4.3. Visits

Students should normally be visited at least once whilst on placement. For long placements i.e. a year, 2 or 3 visits are recommended. Where students are working overseas it may not be possible to visit in which case a telephone conversation or online/video conferencing meeting should be considered as an alternative.

Where students are on a long work placement, it may be appropriate to consider 2 or more different placements within the time period, one or which is overseas. In this case the placement in the UK should be carried out first whereever possible and the student visited, so that the student is clear about their responsibilities and the learning outcomes of the placement before travelling overseas.

The setting up of visits can be the responsibility of the placement administrator or the student. The latter gives the students greater ownership of the placement and is recommended.

Visit Structure

The aims of the visit are:

  • To check the student is working in a suitable environment with respect to Health and Safety.
  • To determine and assess the student's progress, through discussion with the student and the placement provider.
  • To deal with any issues regarding the student and the placement.
  • To establish links with the placement host.

A proposed structure for a visit is:

  • The visiting tutor meets with both the student and placement host and explains the purpose of the visit. The student is then asked to leave the room and complete a student self assessment formThe visiting tutor then discusses the student's progress with the placement host who completes a placement provider assessment form. As they complete the form, they describe the student's work to the visiting tutor.
  • Once completed the placement host is asked if they are happy for the visiting tutor to feedback the placement host's assessment to the student.  The student returns with their completed form and is seen by the visiting tutor on their own. This enables cross reference with what the placement host says the student has been doing and what the student says they have been doing and allows the student to comment openly on their placement.
  • The student discusses their self assessment and the work they have been carrying out and the visiting tutor can determine from comparison of the student and placement provider assessments if the student is accurately aware of their progress. Feedback is given to the student on the placement providers assessment. Normally the student assesses themselves similarly or lower than the placement host which is acceptable.  If the student assesses themselves higher than the placement host, this indicates the student is not reading the signals from the placement host regarding their progress correctly and the visiting tutor will need to deal with this. It may be necessary for the visiting tutor to speak to the placement host or preferably for the student to do so, to resolve this issue.

Additional points to consider:

  • Where log books are used, these should be discussed with the student to ensure they are completing them satisfactorily (see assessment).
  • Student should also be reminded of the learning outcomes for the placement and associated assessments.
  • Both the placement provider assessment form and the student self assessment form are based on the job description and include the academic requirements.  The form may also include assessment of employability skills.
  • The visiting tutor may also ask for feedback from the placement provider on the work placement processess which is reported to the placement co-ordinator.
  • The visiting tutor should be provided with information/training on what is expected during the visit (see example visiting tutor information).