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Responsibilities - practice placement educator

Our Trust  complies with the WFOT minimum standard by advocating that students will normally be supervised and assessed by a state registered OT with at least two years experience [Hocking & Ness 2002], all of whom have attended appropriate courses about education and reflection upon practice and continue to engage in professional development activities.

It is expected that all Practice Placement Educators have a copy of the University Handbook relevant to the student that they are supervising which should be used in collaboration with these guidelines.

The roles and responsibilities have been set out in key areas of work e.g. communication, supervision etc.


  • That each placement holds a placement resource file (hard copy or online access). This is the file that contains the information about the particular placement, its operational policies and procedures that assure the quality of practice education from the perspective of all stakeholders. This file may include for example, health and safety regulations and procedures, risk, support for practice placement educators and students, the student's induction process, and the learning opportunities available to the student [COT 2002]
  • That where possible, students have access to appropriate information resources such as the Internet, journals and publications held in the service setting. Attendance at pre-placement briefings held by the Universities, or use of their online briefings, is expected.

Learning contracts

  • An Individual Learning Contract is negotiated between the student and the practice placement educator on the expectations of the practice placement experience, taking account of the level of the student's education in relation to the aims and objectives, learning outcomes and assessment of the particular practice education module.
  • It is evident from a learning agreement and placement programme that the practice placement educator in collaboration with the student has identified, developed and used learning opportunities to support the achievement of placement outcomes.

Supervision and support

  • Practice placement educators araccessible during working hours for direct or indirect supervision and there are appropriate contingency arrangements to ensure client safety and continuity of learning when the practice placement educator is absent for planned or unexpected reasons.
  • Appropriate models of supervision are offered by the named practice placement educator, with a minimum of one hour of formal supervision per week [Hocking and Ness 2002]
  • There is a planned approach to the amount, type and frequency of supervision to allow progression from observing practice to independent practice.
  • Supervisory strategies take into account individual learning styles and use adult learning methods to support the development process There is awareness of the additional support systems available when supervising exceptional or failing students or those with special needs.
  • Students are aware of the academic and pastoral support available whilst on placement. When students are working independently or with supervision, all learning, teaching and supervisory methods are designed to assess and manage risks, to assure the safety of clients and carers, ensure consent and confidentiality of clients and their carers, and demonstrate respect for others.
  • The university will be informed if the PPE has concerns that the student is failing a placement. In these circumstances Occupational Health clearance maybe required.

Disclosed disabilities

  • If a student discloses a disability there is an expectation that 'reasonable adjustments' are made to make the placement accessible.
  • PPEs are encouraged to facilitate disclosure related to a suspected disability. If the student is suspected of having a disability but does not disclose when given opportunity, such as in supervision, then they will continue to be assessed on their competencies.
  • During induction students must be asked if they have particular support needs whilst on placement and what things they would find most helpful to facilitate learning during placement.
  • If a student discloses a disability whilst on placement and would like reasonable adjustments made the PPE is required to contact the OT central office and the student's university for advice and additional support.

Health and safety

Students must be made aware of the trust health and safety policies.It is assumed that conflict resolution and breakaway techniques are provded by the University prior to placement and are not routinely offered to students. Further training is however offered to students in higher risk placements e.g. PICU.Risks must be assessed. This includes the risk to the student and risk to others including staff and clients. The PPE must state what measures are being taken to reduce any risks.

Learning opportunities

  • Practice placement enables the student to experience the Occupational Therapy process with a range of people with different health and social care needs.
  • It is expected that PPEs will contribute to the ongoing student seminar programme.
  • There is evidence that the inter-professional team is engaged in the education of students.
  • There is evidence that opportunities exist for inter-professional learning and team working as part of the Occupational Therapy process.
  • The placement timetable shows time set aside each week for independent study.

Assessment and evaluation

  • There is evidence that practice placement educators are aware of assessment principles so as to assure valid, reliable and fair judgement.
  • Methods of assessment are employed to measure whether learning outcomes are met and to facilitate personal and professional development.
  • The outcomes of ongoing, experiential learning plus formal and informal supervision are shown in the practice placement report signed by a state registered occupational therapist.
  • The practice assessments demonstrate that the students are being assessed within the context of client-centred, inter-professional and inter-agency service delivery.
  • There is evidence that the assessments test fitness for practice as defined by the College of Occupational Therapists' Pre-Registration Education Standards (2014) and the Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics (2015)
  • Student feedback indicates that there are sufficient educational resources, staff and support to allow them to explore Occupational Therapy.


College of Occupational Therapists [2015] The Code of ethics and professional Conduct for Occupational Therapists. London: COT

College of Occupational Therapists [2014] Standards for Education: Pre Registration Education Standards.  London: COT

Hocking C, Ness NE (2002) Revised minimum standards for the education of occupational therapists. Perth: WFOT.