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A quarterly round-up of events, training opportunities and updates from the Centre for Health Sciences Education at the University of Bristol.
As the summer break arrives, we hope you are all able to take some time to relax and unwind after what has been a very busy and highly successful year. Summer also means graduation week, and it has been a pleasure to see so many of our students graduating, including those from the new intercalation partnership with Hong Kong University Medical School. We were pleased to be joined by staff from HKU to review the partnership, and to celebrate the success of their and our students.
Professor Ivan Hung (left, a Bristol medical graduate), Dr George Tipoe (second right; academic lead for HKU medical programme enrichment year), and Maggie Cheuk (far right, HKU Assistant Registrar) with graduating intercalation students and their parents.
The next academic year will be an exciting one for the Faculty. The Vet School will be delivering the new Accelerated Graduated Entry programme for the first time, and the Medical programme has the challenge of the ‘bulge year’ when there will be very few intercalating students due to curriculum change and therefore increased pressures on provision of clinical placements for Year 3 students. This time next year CAA will have the first graduates from their new BSc Applied Anatomy programme. Dentistry is a hive of activity with a new BDS curriculum and Finals examination, and new BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy programme and International Foundation programme for Medicine and Dentistry to deliver.
The University has a new PVC (Education), Professor Tansy Jessop (see article below). Tansy has been getting to know staff in Faculties across the University, and within her remit will be leading curriculum enhancement and assessment change initiatives in the coming years. She has already run a ‘Curriculum café’ for Health Sciences where we considered the features of exciting and innovative curricula, and different models for education within the overall student experience. Changes in the University management team, including Tansy’s role and that of Prof. Sarah Purdy, the recently appointed PVC (Student Experience) who was previously Head of the Medical School, are reflected by a new educational governance structure within the University.
The end of the 2018-19 academic year will bring some changes to the Centre. As we are demitting from our Faculty Education Director (FED) roles, our successors will have the pleasure of taking the Centre forward in the future. CHSE is now well established in the Faculty and we look forward to seeing it develop further in the coming years. Thanks to all who have contributed to the myriad of successful activities from the Centre, particularly the theme leads and conference organisers, Andrew Pearce for providing generous financial support, and most of all to Nick Iles for his exceptional diligence in organising and administering CHSE board meetings, building and updating the website, and communicating with the Faculty through CHSE Wire newsletters. We wish CHSE future success as it matures further.

This is the second year we have formally celebrated staff achievements through a Centre for Health Sciences Education award ceremony. Prizes were presented to our winners at the CHSE Conference on 20.03.19 at an event in Senate House. In seeking nominations, we were looking to identify members of staff who have had a major impact on our educational provision in the Faculty, who may not always be formally recognised for their efforts, people who could be thought of as ‘unsung heroes’. Thank you to those who nominated colleagues for these CHSE awards. For full details of all nominees see the CHSE Prizes 2019 page. The award winners were as follows:

Curriculum Development

Sarah Bain - for her work in developing a new BSc programme for Dental Hygiene and Therapy to replace the older model of separate Diplomas.

Joe Hartland - for his development of the Disability, Diversity and Disadvantage theme in the MBChB programme and taking a lead on patient and public involvement in medical education.

Assessment and Feedback

Helen Warner - Helen has made a tremendous contribution to delivery of high-quality assessments in the BVSc programme.

Staff Development

Ellayne Fowler – for her enthusiasm and mentorship of staff in her role as Lecturer in Medical Education and leading contributor to TLHP, FQT and CHSE. In addition particular acknowledgment for her recent work with those who wish to develop skills in pedagogic research.

Annie Noble - for her work as the current TLHP programme director and her work on the Staff development theme within CHSE.

Quality Assurance

Isabelle Cunningham - for her contribution to quality assurance within the Dental School and Faculty, promoting staff development, advising staff on how to calibrate their gradings on clinic, developing a new system for students to provide feedback on clinical supervisors, and introducing a peer observation system for teaching across the Faculty. 

Student Lifecycle

The Faculty PG Admissions Team: Allison Maggs, Louise Paton and Liz Hemmings - The team, nominated by the team lead Helen Hampson, now has responsibility for the admissions and record keeping for 20 PGT programmes, as well as all applications into PG research. 

