Teaching and Learning

Regional training days

Trainees will be expected to attend a set number of regional training days throughout the training year in addition to local teaching at their trust.  Each school has a minimum number of events trainees are expected to attend in order to achieve a successful outcome at their ACRP.

Regional training days should be booked through the School of Psychiatry and can be found on the KSS events calendar webpage. To attend a regional training day, you should book study leave with your trust according to their notice period, usually a minimum of six weeks.  If trainees are unable to attend, the school must be given a valid reason for non-attendance. This may include:

  • the Trust being unable to release a trainee from service (if this recurs, contact should be made with the school)
  • pre-booked leave (although trainees shouldn’t make a habit of this)
  • illness/bereavement/special leave
  • exams
  • working nights

Trainees’ attendance or non-attendance at each event will be noted and made available to the ARCP panel. The reasons above will be taken into account by the panel, providing they are valid.

Note – trainees must book their place before attending. Trainees who do not book a place may be turned away due to capacity. Trainees who have booked, but can no longer attend, should aim to give their school at least 48 hours’ notice so that another trainee can attend in their place. Trainees who do not attend and fail to give a valid reason beforehand will be reported to their Training Programme Director (TPDs).

Study leave

From 2018, the study leave budget has no longer been assigned as an annual allowance for each doctor. This followed negotiation between trainee representatives, the BMA and HEE. The trainee representatives argued that this was too inflexible and did not take account of variation across years of training, and across specialities.

To simplify management, and allow local decisions, the centralised process defines three levels of course or event. Two are agreed locally: courses that are mandated for delivering the curriculum, and courses that are recommended to assist in achieving this. These should be discussed with Educational Supervisors or TPDs to advise and support the application. 

The third category is designated as aspirational, requiring written approval by the Head of School after forwarding by the Trust to the Deanery. An aspirational course or event might for instance reflect a particular interest within training in psychiatry training, or be in an area allied to psychiatric practice but outside usual training (at the time of writing there is an approval cap of £1,000 for an aspirational course).

Further information is available on the trainee London and South East Support Portal.The process of applying for study leave and funding can come from PGME departments in each local education provider trust. 

Doctors are entitled up to a maximum of 30 study days in a year; this is calculated from the date of commencement of appointment or rotation. Leave to sit necessary examinations is allowable but does not count against study leave. The study leave budget does not support exam fees, nor the costs of travel and accommodation for exams.

Trust mandatory training should have been completed before applying for Study Leave, and an agreed personal development plan must be in place.

The centralised budgetary arrangements, and the lists of mandated and recommended courses and events remain under review, and it is not yet clear whether the total amount will continue to meet all requests. There has been no restriction to date on aspirational courses requested in KSS Psychiatry training. One impetus to the new system was that nationally and across specialties the total was underspent when defined as an allocation assigned as an individual allowance.
Doctors in the programme can apply for bursary support to pursue higher qualifications.

Please find below some information on study leave guidance:

  • There is an entitlement of 30 days maximum in a year (which is calculated from the date of commencement of appointment or rotation)
  • Leave to sit necessary examinations is allowable but does not count against study leave

Using study leave:

  • Approval rests with the Director of Medical Education (DME)
  • Applications should be received on the appropriate form at least 6 weeks prior to the leave
  • Leave should not be taken within the first two weeks of a new appointment
  • Trainees must have an agreed personal development plan and have completed trust mandatory training before applying for study leave

For Core Psychiatry trainees, it is recognised that the cost of even the essential courses mentioned below may exceed study leave budgets available.

Other opportunities, training and teaching days


KSS School of Psychiatry organises an annual induction and training day, to provide newly recruited doctors with the tools to assist their progress through training in psychiatry. The event has a strong input from current doctors in KSS training, and gives all our new doctors a chance to network with each other and their trainee representatives.

Inductions have been held at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in August each year, attended by the School of Psychiatry, the Training Programme Directors, and Medical Education Managers.

