Teaching Session General Structure

The teaching programme is designed to cover the knowledge syllabus for the FRCS (Tr & Orth) exam.

The approved syllabus for the FRCS (Tr & Orth) as approved by the GMC can be found at here. Our teaching programme follows a 3-year rolling programme with the following terms:

  • Hip
  • Spine
  • Paediatrics
  • Knee
  • Shoulder and Elbow
  • Hands
  • Tumour
  • Basic Science and Trauma
  • Foot and Ankle


In addition to the main topics, there are 3 sessions each year for CORNET (Collaborative Orthopaedic Research Network) with one session falling in each term. One session each year (in December) is for the sitting of the UKITE exam and one is for the deanery ITCA assessment afternoon. Additional sessions may be slotted in for medicolegal teaching, ethics and other sessions. As the term lead you will be informed of the dates of your term and any planned additional sessions.

Teaching Locations

It has been agreed that 80% of teaching sessions should be in a central location (Newcastle or Durham) with an 20% at peripheral locations. Please bear in mind that trainees have to travel from their respective trusts across the North East and Cumbria to attend teaching. The specific details for locations are:

  • The Freeman Hospital, Newcastle
    • Education centre
    • Lecture theatre in transplant centre
  • The Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle
  • Sunderland Royal Infirmary, Sunderland
    • Education centre – lecture theatre and smaller rooms available
  • Wansbeck General Hospital, Northumberland
    • Education centre
  • North Tyneside General Hospital
    • Education centre
  • James Cook University Hospital, Middlesborough
    • Learning institute (lecture theatres, Cleveland room and small rooms available)
  • North Tees University Hospital, Stockton
    • Education centre
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead
    • Education centre
  • University Hospital of North Durham, Durham
    • Education centre
  • Bourne House, Durham (not insured for patients to be present).
    • Bourne House, Mandale Business Park, Belmont, Durham, DH1 1TH.
    • Contact Alison.harwood@hee.nhs.uk
  • The Durham Centre, Durham (not insured for patients to be present).
    • The Durham Centre, Belmont Industrial Estate, Durham, DH1 1TN.
    • Contact Lesley.Miller@thedurhamcentre.co.uk

NB The Durham Centre house carries a charge of roughly £350-500 per session for using this private facility which will be covered by ONTEA.

Teaching Session Structure

Teaching occurs between 2pm and 5pm on a Monday afternoon. From September 2017 the proposed and agreed structure of sessions is:

  • 2pm – approx. 3:20pm – Lectures covering the topic of the session. Generally 2 or 3 shorter presentations are encouraged with different speakers as the topic allows. Speakers should be consultants or experts (talks by trainees are discouraged).
  • 3:20pm – 3:30pm – if there is an industry sponsor for the session then they shall be invited to give a short presentation prior to the coffee break.
  • 3:30pm – 3:45pm – Coffee / Tea break. Opportunity for trainees to meet with the session speakers and industry sponsors.
  • 3:45pm – 5pm – Breakout sessions:
    • ST3-5 trainees pre exam – small breakout sessions with case discussions / patient examination / quizzes, saw-bone sessions as the topic allows.
    • ST 6 Peri-FRCS trainees (within 1 year of sitting FRCS Tr& Orth part 2 ) – exam specific teaching focusing on viva practice and examination (via a separate timetable).

It is expected 40-50 trainees will attend teaching on a weekly basis. This will need to be considered when booking venues for teaching. In addition, please remember that additional rooms will be required for breakout sessions. The breakout session for the peri-exam trainees will require a separate room suitable to accommodate up to 10-12 trainees.

Trainee feedback has consistently highlighted the benefits of including interactive sessions with the lectures as small group case based discussions around clinical pictures or X Rays or practical application of learning working through quizzes.

External speakers are welcome and can be invited to lecture at teaching. External speaker travel expenses can be reimbursed (see section on teaching related expenses below).

Refreshments can be ordered at the various locations and expenses submitted (see below). The contacts for refreshments at some locations are included at the end of this information pack.

