Frequently asked questions

Some of the questions that previous applicants have asked:

When will I go out on placement?

We place students throughout the academic year (September – July). We will contact schools with your details once you have received your DBS certificate, supplied character references and informed us of your availability.

Do I have to do the 15 days in a block, ie. 3 five day weeks?

No – many students prefer to arrange the placement for 1 day a week (this is more difficult to do in the summer term). When you have been assigned a working schedule you should not deviate from this unless negotiated with the Explore Teaching Team and the school.

How many hours count as a full day in a school?

The school day is usually from 8.30am to 3.30/4pm. If you have the opportunity to participate in team meetings or extra-curricular activities, this will add to your school experience. If you have any questions about extra hours you are asked to do please contact the Explore Teaching Team.

Will I have to find my own placement?

In most cases we will match participants to schools and colleges. If you have a particular school or college you would like to request for your placement, please provide details on the application form and we will work with you to make arrangements. The school must be a state secondary school or college.

Which school or college will I be placed in and when will I find this out?

We allocate students to placements depending on what area you live in and when you have requested to start. We also have strong school contacts in Central London. It may be the case that the schools in your local area are not taking students; in this case we may expect you to travel up to 1 hour or up to the length of your journey to university (whichever is the higher), as discussed in your interview.

Will I be expected to take a class on my own?

No – someone from the school or college should always be with you in the classroom.

Will the scheme count towards Initial Teacher Training?

No – however it will help you in your application and is good preparation. The Explore Teaching Standards Report includes teaching areas linked to the Professional Standards for teachers.

Can I take a break from my placement during exam periods?

Only if previously arranged with both the Explore Teaching Staff and the school staff at the start of the placement. It is important to inform us and the school on occasions when you are unable to attend your placement.

Will I have to complete a large portfolio of work for the scheme? I do have a lot of work to complete for my university course.

We have tried to make our Standards Report a quick and simple way of recording the areas of teaching you observe while on placement and your personal achievements. The more notes you make the more useful the experience will be for an application to Initial Teacher Training.

Is the scheme free of charge to join?

The scheme is free of charge to join. However we do ask for a £70 deposit as a sign of commitment, which is refunded on completion of the scheme.

I am working as a volunteer. Will I receive expenses?

  • Many schools provide school lunch and some reimburse travel expenses. You will have to negotiate this directly with the school.
  • We will help you to apply for the Living Expenses Support Scheme (LESS) to cover your expenses. This grant is applicable as long as you are a Home student and are receiving the full student loan.
  • There is also a limited Explore Teaching budget for reimbursing travel expenses. Priority is given to participants travelling to central London schools, located in TFL zones 1 and 2.

I am an International student. Am I allowed to do this placement within the terms of my visa?

If this placement is additional to your course, it is defined as ‘volunteer work’ and may be restricted by the conditions of your tier 4 visa. For further information contact Student Advice.

I have been awarded a University of Westminster Scholarship. Will this placement fulfil my scholarship volunteering requirements?

Unfortunately this volunteer work is not eligible for your scholarship requirement.

Which email address should I provide to the Explore Teaching team?

Most communication with you will be through email. Many of our emails are generated automatically and will be sent to your University email address. However, we are happy to contact you on your private email address when arranging your placement.