STP Monthly Memo (December 2023)

The STP Monthly Memo includes the latest programme updates, events and key resources for STP trainees and training officers.

Filed under
STP Monthly Memo 2023
Publication type

Information for all trainees

Hosting an open day

In the run up to recruitment of the next cohort of STP trainees we recommend training centres, consortiums or regions organise open days. These always seem to run best if current STP trainees organise and run them (fulfilling professional foundation training activities).

We are more than happy to advertise your open day on our website and if it fits with the structure of your day and a Training Programme Director is available we would be happy to present at your open day.

Please email us at if you have any questions or want to share your open day details for our website.

Pathology Careers Webinar – Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics

On 23 January 2024 RCPath and the University of Manchester Pathology Society are hosting an online event which will shine a spotlight on careers in histocompatibility and immunogenetics.

The speaker, Charlene Hoad, works as a Clinical Scientist specialising in histocompatibility and immunogenetics. Charlene is on the 2nd year of the Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme.

This one-hour event (to be held on Zoom) aims to give undergraduates and Foundation Doctors a comprehensive introduction to histocompatibility and immunogenetics. The speaker will cover:

  • Background information about histocompatibilty and immunogenetics (H&I)
  • Her personal journey into this specialty
  • What working as a clinical scientist in H&I is like day-to-day
  • The contribution that H&I makes to medicine and healthcare
  • Questions

Click here to book your space on this webinar

Reflective practice resources

We have recently produced a set of reflective practice learning resources for all trainees, training officers and supervisors to support their development in this area. The aim of these resources is to support the development of reflection, reflective practice and reflective writing.

These materials are available in the new NSHCS healthcare science training resources catalogue on the NHS Learning Hub. To access the Learning Hub you need to sign up for free.

Click here to view our reflective practice resources


Information for first year trainees

New progression requirements for the 2023 cohort

Earlier this year we communicated to you the new progression requirements for the programme which are aligned to the new curriculum. These will apply to all trainees entering the programme from 2023 onwards.

We will shortly be providing detailed guidance and resources on the School’s website about how your progression will be reviewed, but as a reminder for now, for end of your first year you should be aiming to:

  • Complete all work-based assessments and training activities for phase 1 rotations on the e-portfolio, OneFile – completion means submission and satisfactory sign off following assessment
  • Complete an end of year review meeting on OneFile between trainee and Training Officer (further guidance to follow)
  • Raise a concern by exception if there are issues outside of your control affecting your ability to meet the progression targets (further guidance to follow)

In addition to the above we will also seek feedback from your university providers on your progress, who can then report any concerns by exception.

We also recently communicated the progression targets for the end of Year 2. Following recent feedback from stakeholders, the School is currently reviewing these targets to ensure that all trainees and departments are supported effectively. Further information will be available soon, but trainees should be reassured that we do not anticipate significant changes and that you will have sufficient time to prepare, with the review anticipated to take place in September 2025.

Once reviewed and finalised we will email all trainees and Training Officers to confirm the requirements and launch the resources available to guide your preparation for the reviews.

We will be in touch in the new year for your 6 monthly check-in, so please look out for emails from the School during March 2024.


Information for first and second year trainees

New assessment strategy

We have been working with STP trainers and Training Officers to help us to shape the new STP assessment strategy for trainees on the new curricula, introduced in 2022 for the majority of specialisms and 2023 for Clinical Microbiology.

With the advent of these new curricula, the NSHCS has engaged in extensive work to review and revise standards and expectations for training and assessment for all trainers and trainees involved in the STP.

The STP assessment strategy, for all trainees on the new curricula, involves:

  • the creation of the NSHCS work-based assessment standards which define how work-based assessments should be conducted and the responsibilities of trainees, trainers and assessors, and support to implement these standards
  • a redesign of the way in which training progression is reviewed
  • the design of a new final assessment  (2025 onwards)

We have established steering groups, to gain input from stakeholders, for each of these strands of work. The work-based assessment standards have been published on the school website. The progression strategy work is almost finalised.

We are now ready to convene a steering group to discuss and feed into the design of the new final assessment. Building on feedback from previous final assessment strategies, work to address concerns and to build a standardised, robust assessment which is fit for purpose has progressed, with the following principles already agreed:

  • the final assessment for the trainees who started the STP in September 2022 will be different from the IACC
  • the final assessment will include a standardised structured, professional discussion
  • trainees will not be required to prepare and submit additional written work ahead of the professional discussion
  • the demand upon assessor time will be substantially reduced as compared with the current IACC, whilst maintaining the assessment integrity
  • a rigorous quality assurance approach will ensure that standards are applied consistently

The steering group will consist of representatives of all specialisms, including people who have significant experience working with us to provide final assessments (lead station writers/assessors) and people identified via our recent expressions of interest call to be part of this work. Invitations to the steering group sessions should be received very soon.

The group will meet two to three times in the coming months, with each meeting lasting for approximately two hours. At each meeting the NSHCS will bring its proposal for the revision of assessment in these areas to discuss and seek feedback on specific aspects of the proposals.

Prior to finalising and launching the new STP assessment strategy we want to ensure that the changes that we introduce have been reviewed and considered by colleagues across the healthcare science community. The standards for the conduct of work-based assessment were launched in September with the final assessment and progression review components to follow once finalised.

STP assessment strategy explainer webinars

We recently concluded a series of four short ‘explainer’ webinars about different aspects of the changes to assessment on the programme. The webinars covered:

  • progression review
  • the work-based assessment standard for observed assessments
  • the work-based assessment standard for case-based discussions
  • the work-based assessment standard for training activities

Recordings of the webinars can be found on the School website.

