on the Action Plan by the agreed review date, they will have their placement terminated and will receive a Fail grade for the course.

    Should a Preservice Teacher wish to terminate a placement, this should be discussed with the relevant Course Coordinator before any final decision is made. If a Preservice Teacher chooses to terminate a placement, the course result will be a Fail. Where appropriate, repeating a previously failed/terminated placement is allowed, and the Preservice Teacher can enroll when the next relevant course is offered.

    Alternate placements are not sought unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances. These circumstances are reviewed by a panel within Education Futures.

    Under any of these circumstances, the Preservice Teacher will be advised by the Course Coordinator to contact the Program Director for academic advice and, if required, the Student Support Services, for counselling.

    Supporting UniSA Preservice Teachers

    Preservice Teachers will be supported on campus by their Tutors and Course Coordinators. University Supervisors will support Preservice Teachers on placement. In addition, Course Coordinators will provide support to Preservice Teachers, school staff and University Supervisors as required during the placement. University support and counselling resources (available via Student Support Services) are available to the Preservice Teacher. Some useful contact details are provided below:

    UniSA Out-Of-Hours Crisis Line 1300 107 441 or Text 0488 884 163
    To make an appointment

    • Metropolitan campuses and external students 1300 301 703
    • Mount Gambier Campus (08) 8723 1999
    • Whyalla Campus (08) 8645 8233
  • Assessing your Fitness to Practice minus-thick plus-thick

    The Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements provide a framework for understanding what is required of PSTs. Using this framework, PSTs can demonstrate their professional responsibility and capability to fulfil the duties of the teaching profession including their duty of care for young people and themselves. The Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements underpin successful performance and achievement within initial teacher education programs. The framework focuses on Professional Experience Placements and other practice-based learning/work integrated learning experiences.

    For PSTs, it is crucial that you understand your personal responsibility in managing your fitness to practice, and your continued development and self-monitoring your capabilities against these requirements. You are not expected to begin the program demonstrating practice at a fully qualified professional level, but you will be expected to demonstrate development. Starting with your strongest capacity at the beginning of your program, you will demonstrate your progress through skills development throughout the duration of the program.

    Not all Inherent Requirements are assessed formally in courses, however the initial teacher education programs provide scaffolded opportunities to develop these areas through assessment and reflection opportunities. Examples of some of your opportunities for development can be found in the relevant program tables in the Inherent Requirements Developmental Opportunities (some courses will also address elements of these requirements).

    It is your professional responsibility as a PST to demonstrate meeting these inherent requirements to be eligible to proceed to professional experience placements and work integrated learning opportunities. If you are not meeting these requirements for any reason, there are processes that must be followed. These processes are outlined in the Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements document.

    Managing concerns about a PST’s Fitness to Practice

    The following procedure must be initiated when concerns are raised regarding a PST’s ability to meet each of the eight domains of Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements. Please note: concerns can be raised by peers, tutors, Course Coordinators, supervising teachers or others in contact with the PST who have concerns about their fitness.

    It is essential that any concerns of this nature are properly investigated. PSTs who are not fit to practice during a Professional Experience Placement may pose a risk to the public, placement host staff and children and young people, UniSA staff and other PSTs if they are permitted to participate in Professional Experience Placements. The University shall carry out the procedure described below in a manner that is as timely and discrete as reasonably practicable and provides procedural fairness for PSTs who are the subject of investigations. All information collected by UniSA as part of the procedure described below shall be retained and dealt with in a manner that is consistent with the confidentiality of PSTs’ personal information.

    The following circumstances are examples which could raise doubts about a PST’s ability to meet one or more of the Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements requirements and potentially cause a PST to be unfit to practice during a Professional Experience Placement.

    These examples are illustrative only and are not intended to be exhaustive:

    1. Evidence of chronic drug or alcohol misuse.
    2. Severe mental illness.
    3. Acting in a violent or aggressive manner.
    4. Intimidation of children/students, placement host staff, UniSA staff and fellow PSTs/students.
    5. Fraudulent or dishonest behaviour.
    6. Conviction of a criminal offence punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more.

