STP Monthly Memo (May 2023)

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

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STP Monthly Memo 2023
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Message from your Training Programme Directors

Namir Al Hasso, Dr EMma Bowers, Dr Jo Horne, Jane Lynch and Aarti Makan

This month’s message is from Dr Jo Horne

Welcome to this month’s STP memo, written during a time where I can’t help but reflect on change and its impact. Whether we are trainees or training officers, newly registered or Consultant Clinical Scientists, we will all experience, and need to manage, change at some point in our lives.

There is quite a lot of change going on around me at the moment, with the recent merger between Health Education England and NHS England, as well as the loss of the Head of the National School over the next few weeks. It is difficult to ignore this, but our primary responsibility is to maintain ‘business as usual’, and all of the team are working hard to ensure that this will always be the case. I am mindful that change affects us all differently, depending on our character, previous experience and what else is going on in our lives at that moment in time. However, change also represents the birth of new opportunities, and we should remember to look for them, rather than focusing all our attention on areas of uncertainty or fear.

I have also been reflecting on how change will happen, whether we want it to or not, and to remember that we should focus on the things that we can affect, such as our reaction to change and towards others, who may be having similar, or completely different experiences to that of our own. This is the so called ‘Sphere of Control’ – a useful tool to remind us of what we can and can’t control in our lives, and a reminder where to focus our energy in terms of resilience and wellbeing. I am also reminded of the ‘invisible backpack’ – the individual baggage that every one of us carries around with us each day. This may relate to our professional lives, personal lives, or both. None of us really know what those around us are dealing with, and the impact it may be having on them. We should always be mindful of this.

At the National School, we have been very busy preparing for this summer’s IACC final assessments in July. You can find out more about completion and the IACC in this month’s memo. We also have an exciting opportunity to get involved in this year’s STP Induction for our new trainees in September in Birmingham. Please look at the roles available and get in touch if you would like to be part of the day.


Information for year three trainees

Final assessment 2023 guidance

On our website we have a set of guidance that explains the requirements for the IACC. It provides detailed guidance for the critical reflective narrative and preparing for the interview.

Your critical reflective narrative

The deadline to submit your critical reflective narrative is noon on Tuesday 13th June 2023. The word limit is 3,500 words (+/- 10%) excluding citations to OneFile e-portfolio evidence. On our website you can download a copy of the MS Word submission template which you must use to submit your narrative.

Your interview

The panel interview will now allow 1 hour to cover 2 unseen case-based discussion scenarios, as well as the usual interview questions about the critical reflective narrative.

We will notify you of the date of your interview at least six weeks in advance. Due to the complexity of organising the interview panels and ensuring there are no conflicts of interest it is not possible to alter your interview date or allow you to change dates with another candidate. The interview window is 3rd to 14th July 2023.

Click here to view the guidance on our website

Completion 2023 information and guidance

In our STP Completion 2023 information and guidance section we provide on the School website:

  • General guidance for trainees and training departments
  • Required rotations per specialty
  • Routes to completion of the OneFile e-portfolio
  • Drop-in support webinar recordings
  • Podcasts for trainees and training officers
  • Guidance for training officers on providing a declaration of competence
  • STP Completion dates
  • A summary of key changes to completion following COVID-19 pandemic

Click here to find the information and guidance for STP trainees completing the programme in 2023.


Information for year one trainees

Changes to the assessment of trainees on the new STP curricula

The School has published an updated announcement about changes to the assessment of STP trainees on the new curricula. The key points in the announcement are:

  1. The School will create and support a unified set of standards for the performance and conduct of all assessments required by our curricula, with a particular focus on the conduct of work-based assessment. With their introduction, trainees, trainers and assessors will be working to a set of national standards for the conduct of all assessments. We aim to publish the standards by the end of September 2023.
  2. There will be a new STP final assessment for 2025. The final assessment will be different from the IACC. The new final assessment will include a standardised, structured, professional discussion. We aim to provide trainees, trainers and assessors with further details about the new final assessment by the end of September 2023.
  3. We intend to introduce a revised and streamlined model of progression monitoring which will set trainees minimum and realistic targets for progress on their OneFile e-portfolio for key points in the programme.
  4. We have decided NOT to introduce external assessment in the workplace. Following extensive exploration of the feasibility of external assessment in the workplace, we have decided NOT to proceed with it as part of the redesign of assessment under the new curricula.

