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How subspecialty training is assessed

Subspecialty training is competence based.

Each subspecialty training programme has a curriculum setting out the competences that you need to achieve.

Centralised subspecialty assessment

Centralised subspecialty training assessments were introduced in March 2018, replacing the previous scheme of site visits to undertake individual trainee assessments. The aims of the new systems are:

  • to meet GMC requirements (Improving the national consistency and approval of subspecialty training programmes)
  • to ensure a more robust assessment process
  • to align the subspecialty assessment more closely to the ARCP exercise as it has to be undertaken within a maximum of four months prior to the ARCP
  • to facilitate standard setting between assessors as they would be able to compare standards more easily when undertaking assessments on the same day
  • to enable proper use of the ePortfolio to facilitate the assessment process.

The centralised assessment runs twice a year in March and October. A panel consisting of a panel chair and two accredited subspecialists conducts the assessment. The Chair is usually a Head of School or a Training Programme Director with experience in chairing an ARCP panel. The assessment involves a review of your evidence and progress on the ePortfolio against the curriculum and the training matrix. The assessment process is outlined below:

  • You will need to make sure that your evidence on the ePortfolio is up-to-date. The evidence should be linked to the relevant subspecialty Capabilities in Practice (CiPs) on the curriculum.
  • You will also need to liaise with your Subspecialty Training Programme Supervisor (STPS) to complete the Subspecialty Educational Supervisor Report (SST ESR) on the ePortfolio.
  • You will be expected to submit your evidence and documentation (including an up-to-date CV) to the ePortfolio two weeks before the assessment day to allow the panel to review them in advance.
  • On the day of the assessment, the panel will review your evidence, including the SST ESR, and progress against the relevant curriculum and the matrix.
  • Following a review of the evidence, you will be invited to meet with the panel to feed back to you their recommendation and to explain how the decision for a certain recommendation was reached. If necessary, plans can be formulated at that time to address any additional training requirements.
  • The panel will complete an assessment report on your ePortfolio. Once complete and published, the report will be accessible by you, your STPS, Deputy STPS and the relevant Head/s of School.

Resourcing subspecialty assessment

It is the responsibility of the trusts who are employing subspecialty trainees to meet the assessment charge for each appointed subspecialty trainee. The fee represents the cost and resources required to organise and deliver the assessment. All fees are subject to annual review. The College will inform the relevant trusts about the upcoming assessment of their trainee/s and will request financial information to be provided before the assessment.

The assessment process and associated fees is a compulsory component for delivery of subspecialty training and ongoing centre accreditation status.

Training matrices and curriculum

Find out more

If you need any help or advice, please read the subspecialty training FAQs, or you can contact the Advanced Training Coordinator at or +44 20 7045 6789.