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Student Placement System

SPS is a national system that enables the automatic matching of student teachers to school placement offers throughout Scotland.

GTC Scotland hosts SPS on behalf of the universities, local authorities and schools. These users manage the processes that are required to place a student into a school, including imputing the data which enables SPS to process placement matches, and confirming these matches once they have been made by the system.

The successful placement of a student requires that the processes across school, local authorities and universities align thus allowing the automated system to successfully complete the process. Students are placed using the SPS within an agreed partnership in the first instance. GTCS is not involved in this decision process.

Video Guide to the Student Placement System

How does SPS match students to school offers?

SPS will try and match students to school placements however this is dependent on the university course requirements for school placements and on the numbers of offers received from schools for these placements. There are also a range of competing factors for this including location, travel to the school placement and staffing within schools.

In placing students using the automated processes, SPS takes account of the following factors:

  • nature of the placement patterns required by each university programme
  • maximum travel time (agreed by universities, local authorities and schools as 90mins from a student’s address)
  • students’ denominational status
  • if the student is a Gaelic learner
  • subject or stage for placement in a nursery, primary or secondary school department
  • offers made by schools “opting into” SPS that meet these requirements
  • students with special circumstances (for example students with disability, exceptional childcare arrangements and carers)

How does this impact you as a student?

If you have any questions about student placements, then you should contact your university placement coordinator in the first instance.

We have created a handy information sheet that can tell you more about student placements.

Roles and responsibilities of the University, Local Authority and School

In order to ensure that the wide range of needs of the various Initial Teacher Education (ITE) establishments are met, a Student Placement Management Group (SPMG) was established to oversee the management of the system. SPMG has agreed SPS protocols to ensure that all partners in the process are aware of their role and responsibilities. These are:

  • universities working with their partnership local authorities to secure sufficient student placements in their partnership schools
  • schools to ensure that all school offer information is showing on SPS prior to matching
  • universities inputting course and student data to SPS to allow matching to commence
  • universities, local authorities and schools then confirm student placement matches through SPS
  • universities and local authorities have an opportunity to reject placements and engage in manual matching

In addition, an SPS User Group with membership from all parties considers the practical and technical issues relating to student placements and reports to SPMG.


Got a question?

Contact our Student Support Team:
T: +44 (0)131 314 6000