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Advice on ARCP outcomes

This page provides guidance and advice about ARCP outcomes related to the matrix of educational progression. For information about the possible ARCP outcomes, please visit the main ARCP page.

Matrix of educational progression

The Matrix of Educational Progression (ST1–7) is made available to trainees at the beginning of each academic year, and they will be assessed against it at their next ARCP. If a trainee achieves all of the standards for that training year, they should be issued with an ARCP outcome 1. The matrix defines the minimum standard required. Trainees are encouraged to exceed these requirements.

Matrix of educational progression
Training matrix []

The matrix of educational progression sets out the standards for progression through the specialty training programme in O&G

Timing of the annual assessment in relation to training year

Not all trainees will be assessed at the end of their training year, owing to the timing of the ARCPs and changes to an individual’s anticipated CCT date. Also, many trainees have an annual ARCP in terms of calendar years, while not undertaking 12 months of full-time training in the period since their last assessment.

In these situations, the ARCP panel will judge the progress the trainee has made pro rata against the standards in the training matrix, which describes the standards to be achieved over a 12-month period. The Educational Supervisor must confirm that the trainee has met the specific requirements to pass through the key way points, at ST2–ST3 and ST5–ST6 when the Part 1 MRCOG and Part 2 MRCOG exams are sat, respectively (for more details, see below and read the guidance on ARCP outcomes for trainees who fail the MRCOG exams). Alternatively, the panel may wish to have a further formal assessment.

Failure to achieve all the competencies and standards

If a trainee fails to achieve any standard for that training year, they should not be issued an ARCP outcome 1. The ARCP panel will determine the appropriate alternative outcome, with advice and support from the trainee’s deanery, as appropriate. The advice below aims to ensure consistency across deaneries and, within deaneries, across ARCP panels.

ARCP outcome 2

  • Issuing an outcome 2 enables the Postgraduate Dean to ensure the trainee’s next attachment will provide access to appropriate training opportunities to address any deficiencies
  • Trainees shouldn’t regard an outcome 2 as a failure, but rather as an opportunity to achieve an educational package that will help them reach the necessary standard
  • An outcome 2 doesn’t alter the trainee’s anticipated CCT date
  • Trainees issued with an outcome 2 at ST5 are usually allowed to register for Advanced Training Skills Modules (ATSMs), to start when they enter ST6

ARCP outcome 3

  • Issuing an outcome 3 will enable the trainee to obtain specific competencies with additional training time allocated for this purpose
  • The total additional training time available to a trainee is limited to 1 year, as set out in the Gold Guide

ARCP outcome 4

  • Issuing an outcome 4 means the ARCP panel recommends releasing the trainee from the specialty training programme, following insufficient and sustained lack of progress despite having had up to 1 year of additional training to address concerns

ARCP outcome 5

  • Outcome 5 is reserved for a very small number of cases, such as when the ePortfolio wasn’t available to the ARCP panel or the trainee presents insufficient evidence

The RCOG considers it good practice for the assessor to confirm the ARCP outcome in writing to trainees after the ARCP process.

ARCPs at key way points in the curriculum (ST2 and ST5)

There are key way points in the O&G curriculum when the ARCP process is particularly important to ensure trainees are clinically competent to move to the next level of training:

  • The move from junior to middle-grade level (ST2–ST3)
  • The move from middle-grade to senior level (ST5–ST6)

At these way points, the trainee must provide evidence to confirm they’ve achieved the competences and achievements stated in the matrix of educational progression (available at the top of this page), including passing the relevant part of the MRCOG exam. For more information, please read the guidance on ARCP outcomes at key way points, which includes information on ARCP outcomes for trainees who fail the relevant part of the MRCOG exam.

Using the matrix of educational progression to screen for potential future issues

The matrix of educational progression (available at the top of this page) is a useful objective tool for benchmarking trainees. For guidance regarding the ARCP outcome for each of the standards within the matrix, please read the screening for future issues page.

Contact us

If you have any questions about ARCPs that can’t be resolved at deanery/local level, please email the Policy Coordinator or call +44 20 7772 6348.

Elsewhere on the site

The complete specialty training programme in O&G – core curriculum, ultrasound, ATSMs, subspecialty and academic
MRCOG exams
How to prepare for the Part 1 and Part 2 MRCOG exams (the RCOG’s membership exams)