The universal GP Training website for everyone, not just Bradford.   Created in 2002 by Dr Ramesh Mehay

Educational Supervision

Trainees - preparing for Educational Supervision

3 key things for success with ES

For Educational Supervision to work its ‘magic’ for you, there are three prerequisites:

  1. That you “open up” and tell your supervisor if there are any difficulties (personal, work or otherwise)
  2. That you be honest (and own up to anything you are responsible for)
  3. That you do all the preparation work that we will talk more about below.

Essential things to READ before your ES meeting

Become familiar with the following pages and documents.  Read them gradually – it’s way too much to take in one go.   But this essential reading list will help you with all future ES meetings and preparing for them.

Essential things TO DO before your ES meeting

Dear Trainee,

You will need to provide your Educational Supervisor with some dates for an ES meeting.    This should ideally be done during the last 4 weeks of your post, OR if an ARCP is due on you, in the 5th or 6th week before the end of your post.  As the RCGP stipulate, you (the trainee) are responsible for instigating and organising this meeting, not the Educational Supervisor.  Therefore, please make contact with your Educational Supervisor and do not wait to hear from them first.   Don’t forget to provide some dates that you are available.   With enough notice, your hospital or GP post should be able to release you for these meetings.

  1. First of all, read the ESSENTIAL READING LIST above.   If you’ve never read these before – READ THEM.   You are missing out and you are making things unnecessarily difficult for yourself because these documents provide everything you need to know!  If you have read them before and can’t remember what they were on about – READ THEM AGAIN!
  2. Use one of the ES Checklists to ensure you have completed everything that you need to.  (See below)
  3. Listed below are ESSENTIAL THINGS TO DO/FILL IN before your ES meeting ensues.   If these are not completed or are done in a “rough and ready” fashion – your Educational Supervisor will not be happy and will probably ask you to rearrange the meeting when it is all done.  Clearly, this would be embarassing for you, does not look good to ARCP panels when it is documented in the ePortfolio,  as well as being a waste of everyone’s time. 
  4. And then, don’t forget you need to log into your ePortfolio and click on the “Review Preparation” section and carefully fill in YOUR PARTS of the Educational Supervision area.  Do not rush this.  Expect it to take 2-3 hours.  If you’ve done everything within an hour, either you are super good, or you’ve written it badly.    The most difficult bit is writing up your Competency Self-Rating Scales.  Please pay close attention to the way you write this up.   If you have done it correctly, it will take you around 1-2 hours.  Follow the guide below.
  5. Don’t forget to upload the ES Workbook and Form R.

Your very first ES meeting

THE VERY FIRST MEETING IN ST1-1  (month 1-2 of your post)

There is nothing to worry about at this stage.   Your ES will simply check how things are going for you.  The focus of the meeting will be to get to know you so that both of you develop a good working relationship together  and creating a climate of respect, openness and honesty.  The aims of the first meeting are

  1. To develop rapport and establish a good educational climate – getting to know you as an individual, showing respect, being open and honest (this goes both ways remember).
  2. To synchronise both of your wavelengths – so that you are both clear about what is expected.
  3. To help develop your educational and reflective skills – so that you really understand the different levels of reflection and how you can write up their e-portfolio entries in a more reflective way and therefore learn more!
They will also probably want to get some good behaviours started off early.   For example, they may

  1. Ask you to write a couple of learning log entries – just to provide some educational material to work on at the first meeting.  They will probably use these entries as a platform to teach you about reflection and the art of writing reflective educationally meaningful log entries.    You will need to write about 2-3 entries per week.
  2. Go through the GP curriculum
  3. Discuss the 13 Professional Capabilities – which is the most important thing you need to get your head around – because almost everything is based around these 13 things.   It’s helpful to write your log entries around these 13 capabilities because it is these that you are ultimately tested against through all years of your training right up until CCT.
  4. Ask you whether your post is providing you with the enough educational experience and whether you are experiencing any difficulties so that these can be put right.
  5. Highlight educational courses that may help you
  6. Ask you about your home life  and whether it is okay or whether there are added external pressures.   Please be as open and honest as you can.  This is not us being nosey – we are simply here to help make your training journey as easy as possible but we cannot do this if we don’t know how things are for you.

ES meetings should essentially be a dialogue rather than a grilling process.   Here are some suggestions of things we encourage you to do before your first ES meeting…

THE SECOND MEETING IN ST1-1  (month 4-5 of your post)

This will be the official meeting where the ES will review your ePortfolio in a systematic and comprehensive manner looking at all things including your log entries, the number of WPBA assessments, MSFs, PSQs and so on.   This is the meeting where the trainee will need to start showing that their ePortfolio is starting to look good.

