Teaching Session Absence

Teaching Session Absence

The scheduled teaching for ST1, ST2 and ST3 is an integral part of a trainee’s contract with HEE (via the Lead Employer), is paid time and is considered compulsory, not optional.

There will be occasions where a trainee is unable to attend a scheduled teaching sessions for a variety of reasons. These may include, but are not limited to: on-call rotas whilst in hospital posts, annual leave, sick leave and professional leave for exams. Trainees should therefore endeavour to attend teaching sessions that they are able to, anticipating that all trainees will miss some sessions.

Carole Kennedy, based at the Education Centre, is responsible for all Speciality Trainees in Bolton and maintains registers of attendance.

Part of the annual ARCP looks at overall attendance, and this includes review of attendance at teaching. Educational Supervisors may ask Carole for evidence of attendance at teaching as part of the ES report. Additionally, where a period of absence has been noted, the Education Department may contact your Educational Supervisor to ask about this.

Process for informing of planned absence of scheduled teaching

If you will not be attending teaching, you should inform Carole Kennedy at the Education Centre so that your register of attendance can be updated. If you wish, you may CC in gpeducatorsbolton@gmail.com to let the PCME (Kat or Seb) know not to expect you.

Questions about leave or attendance should be sent to Carole or the Training Programme Director


I’m ill and not fit for my clinical duties but now that teaching is virtual, should I still attend?

Trainees should only attend teaching if they are well enough to participate. Rest and recuperation when ill are important, so this should be prioritised. Doctors are the worst patients!

Do teaching sessions count when I’m calculating my annual leave entitlement?

Yes. Teaching sessions are paid, and attendance is expected in the same way as a clinical session. If you are taking a day off, and half of it is a scheduled teaching session, it would still count as a full day of annual leave (not 0.5 days)

I want to book a medical appointment, should I do it on a teaching day?

We would not advise treating teaching sessions any differently than clinical sessions. If you need to book a medical appointment, then leave for that will be granted regardless of the type of session missed as a result.

I will arrive late/need to leave early from a teaching session. Will my attendance be recorded?

The PCME hosting the session will use their discretion to determine if the attendance was meaningful and record as appropriate. In general, if more than half of a session is missed, then a trainee is likely to be recorded as absent. Please bear in mind that some sessions may not be able to admit unexpected latecomers.

My trainer has asked that I attend the practice and do a normal clinical session because there is no teaching scheduled. Can they do that?

The amount of clinical-to-educational time is fixed in a trainee’s job plan, and over an entire placement should average out to the amount stated.

We would encourage trainees to proactively considered how to best utilise educational time where there is no scheduled teaching, and agree this with their Educational Supervisor.

Trainers may offer additional educational time at the start of placements and around examination times, and thus it may be reasonable to provide a clinical session at a later date in return.

If a trainee feels that the clinical/educational split is not fair, then they should discuss that with the trainer/educational supervisor in the first instance, and with Nick Pendleton in cases where this does not resolve the issue.

What should I do when scheduled teaching isn’t taking place?

Trainees should consider their PDP and own needs, and proactively arrange activity with an educational focus.

These might include (but are most certainly not limited to) attendance at an outpatient clinic, time with community/multidisclipinary teams, “reflective surgeries”, e-learning, revision/practice groups.

If nothing has been arranged, a Trainer may suggest a clinical session as each and every patient contact is a potential learning opportunity.

I will miss scheduled teaching as I have an exam, is that ok?

The AKT and RCA/CSA exams are part of the GP ST programme, and Professional Leave will be granted for these days. Other examinations (such as the DCH, DFFP, DRCOG and others) are not considered part of training for the MRCGP, and study leave should be used to attend these.

I forgot to inform of a planned absence, what should I do?

Don’t worry! Let Carole know

The register says I didn’t attend but I did. What should I do?

We would strongly encourage all trainees to make a learning log for every teaching session they attend, in order to provide evidence of learning. This evidence would be sufficient to demonstrate attendance and would supercede an incorrect register. Carole can amend the record if contacted.

I’m a LTFT or out-of-sync trainee and the scheduled session isn’t appropriate for me to attend. What should I do?

If your Educational Supervisor/trainer is aware of what you are doing, there should be no problem.

We encourage LTFT and out-of-sync trainees to consider all three ST1, ST2 and ST3 teaching programmes and attend any session they feel may be appropriate. This may need discussion with supervisors to plan changes to clinical sessions.

Keeping a clear learning log will be the main source of a record of attendance for Educational Supervisors of LTFT/out-of-sync trainees.

Trainees can ask to be invited to virtual sessions that aren’t in their usual year-group by contacting the PCMEs via gpeducatorsbolton@gmail.com

Should I attend teaching on a zero day?

Zero days are added to rosters to ensure adequate rest before the next period of duty. Trainees are not expected to attend teaching if they are on a scheduled zero day. They may choose to do so if they wish, but should not be pressured into doing so.

We will add further Q&As as and when they arise.