Educational Supervision

Trainees - how to prepare for your ES meeting

3 key things for succes with ES

or 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.

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.

Some things to read before your ES meeting

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


1. Use the ES Checklists to prepare

This is really important.   There is a lot to cover in your ES meeting and it is very easy for trainees to either overlook or “quickly fill in” a really important component for the meeting.    This then puts the ES in a difficult position because they cannot then sign that component off as satisfactory.

So, in order to reduce the chance of this happening, we have develop some ES checklists for you. They have been designed to make yours and your Educational Supervisor’s lives easier.   Although they all cover the same things, there are several versions of them because different ones go into different levels of details.   So, pick one that you like and play with it.  If it is you’re relatively new to ES, then perhaps pick one of the more detailed check lists.    These checklists can all be found in the “HOT DOCS” downloadable section above.     There are reproduced here for your convenience…

2. The competency self-rating scale

This is the section that is really one of the most important segments of Educational Supervision and NEARLY ALL TRAINEES struggle with it.     Basically, it lists all the 13 Professional Competency areas and you have to provide evidence for them – both in written format and tagged pieces of evidence from other part of the ePortfolio.   Like I said, it’s the section nearly all trainees struggle with.   So, please slow down when you come to filling this section in, and think about what you write and add as evidence.   

As you know, Bradford VTS is all about making life easier for you – and we have produced a document to help you “Find the evidence for the competency rating scales”.   This document tells you what bits of WPBA provides good evidence for each of the 13 Professional Competency areas.   It also shows you how you might write it up.    You can find the document in the HOT-DOCS downloads section about but it is provided here again for your convenience.

I always tell my trainees, not to fill our the Competency Self-Rating Scale until they have filled in The ES Workbook first. The latter makes the former easier to do.

Ramesh Mehay, GP Trainer, Bradford Tweet

3. Fill in the ES Workbook

Unfortunately, the ePortfolio currently (as of July 2019) not very mathematically clever as it could be.   It would be nice if it could collate all the “marks” of your COTS and summarise them in graphical format to show you at a glance at how well you are progressing, which are your strong areas and which need more working (and thus help you focus on them).  It would be great if it could do this with CBDs and mini-CEXs too.  But it doesn’t!

So, we have developed something called “The ES Workbook” to come to your rescue.  It’s used by most GP schemes and it is designed to make both yours and your ES’s lives easier.    It’s available from the HOT DOCS downloads section above and provided here for your convenience.  It is always being updated and reviewed frequently and hopefully there will come a time when a new ePortfolio has this built in.   We’ve been asking for 10 years for this to be included – but so far, nothing.  But there’s a new ePortfolio coming out in 2019/2020.  Fingers crossed!

Trainees often ask me whether they should be using the same ES Workbook for the entire GP training period or a new one every year? The answer is simple - you start a new ES workbook everytime you move UP and ST year.

Ramesh Mehay, GP Trainer, Bradford Tweet

The ES workbook has 11 sections covering the following.   Each is relatively simple to fill in.  

  1. COT mapping sheet
  2. Audit COT mapping sheet
  3. CBD mapping sheet
  4. CEX mapping sheet
  5. Prescribing assessment
  6. QIA project details
  7. HDR attendance reccord
  8. OOH engagement at a glance
  9. Record of Leave
  10. Details if you’re doing an Innovative Community Post
  11. Final checks for ST3s

Download the ES workbook here…


Once you have completed your ES workbook, please upload it to your ePortfolio as an attachment to a Learning Log Entry – and title that learning log entry as “THE ES WORKBOOK” so that it’s easy to find amongst all the other log entries (key search word: WORKBOOK).


      • 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.     

Your scheme’s administrator will tell you who your Educational Supervisor is. Generally, your Educational Supervisor will remain the same throughout your entire training period (unless they become ill, emigrate, retire etc).  Some schemes try to allocate your very first GP trainer in ST1 as the Educational Supervisor for the rest of your training.  In this way, they believe you will form a positive relationship with them early that will serve you well for the remaining training years; it makes educational sense.

Once you know who your Educational Supervisor is, YOU need to get in touch with them EARLY ON so that you can schedule some appropriate dates. It is no good waiting til say in May and hoping they can squeeze you in during that month.   Please remember that Educational Supervisors have lives and their own plans too.

The RCGP endorses the notion that Educational Supervision is a trainee-led process.  In other words, it’s your responsibility to get in touch with your Educational Supervisor early on (and not the other way around). If you end up missing your ES session because you forgot (say) then I hope you will agree that it would be unfair to expect the supervisor to drop everything just to fit you in. As the saying goes, if you fail to prepare, then be prepared to fail. Only you will lose out!  I apologise for having to write in this way, but this is a key message you need to take on board early.  Too many trainees get into bother over this, and I don’t want you to be one of them.

If the ePortfolio wont let you do this or it says something like “You are not in a Review period”, then get in touch with your Educational Supervisor.     Email them the following.  

“Dear Dr XXXX,   unfortunately I cannot access the competency rating scales section of my ePortfolio in preparation for our ES meeting.   Apparently, this is because of two things that the Educational Supervisor needs to do…

  1. Please can you countersign the Educational Contract on the home page of my ePortfolio (I will make sure that Ihave signed it off too).
  2. Please can you “Create a Review Period”.  To do this… log in and click ‘create review’ and complete the first page and then save it.  This will only take 2-3 minutes.

Please let me know when you have done it.   And thank you”

Please email your Educational Supervisor the following message…

“Dear Dr XXX

Unfortunately I cannot read my MSF results which have all been done.  Apparently, this is because you have to “release” them first (in case there is anything very sensitive in them).   To do this… 

  • Log in and click Evidence
  • Then click MSF
  • Make sure you select the correct Review Period
  • Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a little graph icon which if clicked, will analyse the results.  
  • At the bottom of that page, you will see a box where you can make comments and a button which says something like ‘release scores to trainee’

Please let me know when you have done this and thank you.”

Please leave a comment

What do you think of this page?  Is there anything we have missed?  Anything inaccurate, errors or broken links?  Anything you would have liked included?   Or even ask a question to get a discussion going.  Please leave a comment below and we’ll update the page.   If you would prefer to email me or send me something to share with others, contact [email protected]

Make GP Training Better Together’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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