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 your Education Supervisor by email so that a log of attendance can be updated ready for your ES reports. Please copy in email@example.com to let the PCME (Kat or Seb) know not to expect you.
Questions about leave or attendance should be sent to your Educational Supervisor, Carole Kennedy or the Training Programme Director
Structured Teaching Programme Attendance Policy
The full Bolton STP Policy can be viewed here, and should be read in accordance with the FAQs below. An excerpt of the policy detailing how to report a non-attendance at the structured teaching programme is included below:
- Send an email to the Educational Supervisor and copy in the firstname.lastname@example.org address
- Please note that it is insufficient to inform only the PCME/Education Centre staff of absence – the ES must be included in all correspondence.
- Include the date and time of the session (due to be) missed and include a brief description of the reason, for example:
- Annual Leave
- Zero Day/Rest Day
- Sick Leave
- Caring Responsibility
- Professional Leave (meeting with TPD or other HEE/Deanery staff)
I’m ill and not fit for my clinical duties but the teaching is remote/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)
Trainees should be aware that administrative staff at Trusts and GP practices check to ensure trainees have attended teaching when they have not requested leave on educational sessions.
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 consider 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 the TPD in cases where this does not resolve the issue.
What should I do when scheduled teaching isn’t taking place?
Firstly, you should consider your job plan and what arangements are made in your speciality for teaching – many specialities invite trainees to their departmental teaching or other events of clinical value which account. for the educational portion of the contract.
Where educational time is scheduled but there is no session, trainees can use the time for educational activity. This should be logged in their portfolio.
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 your Education Supervisor know by email as soon as you can.
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 sessions that aren’t in their usual year-group by contacting the PCMEs via email@example.com
I am rostered to be on-call/on nights when teaching is scheduled, what should I do?
If you are working a night shift, we wouldn’t recommend attending teaching when you need to be sleeping. Inform your ES and the PCME team if you note that you’ll not be able to attend a future session.
If you are rostered to be on-call during a teaching session, it depends on what your department says. We ask that teaching be “bleep-free”, so you would need to be sure that clinical cover was available for your department during the session. There may be arrangements within the department already, or you may want to consider asking a colleague. You could also consider swapping on-call sessions to be able to attend although we wouldn’t expect you to do this. If you are on-call, this would be an acceptable reason to not attend teaching.
In an ideal world, rotas would be designed to reflect the needs of trainees to maximise the ability of trainees attend teaching, but this is a complexity that isn’t generally achievable at present. Where we notice a significant absence from a particular specialty, we do try and work with them to reduce the impact on trainees.
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.