SEP Guidance for Participants


How does the School Experience Programme work?

West Essex SCITT are able to provide school experience at their Lead School, St John’s CE Primary School in Buckhurst Hill, Essex. Once you have applied for your place on the School Experience Programme through the SEP Portal on the Get into Teaching website:

you will be contacted via email by the SCITT’s SEP Co-ordinator to confirm arrangements for your visit. Sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, St John’s school may not be able to accommodate you on the date originally booked. If this is the case, you can arrange an alternative date with the SEP Co-ordinator.

Please be advised that if you are not from the local area and cannot access St John’s School easily, it may be advisable to approach schools local to you to see if they are accepting volunteers for school experience instead of participating in our scheme.

What is St John’s School like?

St John’s is a 2-form entry, C of E primary school set on the outskirts of Epping Forest, just outside London. We have classes ranging from Reception up to Year 6. Due to high demand and other commitments that our teachers may have, we cannot guarantee that we can offer experience in more than two different year groups.

Do I need to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check?

Yes, our schools require that you must have an up-to date DBS check in place (less than 3 years old) and this must be brought with you on the day of your visit. If you apply for a place on the SEP programme and do not have a DBS, we will not be able to honour the booking. We are also unable to sponsor candidates to apply for a DBS check.

What criteria do I need to meet to take part in the SEP programme?

Participation in the School Experience Programme is subject to compliance with the following criteria:

  • have an up to date DBS check in place (less than three years old);
  • have completed a short personal statement;
  • be considering applying for a Primary teacher training programme.

I need more than one day of school experience; can you still help?

We are unable to offer 10 days of school experience, but will endeavour to offer you as many as we can. Placement days can be taken consecutively, or spread over different weeks and/or months. After your initial visit, you should contact the SEP Co-ordinator via email to negotiate further placement days. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to offer you the exact days that you request, but will do our best to accommodate you.

What can I expect?

Typical school visits will include opportunities to talk to different teachers and see a range of lessons and age groups being taught. Each SEP participant will have varying levels of experience so it’s impossible to set a specific programme that will be suitable for everyone. If you have any specific requests you should arrange these directly with the SEP Co-ordinator. If for instance you have some experience in observing lower year groups and would like more time with older pupils, ask if this can be accommodated. Or if you have an interest in a particular subject, you could ask whether it would be possible to observe lessons in that subject. Please note that your experience will be mostly observational, although you may be permitted to take a more active role in the classroom by supporting groups of children, for example.

If you are interested in applying for the School Direct ITT programme offered by West Essex SCITT, then it is advisable to drop in to the SCITT office while you are at the school to chat to a member of our staff. We will be able to provide you with more information about the course and offer advice and guidance about the application process.

Do I need to prepare anything before my visit?

Unless you have specific things that you want to get out of your visit, just take a notebook and ensure that throughout the day you take notes. This will help you to reflect on your visit in your teacher training application and interview. Remember, you will be entering a professional work place so your professionalism is required at all times. St John’s have a strict dress code, which will be sent to you before your placement. You will also be asked to fill out a Visitor Information Form before your visit, which you will receive via email before your placement day. This should be emailed back to the school prior to your visit or brought with you on your first day.

The School Experience Programme can be a great way to make contacts and could even lead to future employment opportunities, so ensure you present yourself in the best possible light.

After your school placement

Please contact the SEP Co-ordinator on to arrange further placement days, as required, or to give any feedback about your visit. This will really help us to ensure we are offering the best SEP possible. Good Luck!

If you do proceed with a teacher training application remember to apply to the West Essex SCITT School Direct Programme. We look forward to hearing from you.