The government has stated that practical teaching practice placements should finish before 9 December and learning moved online by that date, so that students can get a covid-19 test, travel home for Christmas from that date and isolate as necessary. However, they also state that if you are deemed “operationally essential” and you are happy to stay until the end of term, you may do so. Please see the extract below.

It is the NEU’s position that teacher trainees should finish their placements in early December, and take the advice of their university or training provider to get tested and travel home for the Christmas break. The student travel window is 3-9 December, so if on a placement right up until 8 December, travel should be immediately after that. 

It is our view that teacher trainees should not be deemed operationally essential as a trainee should be working under the supervision of a qualified teacher, and should not be counted amongst the staff headcount. You may stay until the end of term if you are happy to do so and are deemed essential, but in no circumstances be put under pressure to do so. You should not be taking sole responsibility for classes. 

Your course provider should ensure that your placements are altered or rescheduled in order to give you plenty of time in classrooms and with in-school mentors, and work towards the teaching standards. 

It is important that you engage with your course and any online provision in the final week or two before term officially ends for the Christmas break. 

If you are unable to travel home and are staying in university accommodation, your institution should have a statement regarding their provision for your living arrangements over this period. If you have not read or been given such a statement, contact your student services office or course administrator.  

If you have any concerns, please contact the NEU . 

DfE info from Student movement and plans for the end of term - GOV.UK (

Postgraduate and final year undergraduate initial teaching training (ITT) trainees

As critical workers providing support to schools during this challenging time, postgraduate trainees and undergraduate trainees in their final year can continue their placement in person until the end of term, where they are operationally essential and content to do so.

For all placements that end in person earlier than planned, ITT providers should consider how to best use the remaining training time before the end of term. This may include remote centre-based or school-based training.