What's covered in the ES meetings?

The meetings will contain summative and formative elements. It is NOT about one or the other – it’s about both.  By formative, we mean things to help you develop no matter where you current position is.  By summative we mean making an end-judgement about where you are at and whether you are progressing as expected at your level.  And where are all these summative and formative elements kept?   Answer – YOUR ePORTFOLIO.   That’s why maintaining the ePortfolio is incredibly important if you want to progress smoothly to the next ST year throughout GP training.

The types of things the ES will check in your ePortfolio include…

  • The Learning Log – to see if you are making meaningful reflective learning entries with adequate coverage of the curriculum and evidence for the demonstration of the 13 Professional Capabilities.
  • The WPBA tools – like your COTs, CBDs, CEXs, Audio-COTs , Prescribing Tools – to ensure that you’re doing the right number of things in a timely way and making effective progress.
  • The WPBA reports – like the MSF, PSQ and CSR  – to see whether these different groups of people are happy with your progress.   Each of these reports are considered to be quite good discriminators of how well a trainee is doing.
  • Out of Hours (OOH) – to see whether you are engaging in OOH, and writing logs to demonstrate the 6 OOH competencies. 

In addition, your ES will also talk to you to see how you are getting on both at work and at home – because one can often interfere with the other – and we all want what is best for you.  The aim is to identify difficulties and help you get to a better position so that you finish GP training both successfully and happily. 

Educational supervision is not about disciplinary procedures but more about helping the trainee overcome or see them through the difficulties.

Tell me more about the ES report (ESR)

After discussion and reviewing your ePortfolio, amongst other things, your ES will formulate a report – called the ESR.   This is an incredibly important report because others (like the ARCP panels) refer to it to decide how well you are doing and whether you should progress onto the next ST year.     

The ES report will contain a summary of all that has been reviewed and how you are doing.   In addition, an agreed Learning Plan will be formulated with you and tailored towards your educational needs. Of course, to get a good ESR means your ePortfolio has to be well maintained.  That means writing good learning log entries, doing more than the minimum number of assessments and doing the preparatory stuff that is required of you before your ES meeting (which you can find in the ES section menu link for the trainee – at the top of this page).

Okay, so how do I fill in the ES stuff on my ePortfolio?

  • Please watch this guide by FourteenFish.  
  • It will tell you what you need to click and fill in once you have logged into your ePortfolio.
  • Remember, your Educational Supervisor’s Report is an incredibly important document in your training.  It helps ARCP panels decide whether they should let you progress onto the next year.
  • So, the better you prepare for the ES meeting and record some really detailed educational stuff, the more likely your ES report will be good.
  • Your ES prep work should take you around 2 hours.   Pay particular attention to the Competency Rating Scales and the evidence you provide for them.  Don’t just rush through adding quick one or two line superficial vague statements like “I’m good at consultation skills” – provide the evidence (e.g. as you can see, 5 out 6 COTs were marked competent or above for….”


Get in touch with your Educational Supervisor ASAP and check with them that they have done two things.

  1. They need to countersign the Educational Contract (make sure you have signed it off too).   You can find this on the home page of your ePortfolio.  This is a one-off process.  
  2. They then need to Create a Review.  Tell them to log in and simply  click ‘create review’ and complete the first page and then save it.  This will only take 2-3 minutes of their time.  The rest can be shelved until they actually meet you during month 4 of your post.   This needs to be done every time you change post.

After the ES does both of these things, the trainee is able to enter the self-rating.

  • The assessment of whether you have enough evidence for each Professional Capability area is a qualitative judgement not a quantitative one.
  • We would expect that towards the final year of training,  the GP trainee will have several sets of evidence in each Professional Capability area, collected from a range of settings and through different tools.  
  • The only requirement is that there is enough evidence to enable the GP Trainer and Educational Supervisor to feel confident that the trainee is competent to practise.  Trainees should respect the decision of their GP Trainer and Educational Supervisor.
  • Each portfolio will look slightly different, but it should provide a rich picture of capabilities built up over the entire GP training period.
  • The “ticks” in the ePortfolio are simply a way of keeping a shared, transparent and systematic record of evidence.
      • NUMBERS: It’s not about the numbers.   You don’t have to do a particular number of OOH sessions.   You basically have to do enough which you can write about and provide evidence for the 6 OOH competences.    For those of you desperate for a number, think one per month of GP for at least the last 12m of your training.   You don’t have to engage in ST1/S2 (although, it’s probably good practice to get started).  But you must engaged in your last year of GP.

