So, you’re about to start your first placement...

As I type this, the likelihood is that you’re getting ready to go into your placement school for the first time. My first piece of advice – do your research. Go on to the school’s website and get the feel for the type of school you’re going to be training in. The website will give you a flavour of the school’s ethos and what they’re all about. Look at the uniform, read the newsletter, peruse the staff pics, work out the type of things the school celebrates and champions. If there are any policies available, read them and arm yourself with a whole host of facts, figures and information about the school. Should you read the school’s latest Ofsted report? Maybe. But remember that the information in there could be fairly out of date and don’t let someone else’s judgement cloud your views on the school you’ll be part of.

It’s always a good idea to do some location research too. Find out exactly where the school is and see how long it will take you to get there…the last thing you want to do is be late on your first day. I would genuinely recommend having a go at driving over there before you start - making sure that if you’ve done the dummy run on a Sunday afternoon, you add time on for the journey on a Monday morning. Mornings in school can be very stressful times for staff and if they are expecting you to arrive at a set time, do your best to be there at least 5 minutes before that. Believe me, first impressions last. Often, school car parks can get very busy and you don’t want to arrive and not be able to get a space - adding more stress (and time) on to your day one arrival! It might be a good idea to speak to other PGCE students about car sharing. I did this on placement one, way back when, and found the time speaking to someone who ‘got it’ both on the way there and the way home, invaluable.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that preparation is key. It’ll help you make that really important first impression and get off to a flying start.

Good luck!

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