Calman training days

The Calman training days are specifically aimed at Higher Specialty trainees (HSTs) and are educational days organised by the trainees themselves on topics of interest and importance to their training.

These are held on a quarterly basis, rotating respectively between KSS trusts. The local HST representative normally takes the lead in organising this event with the support of other trainees. The day is funded by the HEE KSS Deanery.

The name Calman has stuck after the 1993 reorganisation and shortening of medical specialty training by Sir Kenneth Calman. Formal teaching sessions for Higher trainees were part of giving a structure to training, along with curriculum setting.

Psychotherapy in higher training

Each Trust provides the required HST psychotherapy training in each programme including the General Adult, Old Age and Forensic Psychiatry programmes, with the C and A, and Dual Medical Psychotherapy Dual Programmes delivering separate competences.

Psychotherapy Tutors are introduced at Trust induction, and supervise the allocation and completion of the psychotherapy modalities. HST doctors may continue experience in Balint groups, and have this experience signed off. Later, leading Balint groups under supervision is one of a range of options.

HST doctors are strongly advised to liaise early with Psychotherapy tutors to get advice, support, facilitation of proposed experience, and sign-off, so your training towards each CCT can be kept on track over the three years of HST training.


Research is encouraged and supported at all levels of training in KSS, complementing clinical work, being part of the curriculum, and building a skill set. Research is personally worthwhile for its enjoyment and fascination, and for keeping an eye to the future (supporting CV development, HST and consultant interviews) as well as qualifications (PGCERT, MSc, MD, PhD) and opportunities for posters, presentations, prizes, and publications.

Options for research activity include:

– Masters: the new BSMS Masters in Dementia or IPGM Medical Education (and travel to IoP) may be eligible for aspirational study leave part-funding
– study leave
– OOPR – if the deanery is supportive, this may count towards CCT
– clinical research training fellowships: Wellcome Trust, MRC, NIHR
– clinical research fellowships: BSMS/Sussex Partnership
– MD or PhD programmes
– deanery/national medical education/leadership fellowships
– special interest day: especially if a research-active clinical supervisor

The range of areas of psychiatry research activity in KSS covers:

– Imaging of Brain-body interactions
– ADHD/ASD/Tourette Syndromes
– Neuropsychoimmunology
– Neuropsychopharmacology
– Dementia
– Neuropsychiatry and liaison psychiatry
– Early intervention in psychosis
– Suicide
– Mindfulness/psychotherapy
– Medical Education.

Research particularly comes into focus during HST training, with thinking ahead and pragmatic decision-making on timing (needing more than expected) and the scope/design of the project attachment. This is facilitated by being in an area of interest, or where the patient group can be accessed personally.

MRCPsych Course

To find out more about the MRCPsych course for KSS, please visit the MRCPsych course webpage.

Acting up consultant

HST doctors in the final year of their training are encouraged to take opportunities to act up as a consultant if an educationally-suitable post becomes available. It requires the support of the TPD and the Director of Medical Education (acting for the Trust) and must be signed off by the Head of School (acting for the Postgraduate Dean, who should be copied in.)

Detailed guidance is attached below, along with the application form. Note that confirmation of funding from the Trust is often more straightforward than it sounds, as routinely recruitment to an AUC is into a vacant consultant post, so the Trust (via the DME) is simply confirming this.

Acting Up – Application Form
Acting Up – Guidance

Trainees online (TrOn)

Trainees Online (TrOn) is a free College online learning resource supporting doctors who are preparing for the MRCPsych, produced by HST doctors and junior consultants with recent knowledge of the examinations. There are over 63 modules covering the whole of the basic sciences syllabus, with new modules published regularly. Each module includes three items of ‘Key Reading’; the module plus this added reading is sufficient coverage for the Membership exams.

It is structured to be an interesting learning experience with dynamic diagrams and illustrations, and interactive activities and tests. It includes e-Learning for flexible time use, and signposts for further study, with references and links to other related journal articles.

If you would like to find out more about TrOn, please visit the Royal College of Psychiatrists TrOn webpage.