Ann Standen - for her work overseeing the assessment process at the School including line management responsibility for student administrators, exam date planning, exam paper administration, exam marking including the moderation and standard setting of all papers and publication of marks to students via Grade Centre. 

Emma Place - for her work with student training for a new Element in the BDS programme, the Year 4 Evidence Summary and previous work she has undertaken on the BVSc programme on evidence-based veterinary medicine.

(L-R) Helen Hampson, Liz Hemmings, Louise Paton and Emma Place

Educational Research

The Educational and Anatomical Research Writing Group (EARWiG) in CAA - This team meet regularly to discuss educational research projects and ongoing evaluation of the Foundation Programme that comes under their remit.  Anatomy team members have attended and actively engaged in all the education research training seminars this year.

Outstanding Contribution Award

Claire Moszoro and Amy Wilkinson Tough - Faculty Student Advisors. Claire and Amy have excellent understanding of the requirements of the wide range of programmes offered by the Faculty and provide tailored support as required. More students than ever have benefitted from Amy and Claire’s expert advice this academic year, including through outreach activities at Langford and the Dental School.

This month, Lindsay Bishop - Faculty Engagement Officer for Health Sciences writes for us in the staff corner section...
Hello, my name is Lindsay Bishop and I am your new Faculty Engagement Officer (FEO) for Health Sciences. At this point you might be asking yourself What is a Faculty Engagement Officer and where can I find one!  I am based in the Home Recruitment and Conversion (HRC) office, which provides opportunities for prospective students to engage with the University.

The HRC is comprised of 3 teams:
  • Undergraduate Recruitment Team - undergraduate open day, campus tours, UCAS and school fairs.
  • Postgraduate Recruitment Team - postgraduate open days and events.
  • Outreach team - organises a variety of activities for students, schools and colleges across the UK working to ensure the University is accessible to all.
The role of the Faculty Engagement Officer is to bring together the work of the Home Recruitment and Conversion Team and Faculty Outreach with a range of stakeholders (primary and secondary schools and Colleges of FE)
As an institution, the University of Bristol has a relatively low proportion of students from under-represented and disadvantaged groups. Therefore, we have focussed activity and investment on those areas in which we need to make progress against targets (Widening participation or WP). When organising activities, I prioritise primary and secondary schools with students with WP criteria.  There are a number of WP criteria we look for and the type of criteria required can depend on the activity for which they have been recruited.  Some examples are:
  • Studying in a school that achieved below the national average attainment 8 score at GCSE.
  • A school with a high percentage of students receiving free school meals.
  • Student is living in a geographical area with low levels of progression into higher education.
  • Students are a young carer.
Outreach events happening in your faculty!
Primary School 'Inspire Roadshows' are exciting, interactive, enquiry-based sessions that we run within the school classroom which are available for all year groups and are free to all state schools. The launch took place in July with our 2nd Year Dental Students.

Clinical taster days for primary and secondary schools were run at the BRI simulation centre and Southmead Hospital also in July.  It was a real hands on experience for the students, who met with clinical staff to find out about medical careers and tried their hand with the simulation dummies.

“Big Bang” careers exhibitions provide opportunities for our staff and students to engage and discuss their research with 1000’s of school students.

I am looking for staff and students who would like to get involved and help take our faculty outreach to the next level.  It maybe that you need funding for an exciting new event, or you can offer 1 hour of your time to give an inspirational talk to A- level students.
If you would like to help inspire our next generation of professional healthcare specialists and scientists, please contact me at:
I am thrilled to join the University of Bristol as PVC Education. Having had a sneak preview as a Visiting Professor in BILT this year, I have begun to piece together aspects of teaching and learning at the University.
Although my disciplinary background is in Education, I have been an interloper in the Health Sciences through teaching sessions on an MA for Medical Educators for ten years - so it is good to be writing this piece for CHSE! I hope to learn a lot through getting to know members of staff and understanding more about Bristol’s Faculty of Heath Sciences, which I know has an excellent reputation.  