Click here to find the full statement


Information for all trainees

Reflective practice guidance

We have developed guidance for trainees and training officers on reflective practice, specifically to support the rotational modules of the new curricula.

It includes specific guidance for trainees to make the most of their observations during rotations as well as questions to support trainees with their reflections. These questions provide a framework to support the trainer in assessing these competencies.

This guidance includes suggestions from trainers who attended the reflective practice workshop at the National School of Healthcare Science Collaborative event on 27 March 2023. The resources from this workshop can be found on the Learning Hub.

Click here to find the guidance for trainees on reflective practice

Opportunity to support STP Induction Day 2023

We are looking for trainee volunteers to represent the STP during our induction day. The event will take place on Friday 8th September at the ICC in central Birmingham.

The remaining roles are:

Trainee network representative

We are looking for a trainee to represent each network at the networking stands. As a trainee network representative you will be available to answer questions about your trainee network and how new trainees can get involved.

University trainee representative

We are looking for a trainee to represent each university at the networking stands. As a university trainee representative you will be available to answer questions about studying at the university and share any advice or tips for the new trainees that will be attending this year.

This is a fantastic opportunity for trainees to develop their public speaking skills and support the new intake starting in September. Lunch and refreshments will be provided and your travel expenses will be covered by the School.

If you would like to volunteer for a role at induction this year please email us at with the role title you’d like to volunteer for and why you are well suited to the role.

Exceptional extenuating circumstances applications

Due to the increased number of EEC applications received at each month’s Training Management Panel, the submission deadline has been amended.

These changes are effective for the July 2023 panel onwards and are as below:

Panel date – Wednesday 5 July

  • Last submission date – Wednesday 21 June
  • Likely outcome date – Wednesday 12 July

Panel date – Wednesday 2 August

  • Last submission date – Wednesday 19 July
  • Likely outcome date – Wednesday 9 August

Panel date – Wednesday 6 September

  • Last submission date – Wednesday 23 August
  • Likely outcome date – Wednesday 13 September

Click here to find the guidance for requesting a change to training due to exceptional extenuating circumstances


Information for training officers

New training for trainers package

Last month we contacted all trainers in the workplace to announce the launch of our new package of training for trainers. This new package has been developed after extensive feedback from trainers working in all our of programmes. The new training offer will include a suite of guidance and learning resources and will provide additional support for trainers working with the new STP curricula.

Click here to read the full statement announcing our new package of training for trainers

Clinical Pharmaceutical Science Training Officer Network

Would you like to be part of a Pharmaceutical Science Training Officer Network?

Megan Longworth (CPS Training Officer at Liverpool) would like to create an opportunity to share best practice, compare experiences, discuss rotations or any other challenges you might be facing.

The inaugural network meeting will be on Tuesday 27 June 2023 from 14:00-15:00. This network is hoping to support people involved in delivering STP training across the whole Pharmaceutical Science curriculum.

Please contact Megan for more information on

Reflective practice workshops​​​​​​​

We will be running our reflective practice workshop for trainers as a webinar twice in May, the second workshop is:

  • Thursday 18 May 4:00pm to 6:00pm

The key objective of this webinar is to develop a framework to aid you in assessing reflective practice in the workplace. We will explore what reflective practice is and strategies to enable you to support your trainee in being reflective. The webinar will be recorded and made available on the Learning Hub.

Click here to register for the Thursday 18 May webinar (expired link)

Planning for the new curriculum: drop-in sessions

We are hosting more drop-in sessions for anyone who will be involved in hosting a trainee on the new STP curriculum from September 2022.

The drop-in sessions will be an open Q&A forum. Our next sessions are:

  • Thursday 25 May 12pm to 1pm
  • Thursday 29 June 12pm to 1pm
  • Thursday 27 July 12pm to 1pm

Click here to find the drop-in session joining links.

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 – Is it acceptable to the School for a department to appoint (to a permanent post) a trainee who has not yet completed their training?

A – Yes if departments are able to support the completion of training there should be no problem. It is worth speaking to the local education office about the possibility of protecting the trainee’s training budget for the last few months to ensure that they are employed by you at the end of the training period. This may not always be possible but certainly worth exploring with your local commissioner. The School would suggest caution for the trainee as it is quite challenging to swap from a pure training role to one that may have different competing demands. However, other departments in this position have been able to strike a sensible workable balance where necessary. The trainee would need to submit a transfer of training request form and relevant evidence detailed in the transfer of training policy.

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)