The School has published a full report into the results of an extensive exit survey completed by this year’s STP graduates. 211 trainees responded to the 37 question survey which covered their whole STP experience, from what motivated them to apply for the programme to what they would do differently if they had their time again. Across the 37 questions, which included questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon their training experience, the comprehensive report contains raw data, detailed analysis and representative samples of the thousands of comments received.
In a very difficult year for trainees in which the pandemic has had a tremendous impact upon workplace training and upon the ways in which exit assessment and programme completion are conducted and managed, the exit survey is one of several important pieces of consultation that the School has conducted with trainees about their experience of the programme. Below, we provide
- our key findings from the survey
- a summary of what the School has and will do in response to these findings
After evaluating the multitude of responses given by trainees, the School has identified four key findings from the survey:
1. Overall satisfaction with the STP is high
Despite the STP being a very demanding programme, trainees expressed high levels of overall satisfaction. Although many encountered challenges during their three years, and especially in this their final year, most were glad they had completed it as they saw it as a key route into a career in healthcare science which provided them with opportunities they would not otherwise have had.
2. The School needs to make sure trainees are more aware of some of its key functions, particularly trainee support and quality assurance
Although trainees strongly associated the School with areas in which we are highly visible, such as assessment and recruitment, awareness of other key functions, such as trainee support and quality assurance, was lower.
One of the most prevalent requests from trainees across the survey was for a greater degree of quality assurance of training provision to take place. Trainees who raised concerns were often not aware of who they could report concerns even although the school has a primary responsibility to quality assure training providers.
3. Communications from the School could be more co-ordinated and targeted
Trainees were positive about the new STP Monthly Memo, seeing it as a new feature that is helping to reduce the volume of email about the programme. Nevertheless, trainees would like to see even more co-ordination of school communications and fewer emails overall as they reported that it is sometimes difficult to know what is the most up-to-date information.
Trainees also requested more specialism-specific communications and many praised the communications during the Coronavirus pandemic.
4. The School should develop more guidance material for Training Officers
Trainees would like the School to develop more guidance for training officers and training departments about how to support and deliver the STP. Trainees often felt that their training was very much facilitated by them. Trainees suggested that developing further guidance for Training Officers would also help create improve consistency across all training providers.
What is the School doing in response to the findings of the Exit Survey and other sources of feedback?
Raising awareness of the School’s trainee support and quality assurance responsibilities
The School is currently recruiting for a full-time post to enhance the existing trainee support provision and in response to increased demand for support. This enhancement of the School’s formal trainee support service will also facilitate a review of the guidance and policies available to trainees and trainers to make it clearer how to access support and what support is available. We therefore expect to publish further and fuller as the School’s enhanced trainee support service launches, this will be accompanied by further information for trainees on the School website about how to seek support from this service.
With regards to the School’s quality assurance responsibilities, the School already works extensively and regularly with departments to accredit and re-accredit training provision. Additionally, we currently work extensively with trainees, training officers and departments to understand challenges relating to their training and training environments – often working with local HEE Leads and Quality teams to resolve issues arising.
In 2021 we will introduce a new quality assurance process that will ensure that there is national oversight of the quality of submissions of evidence that trainees make in their e-portfolio and of the feedback they receive from trainers. In 2021 we intend to produce further and fuller information on the School website about our quality assurance responsibilities. We expect this to include a step-by-step guide trainees can follow to show what processes we can help with and what they can do within the trust.
Additionally, we will also ensure that new and updated information about both trainee support and quality assurance are featured in in STP Monthly Memos.
Making communications more targeted
Across the School’s various functions we will endeavour
- to make more use of the STP Monthly Memo as the place where important and up-to-date information about the programme is published
- to ensure that key information about key events (such as revised assessment arrangements) is published in one place on the School website (to avoid duplication) and that when it is communicated directly to trainees they are always pointed to the single co-ordinated source of clear information on the School website
More specialism-specific communications
In response to the request in the exit survey and from other feedback exercises we have run about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon training, the School has arranged and is currently conducting a series of 10 online meetings with trainees and training officers, grouped into their scientific ‘divisions’ (e.g. blood sciences, medical physics etc).
In the new year, the school will launch a new online discussion forum service to enable trainees and training officers in individual specialties to network, share ideas and ask each other for advice.
Developing guidance material for Training Officers
Throughout 2020 the School has developed a wide range of new guidance and training materials for training officers that we have published via the enhanced Knowledgebase on the School website. We have published guidance on competency evidence and training planning. We have published a series of STP Train The Trainer podcasts. We have adapted our Train The Trainer programme so that we can deliver it as a series of webinars, which have also been recorded and published online. All of these resources and more can be found in the STP Train The Trainer section of the Knowledgebase.
Additionally, in response to requests from trainees and training officers for advice about how to conduct training when opportunities to train have been constrained by the pandemic, we have produced a list, that we will continue to update, of online learning resources to support training within different specialties. This can be found here.