So here is a quick thumbnail sketch of my professional background. In my early career I was a secondary teacher in South Africa. In the run-up to the democratic elections of 1994, I joined a government department as a curriculum developer and researcher, working on curriculum approaches designed to repair the damage of decades of apartheid education. My PhD built on this experience and sought to understand the professional frameworks of rural primary teachers in KwaZulu-Natal using narrative methods. The next stage of my career was as an education research consultant, mainly in India. I researched approaches by NGOs to overcome the scourge of child labour and undertook an ethnographic case study of a school in Kolkata. This private girls’ school had opened its doors to street-children and diversified its intake, at the instigation of its principal, Sister Cyril, a great social justice warrior. My spell as an educational researcher reinforced the idea that individuals with courage and vision can make a real difference, but that educational change is complicated.

In higher education, I have worked with academics and students to strengthen links between research and teaching, negotiating evidence informed changes to assessment and feedback through TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment) and seeking to reclaim curriculum design as an intellectual pursuit rather than a technical one. Through TESTA I have become convinced of the virtue of creating space for programme teams to work together on assessment and curriculum design, listening to student voice data yet always making professionally informed judgements. It is wonderful to hear how embedded these team approaches are in the Health Sciences at Bristol. I am looking forward to attending part of the launch of the new Dental curriculum, and I know that teams in Medicine have been at the vanguard in developing programme assessment. 

So, what is my vision for education at Bristol? In a nutshell, that:

  • we work together to inspire students with engaging teaching and learning, informed by disciplinary research and powered by evidence, theory and established teaching principles;
  • we create space in the curriculum for students to go deeper, building firmer relationships with knowledge, their teachers, each other and themselves;
  • we use a ‘measure less, learn more’ approach to assessing students, while in tandem building a repertoire of compelling formative tasks;
  • we ask why of our educational practices and processes more often, discarding time-consuming and ineffective practices in favour of fulfilling and productive ones;
  • and finally, we maintain and improve standards not by doing more of the same but by taking a few educationally proven risks together.
Programme Directors

Andrea Waylen and Isabelle Cunningham will be the co-Programme Directors for BDS21. Their role will include oversight of the implementation and operational delivery of the new programme, working alongside the appointed Year and Theme Leads.

David Dymock will continue to be Programme Director for BDS18 until this has been phased out. He has already given immense support for BDS21 and will continue to do so in future.

Aims and Tenets

The aims of the Bristol BDS Curriculum are to help its student body graduate to fulfil its potential as future practitioners, leaders, teachers, researchers, oral public health advocates and agents of change at a local, national or international level. 

In Summary, the Bristol BDS curriculum will be characterised by:
  • Learning that is active and informed by current research.
  • Learning and teaching that is integrated where reasonably possible, by early introduction of clinical activity, between basic sciences and clinical teaching, between clinical disciplines and between professional groups.
  • A focus on patient and population need that increases students’ core experience and confidence via more clinical, primary care dentistry and treatment planning.
  • Giving students the experience and skills to care for more demanding patients from diverse social backgrounds and an aging population with complex medical problems.
  • Incorporated learning in research methods and critical appraisal that encourages students’ interest in academic enquiry and research.
We will place our students at the heart of what we do by nurturing their well-being and providing high quality student support.

Year 2 Academic Case

The academic case for Year 2 of BDS21 was prepared by our Year 2 Leads Isabelle Cunningham and David Dymock, and the Year 2 assessment and engagement document was prepared by our Assessment Lead, James Puryer. Both documents were reviewed by our critical friend Mark Gilbertson. The meeting was very positive and the proposal reviewed by the Faculty Undergraduate Studies Committee and the University Education Committee in June 2019.


If you have any questions or queries at all about the Curriculum Review, please do approach me. I can be found on the third floor of Chapter House just across from the stairwell and am happy to help.

Dr Claire Vine - Project Manager BDS Curriculum Review
A Workplace-Based Assessment workshop was run by CHSE on 30th April 2019, at Langford, with representatives from the dental, medical, veterinary and veterinary nursing programmes. Andrew Blythe shared the medical programme’s experiences with the implementation of Entrustable Professional Activities, highlighting the value of the language of EPAs (how much supervision does the learner need?). Andrew also described the medical programme’s Team Assessment of Behaviour, which is one of the key assessments of professionalism in the programme, and mirrors workplace practices post-graduation.  Trish Scorer introduced the group to the Nursing Progress Log, explaining the training and standardisation processes that are used to ensure that clinical coaches in a wide range of practices are assessing in a similar manner. 