    Where concerns are raised, they will be first addressed by the member of staff with whom the concern is raised. In each instance, that member of staff will determine whether the concern has merit and warrants escalation and will inform a superior staff member in consultation whilst following the appropriate procedure, as determined by the circumstances in which the concern is raised. For example, the concern may be raised during a Professional Experience placement, in response to an unsuccessful placement, or outside of a structured Professional Experience placement (see procedural flowchart of concern management in the Fitness to Practice documentation). Each of these instances may have differences in the management approach, but in the event that the concern is elevated, the matter will be managed according to the procedural requirements set out in section 4.3 Suitability for practice-based learning activities of the Assessment Policies and Procedures Manual wherein, if it is determined at each stage that a concern merits further investigation, the PST will be notified of the requirements by UniSA that may, following a meeting with the PST and Program Director, refer the matter to the Suitability Advisory Panel.

    Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements Guidelines and Procedures

    Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Concerns Process

    Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements developmental opportunities

  • Graduate Teaching Performance Assessment minus-thick plus-thick

    The Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) is a national requirement and designed to assess the theoretical understandings and skills of PSTs in the final year of their Initial Teacher Education (ITE) program against the Graduate Level of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The GTPA connects the PSTs’ theoretical understandings with their classroom practice and is a requirement for program completion and graduation. Through the GTPA, Preservice Teachers demonstrate that they can progress the learning of children/young people.


    The GTPA requires that Preservice Teachers undertake a cycle of plan, teach, assess, reflect and appraise. They will plan a teaching and learning sequence within a curriculum area or integrated curriculum areas that they will implement across the duration of the placement. The teaching and learning sequence that they plan will be based on initial data about the learners that they collect in the site, along with an initial diagnostic assessment that is included at the beginning of the learning sequence. The initial assessment data will inform planning for differentiation so that the sequence of learning is inclusive of all learners. Preservice Teachers will then teach the learning sequence during the final placement and collect assessment data throughout. This assessment data will inform in-the-moment pedagogical decisions that are responsive to the learning needs of all learners in the class. After teaching the sequence of learning, Preservice Teachers will reflect on their initial planning and how the sequence was enacted. They will then appraise their impact and consider the growth in learning that occurred across the sequence.

  • Planning, evaluation and reflection minus-thick plus-thick

    Planning 

    You must complete written plans for all your learning and teaching experiences. These plans must be shared with the supervising teacher in a timely manner before undertaking any teaching. The preferred format (e.g. hard or electronic copies) should be negotiated with the supervising teacher ahead of time. Written plans include:

    • detailed individual lesson plans
    • daily planners
    • weekly timetable
    • unit planners.

    Your planning capabilities will reflect the stage you are at in your program.
    All planning should consider the site’s context, curriculum documents (e.g. Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2011)), Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and Council of Australian Governments [DEEWR and CAG], 2009) and any other systemic documentation (e.g. Teaching for Effective Learning Framework [TfEL] (Department of Education and Children’s Services, 2010)).

    Evaluations 

    Evaluations are written for each teaching experience. These will initially focus on individual teaching experiences and will build to evaluations of whole days. Each evaluation should focus on the students’ learning and the PST’s teaching and learning. Useful guiding questions include:

    • To what extent were intended learning outcomes achieved?
    • What went well?
    • What individual/group/class needs should be noted for attention?
    • What needs programming or follow up due to interruptions, lack of time, students’ interests etc?
    • What should I try to improve in my own teaching and/or management?
    • What do I want to discuss with my supervising teacher and University Supervisor?
    • What needs programming or follow up due to interruptions, lack of time, students’ interests etc?

    Reflection

    It is expected that all PSTs will critically reflect on educational practice by engaging in personal reflection and professional dialogue with colleagues (peers, supervising teachers and other staff). PSTs can use a range of strategies for promoting reflection on their learning and teaching, these include the use of journals (for reflection on their learning) critical friends and peer observation, and debriefing. As a PST you are responsible for implementing strategies for reflection during your placement.

Get in touch

Got questions or need support? Please contact the Professional Experience Office (PEO) by submitting an enquiry below, or calling (08) 8302 6606. Our office hours are 9:00 am–4:00 pm Monday–Friday. 

Contact the PEO