Becoming a GP Trainer

Becoming a GP trainer is a challenging and rewarding career move. The process of preparing the practice to train often acts as a stimulus for development. GPSTs usually bring a great deal of enthusiasm to a practice and often act as a catalyst for the trainers' own professional development. Visit the GMC website for information on being a trainer or clinical supervisor.

Approval/Re-approval of GP Trainers

GPs wishing to develop their educational career as a GP trainer must have MRCGP (or equivalent) and complete the Prospective Educational Supervisors Course (or equivalent). New trainers must be at least 3 years post-CCT, and have worked in the practice for a minimum of 12 months, not necessarily as a GP Partner.

For part-time GPs interested in becoming trainers, please see this additional information.

The Quality Assurance Framework is currently under review, however the 2017 Framework document can be found here.

New applicants and experienced trainers seeking approval and re-approval as a trainer must:

  • Fulfill the relevant criteria outlined in on which the GP trainer application form is based.

  • Host a practice visit
    From the beginning of August 2017 GP Trainers in the South West Peninsula undergoing re-approval visits can expect to be approved as a GP trainer for a period of up to 6 years duration, subject to participating in a peer review at the 3 year mark. NEW trainers undergoing their initial approval visit can be approved for up to 2 years duration.

    Approval / re-approval of a GP Trainer needs to be sought through completing the HEE Quality Assurance of General Practice Placements Report and sending it to the appropriate VTS administrator prior to the training practice visit. The completed report is then sent to the School of Primary Care to be processed, after which you will be sent your approval / re-approval confirmation.

Promoting Excellence

GP trainers and training practices are expected to maintain the standards set out in GMC's paper "Promoting Excellence"

Trainer Courses

  • The Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Education from Plymouth University and Exeter University. (PgCert)
  • The South West Peninsula course for Prospective Educational Supervisors (PESC)

The Certificate programme is the entry level for the University of Plymouth MSc programme and those doctors who are considering a career in academic General Practice or who wish to teach learners other than GP registrars should consider this option.

The Head of School will also consider applications from GPs who have completed courses elsewhere and GPs who have satisfied the approval criteria for training in other locations. Please contact Sarah Anderson.

The South West Peninsula course for new trainers is an introduction to training and takes a pragmatic approach to preparing to train. This does not prevent a GP subsequently studying for the PgCert.

If you are unsure which course is most suitable for you it is advisable to seek the advice of one of the Associate Postgraduate Deans for your area.

PgCert from Plymouth University 

Entry requirement: First Degree and two years postgraduate experience
Assessment:  Written assignments, Teaching observation in real time and on video
Cost:  Course fees are the responsibility of the participant

If you have any queries regarding this course, please speak to a member of the Admissions team:

Phone: +44 (0) 1752 437333 or

Prospective Educational Supervisors Courses (PESC)

Prospective Educational Supervisors Courses (PESC) for those interested in becoming new GP trainers are organised approximately twice annually, and we maintain a list of prospective trainers for each patch, which is sent to each of the Associate Postgraduate Deans in advance of the next cycle of the PESC, so that they know who is interested within their patch. 

The decision as to who is offered a place on the next course is made by the patch APD, based on local knowledge and demand for training places. Places are allocated based on APD advice, rather than time spent on the prospective trainers list.

Entry requirement:

MRCGP or equivalent

Assessment: Attending the course and completed all necessary work and 'homework'
Cost:  Please contact Sarah Anderson for details of the current course fees. This will be reimbursed as the trainer’s first CPD Grant, following the hosting of a practice visit, and allocation as Educational Supervisor 

Please note, you will need to arrange a Trainer/Practice Approval visit within a two year period of that date OR your training accreditation will expire.

Protocol for Established Educational Supervisors

We expect established active Educational Supervisors (ES) who move Practice or region to reapply for trainer status through the usual route.

We will not accept applications until the potential ES had been working in the new Practice for a minimum of twelve months. This is to allow the ES time to become part of the new team and ensure a robust understanding of the Practice's systems and procedures.

Applicants are expected to have Membership of the RCGP or equivalent.

Applicants who have previously trained but not been active as an ES for 3 years will be required to complete the whole of the Prospective Educational Supervisors Course (PESC) unless they have a formal Educational qualification in which case they must attend the last 3 days of the PESC.

Applicants who have a higher Educational qualification, but who have not been an ES previously will attend the last 3 days of the PESC. We would suggest that attendance at the whole of the course might be advantageous, particularly if the applicant has come from outside the Health Education England, South West footprint.


If you have any queries or are interested in becoming a GP trainer, please contact Sarah Anderson on 01752 590668 or email