The participants then split into small groups to discuss aspects of assessor training, and the challenges of ensuring assessments are logistically practical and viewed as authentic.  Similar challenges across the programmes emerged, along with examples of good practice, such as the use of training days with examples for staff to work through, and provision of feedback to examiners on their own marking. The challenges of balancing staff time, paper/online logistics and creating meaningful learning through assessments led to some valued discussion and sharing of ideas. 

Participants at the workshop have access to a repository of the WPBA tools used across the Faculty – a great source of inspiration for those tasked with designing or improving their own assessment resources.  
This was the first time the TLHP team had run a workshop on this topic for the CHSE network and we are pleased to say it was a great success. We are very grateful for the inspirational talk by Professor Havi Carel about bias and micro-aggressions that exist in the world of academia, which really helped to frame the conversations for the morning. The table facilitators spoke of very insightful and engaging discussions taking place around the case studies, with attendees safely exploring sensitive and difficult issues. We are also extremely grateful to Robiu Salisu and the medical students who attended to provide student voices as part of the panel debrief around the case studies. Feedback from the day shows that attendees found this invaluable, and highlights the importance of involving those with lived experience when facilitating such workshops. The students also found the experience rewarding, and were grateful to the audience for listening to them and not challenging the narrative they presented, a phenomenon well reported in the literature that leads to devaluing of these stories.

On analysing our feedback it is clear that more time is need to discuss the cases, or we think about creating more intersectional cases that cover the same content and allow more in-depth discussion. We are also looking into changing some of the ways we frame the discussions to allow even greater exploration and continue to promote an environment where people are comfortable with being uncomfortable. The intent is to take this teaching and develop it for a wider university audience, working closely with EDI teams set up across all faculties. In addition, based on the enthusiasm for the topic, we intent to also bring components of this into the TLHP certificate, diploma and masters programmed offered here at UoB; working towards developing a specific module covering this pedagogic area.
Theme: Educational Research in Health Sciences
Call for abstracts, posters and 'Show & Tell'
Date: March 20th 2020, Engineers House

The landscape of Higher Education in England is undergoing significant change and the need to truly focus on delivering a high-quality student experience is greater than ever. This requires our academics to continually evaluate and enhance the quality of our educational offerings to an increasingly diverse student body in health sciences. To that end we are offering the opportunity for novice and experienced presenters and researchers alike, to come and present their research and teaching innovations within the field of health sciences education.

This will be a wonderful opportunity to present your work in a safe, friendly and welcoming environment. There will be other like-minded researchers, both new and very experienced and will offer the chance for everyone to gain support, feedback and research collaboration opportunities. Please click on the link to the abstract submission below or follow the QR code to join in.
Thank you to everyone who has attended one or a number of our education research workshops this year.  Due to demand we have already had a follow up tutorial in early July and plan another in the autumn term (watch out for the dates on the website!).  This is an opportunity to come and discuss your research idea in a small group or one to one with an educationalist.

In the meantime, if you want to get striated there are materials on the CHSE staff development Blackboard site.  There are PowerPoints and also handouts on How to write an abstract; Focus groups and Writing for publication.  Over the summer we will publish handouts on Choosing qualitative or quantitative research; Writing research questions; Interviews; Questionnaires and Qualitative data analysis.

We will run further workshops next academic year, details of the first sessions are below.  If you have any questions, suggestions or comments then do contact me: 
Our next workshop 'Writing an Abstract' is on Wednesday 9th October, 12 noon - 2pm. Open to all staff in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Bristol who would like to write an education conference abstract.

The session will be delivered by Dr Ellayne Fowler.

How do you write a successful conference abstract? Are you applying to a conference or thinking about applying? In this workshop we will:

  • Develop templates for writing abstracts for different conferences

  • Share tips on what makes a good abstract

  • Start writing an abstract

The next event in the series will be:
Tuesday 22nd October - 'Using peer feedback and assessment' - Tricia Thorpe & Dr Gemma Ford.  Further details to follow shortly but you are able to reserve your space.

Book your place now through the links provided above or by visiting the CHSE website events page

Thank you to this month's contributors:  Kate Whittington, David Dymock, Lindsay Bishop, Tansy Jessop, Claire Vine, Sheena Warman, Ellayne Fowler.
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