STP Monthly Memo (December 2020)

Our monthly memo for STP trainees and training officers features relevant news, helpful tips, opportunities to promote healthcare science and FAQs.

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Message from your STP Training Programme Directors, Jane Lynch and Namir Al Hasso

Welcome to the last issue of the STP Monthly Memo for 2020. We hope you are all keeping well, and your training journey is going well.

In the November issue of the STP Monthly Memo we alluded to the divisional virtual meetings for trainees and training officers that we planned to host. These sessions have been well attended and led to constructive discussions, which resulted in some new measures to be taken forward. We will be publishing the minutes of these virtual sessions on our website in January 2021.

One of the main issues trainees raised during these meetings was how since the end of the academic teaching some trainees have not been allowed back into their department and that there is no date for when the training is expected to return to normality. The Head of the National School has been advising trainees experiencing this issue to contact either of us as the STP Training Programme Directors. We are also sharing a letter providing guidance regarding healthcare science education and training that may be of use.

Click here to find the guidance regarding healthcare science education and training letter

This year has been challenging to say the least for everyone. However, to overcome these challenges you have all demonstrated resilience, creativity, and determination to continue your training journey. So well done.

We would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas for those celebrating it, and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.


Final assessment for STP trainees completing in 2021 announced

Earlier this month we met with Lead Station Writers and have agreed the format of the final assessment for STP trainees completing in 2021.

Your final assessment will consist of three parts:

  • a showcase of evidence from your e-portfolio.
  • a critical reflection supported by citations to evidence. This is likely to be submitted in June and not earlier.
  • an online panel interview formed from more than one assessor from your specialty. This is likely to take place in July.

Further information and guidance about the final assessment will be released early in the new year.


Elective module guidance

We convened a task and finish group to discuss the elective module and identify some broad themes which should help trainees and training officers in planning this module.

Guidance during COVID-19

Trainees who will complete in 2021 will be given the flexibility to omit the elective but should ensure that, where possible, they complete as many of the programme competencies as they can (including the competencies connected with the elective if possible).

For current second years, although you may opt not to take the full length of elective specified in the programme, you should as a minimum be able to show evidence of your discussions with your training officer about what would be reasonable and feasible in current circumstances. You should do what you can to address the elective-related competencies and ensure that there is evidence of your reflection on OneFile.

For current year one trainees, who would not normally be planning the elective until the mid-to-late point of their second year, we will review the position in 12 months’ time. In principle, year one trainees should not find their elective options so restricted in the coming years.

Click here to find our full guidance on the elective module


Concerns regarding Midterm Review of Progression (MRP) during COVID

We appreciate that trainees are facing new challenges in completing their rotations due to COVID-19 and we will take this into account at the Midterm Review of Progression.

Where appropriate we advise that rotations should be more flexible. They can be shortened or moved to later in the training programme and are likely to include an element of virtual learning, but should still aim to meet the learning outcomes.

Where these challenges significantly impact the trainee’s progress we will recognise that COVID-19 has been the major reason and record this as such with a new COVID-related outcome within MRP.

Click here to find our guidance for the Midterm Review of Progression


Resources for training during COVID

We have been working with training officers and staff at HEE to build a collection of online educational resources that may help to address some training requirements.

All trainees are able to access this resource if they have an NHS ESR record, including those based in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Click here to view the collection of online learning resources to support training for STP trainees


Healthcare Learners Coronavirus Advice Guide 

The Healthcare Learners Coronavirus Advice Guide aims to serve as an aid to healthcare learners to provide them with useful hints, tips and advice to use during the current COVID-19 pandemic and to protect against other infections.

The advice given in this document has been collated from questions posed to HEE and experiences shared by healthcare learners working on the front line.

Click here to access the Healthcare Learners Coronavirus Advice Guide


Drop-in sessions for training officers

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding our first STP ‘drop-in’ session for training officers. The purpose of this session is to allow training officers to ‘drop in’ for an informal chat about any questions or issues that they may have about delivering training.

The first session is taking place on Wednesday 20th January 2021 starting at 11:00 am to 12:30pm.

Click here to find about more about the drop-in session (Expired link)


New advanced Train the Trainer series

We are delighted to announce our new webinar series tailored to the needs of existing training officers who want to gain more knowledge.

The advanced training programme will cover the following topics:

  • What is involved in completing a masters level research project and how you can support your trainee
  • The university’s perspective of what is involved in a master’s level research project
  • The trainee’s perspective of completing the research project
  • The elective – what makes a good elective?
  • How to facilitate successful assessment moderation events in your trust or region
  • How to complete the midterm review of progression
  • Finishing the STP programme and the completion process

The series starts next month.

  • Webinar 1: Research Projects & Electives – Thursday 14th January 2021 11:30am – 1:00pm
  • Webinar 2: Assessment Moderation and Midterm Review of Progression – Wednesday 10th February 2021 11:30am – 1:00pm
  • Webinar 3: The Completion Process – Wednesday 10th March 2021 11:30am – 1:00pm

If you would like to attend please email Places are limited to 50, and will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Click here to find out more about our advanced Train the Trainer events (expired link)


Core curriculum review coming next month

We’re about to enter the last phase of curriculum review and that means we’ll need your help. Starting in the New Year and throughout January, we’ll be asking for your feedback on the drafts of the new curriculum content. First up will be the core curriculum, followed by the specialty curricula.

We’ll be asking stakeholders to take a look at the curriculum and provide feedback through a survey. This should take around 30-45 minutes. Feedback will inform the final curricula and will help to shape the future of the Scientist Training Programme.

Curriculum Review has been a been a huge undertaking and a fascinating opportunity to delve deeper into all the STP specialties. We’d like to take this opportunity thank everyone who’s contributed to the process so far. All of our Curriculum Review Groups have worked hard to draft the content required to train the next generation of Clinical Scientists.

All the information you need to take part in the review will be on our Curriculum Tracker, so please do check in the New Year.

Click here to view the Curriculum Tracker

Click here to sign up to our email list for regular updates (Expired link)


STP exit survey 2020 report

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.

What are the main findings of the Exit Survey?

  1. Overall satisfaction with the STP is high
  2. The School needs to make sure trainees are more aware of some of its key functions, particularly trainee support and quality assurance
  3. Communications from the School could be more co-ordinated and targeted
  4. The School should develop more guidance material for Training Officers

What is the School doing in response to the findings of the Exit Survey and other sources of feedback?

  1. Raising awareness of the School’s trainee support and quality assurance responsibilities
  2. Making communications more targeted
  3. More specialism-specific communications
  4. Developing guidance material for Training Officers

Click here to view the full 2020 STP exit survey report


Annual monitoring extension

We have extended the annual monitoring for STP training departments deadline to Friday 18th December. The form takes five minutes to fill in and is a requirement of your accreditation.

If you have not received an email about annual monitoring please email the accreditation team on

Last updated on 5th September 2023

This publication is part of STP Monthly Memos (2020)