Educational Supervisors Project

Educational Supervisors Project

The Academy has been concerned about inconsistencies, across Royal Colleges and deaneries, in the level and type of training given to educational supervisors. Many educational supervisors receive no formal training when undertaking this role, and currently there is no method of evaluating supervisors’ performance. Recognising this, and as part of the work being done to develop the role of the doctor, the Government's report A High Quality Workforce included a commitment that the Department of Health would ensure ‘that educational supervisors in secondary care undergo mandatory training and review of their performance for this role (as currently exists in primary care)’.

The Academy approached the Department of Health in 2008 with a proposal for a study which would establish what is the current provision of training for educational supervisors, consider whether a national standard of training is required and, if appropriate, develop, pilot, evaluate and rollout those national standards.  In March 2009, the Academy of Medical Educators was commissioned by the Department to lead on a Project to help define training requirements for educational supervisors in secondary care and to explore options for their future accreditation and performance review.

The Project was undertaken in three Stages.

Stage 1

  • Establish how many educational supervisors there are currently
  • Investigate how many supervisors have received training and whether there are different levels to this training
  • Investigate the approaches taken in each specialty to train their educational supervisors, look at best practice methods and identify inadequacies
  • Investigate the approaches taken in other professions and the lessons learnt
  • Consider the work that deaneries are undertaking in this area
  • Define the problems associated with the current arrangements for accreditation of educational supervisors
  • Review training undertaken in other countries 

Stage 2

  • Consider generic skills that all educational supervisors need to possess
  • Develop an outline curriculum and syllabus to inform further work
  • Identify implementation issues that are likely to arise, with specific reference to each specialty
  • Present and discuss potential options and identify favoured option(s)

Stage 3 (to commission a pilot to trial the favoured option(s), undertake an evaluation of the pilot and develop an implementation plan) was planned but regrettably was not completed owing to cuts in public expenditure.  However, as the final choice of option will be influenced by the detailed content of any underpinning guidance, the Academy undertook supplementary work (termed Stage 2b) to

  • Summarise the proposed content of such guidance
  • Examine its constituent elements
  • Identify those that have not yet been fully explored in the options appraisal and cost benefit analysis
A Framework for the Professional Development of Postgraduate Medical Supervisors

Building on the work of Stage 1 and Stage 2 reports, the Academy brought the educational supervisors project to a conclusion with publication of a guidance document for deaneries, commissioners and providers of postgraduate medical education: A Framework for the Professional Development of Postgraduate Medical Supervisors .  The Academy is particularly pleased that in developing its own approvals framework for trainers, the General Medical Council (GMC) has built on much of the work already undertaken by the Academy. The GMC published its own national framework late in 2012 which led to the formal recognition of trainers in secondary care.

To view or download the full report click on the title above.

The Academy gratefully acknowledges the support and funding provided by the UK Department of Health Medical Education Programme to undertake this project.