Educational Scholar

Be clear: Have a good think about the position and set out some general aims and roles with the TPDs early on.

Be attentive: With small groups observe early! To help with small groups first observe with a TPD closely to appreciate the skillset and nuanced approach to guiding a small group well. There is a 2 day small groups session ran by the deanery also which was very useful. Facilitating and teaching are not the same thing and trying to facilitate a small group without understanding this principles can be demoralising!

Be friendly: Introduce yourself to each year group! I was asked on multiple occasions ‘what are you doing here?’ by other trainees who didn’t understand the role. Setting that out so the group understands your role could be useful. I found that many trainees came to the scholars for informal/friendly advice either by email or face to face. They need to know why you are there to feel confident to do this.

Be proactive: There may be some occasions when you can’t contribute directly to VTS and it’s important to have other professional goals that you can direct yourself towards. This could be lecture or teaching preparation (which can be time consuming).

Be brave: I contributed to a trainer’s workshop and spoke for a short time at the conference. Quite a daunting prospect actually as you are speaking to knowledgeable trainers with lots of experience. However, I received some really good feedback for this and I’m glad I did it (they’re not that scary!)

Be organised: Half a day a week is not actually that much time (see teaching preparation above) a general rule is for every hour of teaching you need double the time to prepare! If you’re planning on taking a 3 hour session- do the maths!

Be selfish: I imagine most educational scholars have their own personal aspirations and the TPDs will most likely help to support you to achieve many of your educational/career goals, so think about this.

Beware: As I’ve said there are many opportunities and sometimes too many! Free education delivery is obviously desirable and you will likely get many offers from different facets of medical education. Take the opportunities that you think are either useful to you or you think would benefit others the most. It is easy to be pulled in too many directions and this can be stressful, time consuming and even costly, so be careful what you sign up for.

Be resourceful: If you would like to do a PGCME, there is often funding available through the deanery each year so look into this.

Be smart: I would not recommend doing the PGCME in ST3. Personally I would find this too much alongside doing exams and finishing other e-portfolio demands. I did it in ST2 it was still stressful and will use up much of your own personal time but I found it manageable.

Be happy: The TPDs (no names mentioned) love a cup of tea/catch up before the day starts and as scholars I think we always found the environment friendly and relaxed so enjoy it

Thankyou for allowing me the chance to be one of your educational scholars these past two years. I  thought it would be useful to feedback the opportunities I have gained from the role and what we have been up to.

This role has provided me with the opportunity to have protected time to develop my educational career goals. In the first year I completed a PgCert Clin Ed and this provided me with the confidence and I feel the knowledge to then go on and deliver a local teaching session to the trainers on bias and ‘lying to colleagues’ which was well received.

I went on a small groups facilitation course both years that then gave me some skills and confidence to support the TPDs in facilitating VTS small groups.

We have developed a website for our locality to access all of the educational resources and timetable, including a Facebook group to promote the timetable and keep people updated (see

We have done several projects, including attitudes to GP from medical students, barriers to learning on GPVTS – all being considered for various conferences including the RCGP conference.

I completed my book, ‘cases of a Hollywood doctor’ that is a medical education textbook aimed at medical students, GP trainees and allied MDT.

Through funding from NHS England, I have made two videos – one is ‘how to get the most out of your ten minute consultation’ and the other ‘who is in your practice’ to be displayed across practices throughout the country – a draft can be seen here as this is still not yet finished.

We have had several medical students and F2s come and talk to us about training as a GP and I have delivere detaching sessions to F1s and medical students, improving the profile of primary care and trying to inspire the future of our workforce. 

These two years have focussed my mind on trying to get a job in education. Without the scholar role, all of the ideas I have had would simply be that, ideas. Without protected time, immersed with TPDs to inspire and encourage, there is simply no headspace to complete any of these. As the future of our workforce is always threatened, it needs people to inspire and be enthusiastic about general practice. This can be done more effectively with this protected time and for my own personal resilience provides an outlet for creativity and to try and inspire others and celebrate the role of GPs. 

Moving forward, there is space to expand the scholar role, liasing with foundation programme and even medical school. At a time when recruitment crisis for GP deepens, if we don’t liaise closely with our junior colleagues and proivde a ‘middle gap’ between GPs and students, then this will only alienate us further.  

I am proud to be a (nearly GP) and the scholar role has made me proud to want to be involved in medical school or postgraduate etachign in the future. It has given me the confidence to teach peers or near peers, some theoretical background and an insight into how to deliver a curriculum and pastoral care issues