      • LENGTH: Again, there is no definition of how long your OOH session should be.  Most usually last 4-6 hours though.    The emphasis on the experience rather than the length.  You need to get enough experience to help you gather enough evidence in your ePortfolio that you are meeting the 6 OOH competences.

      • EDUCATIONAL VALUE: It is recognised that some OOH sessions provide more experience than others.  Some sessions can provide very little!  That is why there is a move away from counting the number of hours you do in OOH towards gathering evidence for the 6 OOH competences.  The Panel will expect evidence of the educational quality of the OOH experience.  Therefore, the trainee needs to make sure that each session is supported by a log entry clearly indicating what they have demonstrated, experienced and learned in relation to the 6 OOH comptences. 

      • PART-TIME TRAINEES: How many OOH sessions should you do?   Again, it is NOT about the numbers.  So, the pro-rata stuff doesn’t come into it.  You basically need to do enough to gather evidence in your ePortfolio to demonstrate your exposure and experience to the 6 OOH competences,
        Less than full-time trainees should undertake the same number of sessions as their full time colleagues but over a longer timeframe.

      • TRY AND LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR OOH SESSIONS: Remember, that OOH is less pressurised that your on-call duties in the hospital.  At least you will get some sleep!  And the sessions only last 4-6 hours rather than the whole night!   And you have a Clinical Supervisor at all times to guide you.  It can be a very rich educational experience if you want it to be.

      • The 6 OOH competencies are….  (mnemonic T-SCORE)
        1. Individual personal Time and stress management.
        2. Maintenance of personal Security and awareness and management of the security risks to others 
        3. The demonstration of Communication and consultation skills required for out of hours care.
        4. Understanding the Organisational aspects of NHS out of hours care (nationally & locally)    
        5. The ability to make appropriate Referral to hospitals and other professionals.
        6. Ability to manage common medical, surgical and psychiatric Emergencies.     
  • In the first instance, your friendly Educational Supervisor will try and help you identify what it is that you need to do to get your ePortfolio and the evidence within it ‘up to scratch’.  
  • Please listen to the feedback that they give you.  If you find the feedback that they give you uncomfortable and difficult to accept, take a deep breath and accept responsibility for it.  Please also remember that it was probably hard for them to give it to you in the first place.  No body likes telling other people about their deficiencies, but the problem is that if no one does, then you never improve.   And you ES will want you to succeed.   So – deep breath, accept it, work on it to become a better you.
  • The Educational Supervisor may involve other people to try and HELP you.  For instance, they may seek the advice of the Training Programme Directors and even the deanery.   Again, please remember that they’re not being unkind by doing this.  They just want to make sure that there is a network of people ready to support you.
  • And finally, if, after repeated advice you fail to take the advice on board and your ePortfolio continues to show a lack of evidence appropriate to your training stage, then you will be referred to an ARCP panel which in all probability will involve you attending an interview and having to explain yourself.    If ARCPs are not happy with your response, they can make you repeat an ST year and in very bad situations – terminate your training pathway early.   Is it worth that risk?    .
  • Every year, the ARCP panel will look at your ES reports anyway – irrespective of whether your ES has flagged any concerns.  So please, take your ePortfolio seriously – IT IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE AKT AND CSA.   I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for your to devote time to your ePortfolio right from the start, and take it seriously by showing it the respect it deserves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top


Bradford VTS was created by Dr. Ramesh Mehay, a Programme Director for Bradford GP Training Scheme back in 2001. Over the years, it has seen many permutations.  At the time, there were very few resources for GP trainees and their trainers so Bradford decided to create one FOR EVERYONE. 

So, we see Bradford VTS as  the INDEPENDENT vocational training scheme website providing a wealth of free medical resources for GP trainees, their trainers and TPDs everywhere and anywhere.  We also welcome other health professionals – as we know the site is used by both those qualified and in training – such as Associate Physicians, ANPs, Medical & Nursing Students. 

Our fundamental belief is to openly and freely share knowledge to help learn and develop with each other.  Feel free to use the information – as long as it is not for a commercial purpose.   

We have a wealth of downloadable resources and we also welcome copyright-free educational material from all our users to help build our rich resource (send to

Our sections on (medical) COMMUNICATION SKILLS and (medical) TEACHING & LEARNING are perhaps the best and most comprehensive on the world wide web (see white-on-black menu header section on the homepage).