Click here to view the the STP assessment strategy explainer webinars


Information for second year trainees

Midterm review of progression

The School conducts reviews of trainee progression as both an assurance and supportive process to make sure trainees are progressing well and that any barriers or issues are identified and can be supported.

The Midterm Review of Progression for our year 2 STPs is due to open in January 2024. Here’s some key information and guidance on how to prepare.

  • This is a multi-data driven process which gathers information from you, your Training Officer, your University, and your e-portfolio.
  • It is not pass or fail. It is your opportunity to tell us about factors affecting your training. Or indeed to tell us where things are working really well.
  • It is a supportive process. If you are struggling for whatever reason, don’t be afraid to tell us. We want to help and we have support options that can be put in place which may assist you.
  • It is a mandatory process that trainees and training officers are required to participate in. Not engaging can have implications for ongoing accreditation, funding and participation on the programme so make sure you complete by the deadline!
  • All information will be reviewed and an outcome determined based on the information provided.
  • Support calls will be offered where some issues have been identified and we feel you might benefit from our support. For those of you who have significant issues, a support meeting with you and your Training Officer will be arranged.
  • Trainees on interruption at the time of the Midterm Review of Progression such as maternity leave will not be required to participate. If you are unsure though contact us.

How to prepare

  • Make sure you are familiar with the progression criteria. Look on the School’s website for this information.
  • Meet with your Training Officer to discuss your progress in advance and then when you are ready to submit, complete individual forms (not a combined response), one from you, one from your Training Officer.
  • Make sure your training plan is up-to-date and be aware of any gaps so that you can identify how you might address them. Be prepared to be flexible as training opportunities change. Try to think innovatively about how any issues might be managed.
  • Make sure that the School has the most up-to-date contact information for both you and your Training Officer. If recent changes have happened make sure we are aware so we can send the relevant information at the right time.
  • Look out for the email and link to your questionnaire. Further details will be sent to you shortly.

If you have any concerns about the process or your ability to participate then please do contact us in advance at

Small changes in OneFile to support the School’s work-based assessment standards

With the publication of the School’s work-based assessment standards, we are making a series of small changes that you will notice in the Curriculum Library and OneFile.

In both the Curriculum Library and OneFile, competencies have been renamed as training activities. In OneFile, by the end of January, the ‘method’ that you choose when you make a submission of evidence in OneFile towards competencies / training activities will be renamed from ‘Competency’ to ‘Training activity’. This is a very minor change. The curriculum has not changed nor do you need to do anything different when making submissions of evidence towards competencies / training activities.


Information for training officers

Learning resources on the NHS Learning Hub

To support you to develop the knowledge and skills associated with the School’s recently published training standards, we are developing a suite of short training resources within the NHS Learning Hub. These are not mandatory and are meant to support you in your own professional development as a trainer, irrespective of the programme.

To access the NHS Learning Hub you will need to have an account with the service. The details on how to do this can be found within the training standards pages on our website, linked to below.

The following modules are already available on the NHS Learning Hub. Please click on the links to access them:

Modules coming soon:

  • Planning for learning and assessment
  • Strategies for managing many trainees at once
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Developing coaching skills
  • Developing as a mentor
  • Explore opportunities in practice to embed EDI
  • The principles of differentiated and adaptive practice
  • Embedding the NHS values into training
  • Approaches to learning
  • Andragogy and pedagogy
  • Motivation and learning
  • Evaluating your own practice
  • Supporting neurodivergent trainees with their training
  • Developing evidence to demonstrate proficiency in work-based training

If you would like training on a specific topic and it does not appear amongst the NHS Learning Hub resources (already available or proposed), please contact the School’s Education Training Manager Sally Clee at as we are keen to ensure that the offering is responsive to the needs of trainers, assessors and educators.

Click here for the training standards and their associated support resources

Work-based assessment standards update

The School’s work-based assessment standards define how work-based assessments should be conducted and the responsibilities of trainees, trainers and assessors.

For each work-based assessment type (training activities, DOPS, OCEs, CBDs) the standards provide clear definitions and expectations about:

  • the purpose of the assessment​
  • how the assessment should be conducted​
  • the responsibilities of every participant in the assessment life cycle
    who can assess​
  • how feedback should be provided.
  • For trainees who began in 2022 the standards for in-person assessments (DOPS, OCEs and CBDs) apply. For 2023 starters onwards, all of the work-based assessment standards apply.

Click here to view the NSHCS work-based assessment standards

We recently updated and completed the work-based assessment training activity standard to include ALL of the types of training activity. There are three types of training activity: entrustable training activities, observational training activities and developmental training activities.

The standard sets out how to complete training activities as well as the purpose, evidence and assessor requirements for each training activity type. Trainees who started the programme in 2023 should follow the training activity standard to complete all of their training activities.

The training activity types for all rotation modules are identified in the Curriculum Library. The training activity types for specialty modules are now available for almost all specialties in the Curriculum Library.

Click here to read more about training activity types

STP trainers drop-in sessions

We are currently running a series of monthly drop-in sessions for trainers where you will have the opportunity to ask Training Programme Directors and School staff about any aspect of the programme.

Click here to find out more about the STP trainer drop-in sessions

Managing your trainees

We have created a section on our website providing answers  about issues ranging from study leave to funding.

This month’s featured FAQ is:

Q – Who do trainees inform of a change of personal details?

A – Personal records must be kept up-to-date with the employing Trust, on the e-portfolio and with the School.

Click here to find FAQs on management of trainees for STP trainers.


Missed a previous edition of the STP Monthly Memo?

We’ve published copies of the Monthly Memo for STP trainees and training officers on our website.

Click here to view previous editions of the STP Monthly Memo.

Last updated on 12th February 2024

This publication is part of STP Monthly Memo (2023)