Academic support

Academic tutorials

Academic tutorials are there to support trainees in their learning and passing the academic assignments. They complement the formal teaching, self-directed study and assignment/assessments by providing tutor and peer support of learning.

Trainees are allocated to tutorial groups on the basis of their geographical placement base. Tutorials occur three times a year in years 1 and 2, and normally last about 2 hours. There are two academic tutorials in year 3. Academic tutors are responsible for the running of tutorials.

Suggested Topics for Academic Tutorials

The agenda for discussion in the academic tutorial will normally include time for checking how everyone is doing, support of continuous assessment work, and discussion of academic ideas and progress.

 The scope of tutorials includes:

  • Facilitation of the PBL process
  • Consideration of themes and possible development areas for individual PBL write-ups.
  • The opportunity for trainees to discuss the piece of work they are planning to write up for their CPR and to received advice/guidance on how it fits the marking criteria, and issues that will need attending to.
  • One-to-one meetings to give each trainee the chance to reflect upon their academic progress and any themes that have arisen in the marking feedback and to identify strengths and development areas.

Role of the Academic Tutor

  • Facilitate trainees in completing the assignments and assessments.  
  • Facilitate trainees’ development as reflective scientist-practitioners.
    • Facilitation of PBL Process

Academic Tutors take primarily a non-expert role and are present to help the group with process issues, rather than provide commentary or direct input in terms of the content of exercises. Reflection on process is likely to inform, and be informed by, what trainees are learning on the programme about group processes. The Academic Tutor may help to clarify content issues on occasion.

  • It is assumed the tutorials will be held as a group session, however there is flexibility. The tutors should ensure that; in year 1 that the group meets for at least part of every tutorial, and in year 2, some tutorials can be for individual meetings only.
  • Once per year, ideally in spring / summer, tutees should meet individually with their tutor to discuss issues around their academic work and progress. This should involve a review of academic feedback received so far to identify together any themes that arise in terms of both strengths and areas for improvement.

Role of the Trainees

Contribute to discussion in session on academic assignments and assessments. Engage in learning initiatives between and during tutorials. 

Guidelines for Group and Tutorial Sessions 

  1. Work with respect for each other even if we disagree
  2. Accept corporate responsibility for the climate
  3. Accept individual responsibility for individual behaviour
  4. Establish permissions for: having feelings, opinions and to learn constructively from mistakes
  5. Pay attention to issues of difference such as gender, age, race and culture remembering that each person’s experience is true for them and valid
  6. Clarify limits of confidentiality and adhere to these
  7. Make your own decisions about how much information you wish to share about personal or occupational matters
  8. Remember you are the “expert” about your own life – any questions or suggestions from others may be rejected as inappropriate


Disability support

 Trainees are both postgraduate students at the university and employed by Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. The role of the university systems is primarily to support the academic and research components, whereas Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust will be concerned with working on placement.  Both systems have a role in supporting trainees with a disability.

The University arrangements are provided by AccessAbility.

Within the Programme the key person for the trainee to liaise with is their appraiser so that if an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is needed this can be arranged with the AccessAbility team in the university. The trainee can also, if they so wish, independently approach any of the university services. The trainee, or their appraiser, will share the ILP with the Academic Lead so that reasonable adjustments can be supported.

Individual Learning Plans (ILP) will set out the reasonable adjustments the Programme undertakes.  

Reasonable adjustments will be made in order that the trainee with a disability is not disadvantaged by their disability. The ILP should support the trainee in achieving the standards required by the programme to be met. For example, being able to produce a piece of academic work to an excellent standard of scientific written English and on time is a programme standard. An ILP may provide for the trainee gaining access to a proofreading service so that this can be achieved. However, they will not be able to submit substandard pieces of work. The aim of the ILP is to assist the trainee to meet the standards, not as a way of lowering the standard.

In the initial stages of implementing the ILP there may need to be some time for support services to be organised, and reasonable adjustments will be made to take this into account.