Supporting placement year students as an Academic Tutor
Once a student begins their placement year, the school / department are responsible for taking a lead in maintaining regular contact and support to ensure students are on track to meet the learning outcomes for their placement year.
Contact points during the placement year may include a variety of activities, including meetings with academic tutors, mid-term placement visits and optional remote group meetings on Teams with placement peers.
To help placement year students feel connected to the University during their placement year and for continuity of the student experience, we advise that all Academic Tutors maintain the same frequency of contact with placement students as they do with tutees on campus.
Please note, it’s very common for students to encounter settling in issues within the first 3 months of their placement. Students normally start their placements during the summer vacation period where there is limited contact from the University, however an email checking in on placement tutees during this time can have a positive impact on their experience.
Meetings can be held remotely, and useful conversations may include:
- Settling in on placement / placement learning experience / progression on placement
- Any changes that directly impact the student or their programme while they are away or in preparation for their return.
- Module selection or preparation for dissertations / project work
If students raise any major concerns about their placement experience, please refer these directly to the Placement Tutor who will coordinate the appropriate support.
There may be times when it is more appropriate for the Academic Tutor to take the lead in conversations with their tutees, for example:
- Exam results. Please be aware that if a placement student fails at first attempt at Part 2 examinations, they should be advised to liaise directly with their placement provider to organise time off for revision and resit their exams. Failure at first attempt does not impact a student’s progression to or on placement, but failure at second attempt will. They may also be referred to Study Advice for assistance during this time.
- If a student fails second attempt, unfortunately they would need to inform the placement provider that they are no longer a student but could remain in employment as agreed. The placement provider would then need to decide whether they are able to continue to offer employment
As this is often a very a sensitive time for students as they are away from the university and often concerned about the impact to their placement, please do liaise with the Placement Tutor, The Welfare Team and Head of Student Placements for any additional support required.
Student Welfare on Placement
If Academic Tutors have any concerns regarding a student’s welfare during their communication with placement students, they may still be referred to the Welfare Team even though they are remote from campus. During the placement year students often feel disconnected from their friends and peers, and may encounter issues with homesickness, financial worries or concerns about their return to University. All of these issues can be supported by our Welfare Team. For further information please see: https://sites.reading.ac.uk/academictutors/referring-to-support-services/personal-support/student-welfare-team/
If your student requires specific adjustments or further support for their placement due to a disability or for their mental health, they will receive additional support. These will coordinated by the placement tutor alongside the placement team and appropriate student services colleagues who may ask for your input.
It is also advised that students undertaking placements away from their home country should receive more frequent monitoring and support, until the student has indicated they have established a suitable support network at their placement location. This support should be coordinated by the Placement Tutor and may include academic tutors.
Placement Students have access to a placement care card with their key contacts should they require assistance at any point. https://www.reading.ac.uk/essentials/-/media/essentials/files/careers/placements/placement-student-care-card.pdf
Students on a student Route / Visa, will also require regular attendance monitoring during their placement. This is coordinated by the central placement team and by Henley Placements in HBS.
Useful links and Resources:
We have a suite of placement information on Essentials on how to manage their placements including key contacts, a placement handbook, how to have their placement authorised and much more.
Here is a downloadable list of Placement Tutors.