The final teaching session of the term should include some form of formal assessment of the teaching term for knowledge consolidation, benchmarking against peers and standard setting for trainees about to sit the exam This should ideally take the form of Clinical Cases and Viva as per the FRCS Tr&Orth Exam. An MCQ assessment can be included if considered appropriate. A clinical cases exam may not be appropriate for the Basic Science, Tumour and Paediatric teaching terms. The format of assessment is at the discretion of the Term/Session lead. 

Industry Partners

The ONTEA committee has secured funding from industry to support the teaching programme. In return, industry partners will be granted access to our teaching programme. They will be given the opportunity to attend and be involved in a specified number of teaching sessions during the course of the 3-year programme. Their involvement may take the form of presentations, product demonstration or practical workshops. Individual term leads will be informed before the start of the term as to which industry partners are to be involved in their teaching term and how many sessions are allocated to each industry partner. How and when industry partners are to be involved in teaching sessions is at the discretion of the term/session lead. We aim to ensure that appropriate partners are allocated to the various terms.

The ONTEA Industry Liaison can assist in liaising with Industry Partners to help arrange attendance at specific teaching sessions. Please contact secretary@staging6.orthnorth.org.uk.

Teaching feedback

Trainees are invited to give feedback on weekly teaching via a Google form questionnaire. A weekly report is formed from this feedback that is then forwarded to the ONTEA chairperson and the term lead prior to the following week of teaching. The aim is that contemporaneous feedback can allow for changes to be made to the term if necessary to ensure that trainees learning needs are met as much as possible.

Certificates for speakers

Certificates are provided for speakers (internal and external) who give their time to provide teaching. These can be distributed to the term lead weekly or at the end of the term. Where the same speaker contributes to many sessions this can be reflected in a single certificate.

Patients at teaching

We encourage the use of real patients in teaching sessions in order to practice clinical examination skills and demonstrate particular signs. There may be indemnity issues if patients are brought to non-NHS facilities, so it may be best to avoid patients at venues other than an NHS hospital.

Teaching Related Expenses

OrthNorth Teaching & Education Association is able to assist in funding SpR Teaching Session related expenses. An allocation of £500 per Monday afternoon teaching session is available to cover such expenses. There is no obligation to use this allocation. Whether or how this allocation is used is entirely at the discretion of the Session or Term Lead. OrthNorth is not directly responsible for organising any of the teaching sessions. These should be organised locally by the Session or Term Lead.

Allowable expenses are as follows:

(i) Teaching session refreshments and catering

Catering requests should be made through HEE NE via Dee Maccormack, the T&O Speciality Programme Coordinator (Dee.Maccormack@hee.nhs.uk)

Requests must be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the teaching session. Please provide the following information:

  • Date of session
  • Title of Session
  • Location (as in Trust)
  • Room where catering is to be delivered
  • Time catering is required
  • Contact name for the session that catering can liaise with should there be issues.

ONTEA is not responsible for organising catering. It is the responsibility of the Teaching Session Lead (or nominated deputy) to arrange catering.

(ii) Venue Hire

Invoices for the Durham Centre should be made out to the consultant lead for the session. It should also state the date and session topic. Catering for the Durham Centre is through the Durham Centre and independent of HEE NE.

Invoices should be forwarded to the ONTEA treasure for settlement (expenses@staging6.orthnorth.org.uk).

(iii) Invited lecturer expenses:

  1.  Train Travel – Equivalent of 2nd class return rail travel
  2.  Hotel accommodation up to £140 per night.
  3. Subsistence up to £40 per night
  4. Parking charges at teaching session venue.
  5. Mileage/Fuel

External speaker travelling expenses can be claimed using the attached the form. The external speakers will need to complete requested details and return the form with receipts to the ONTEA Treasurer (expenses@staging6.orthnorth.org.uk).

(ii) Patient recruitment costs

1. Patient Transport

2. Refreshments

Patient recruitment and transport should be arranged locally by the Session or Term lead. Expenses such as Taxi fares and parking charges for patients attending for teaching, should be settled locally by the Session or Term Lead. These will be reimbursed using an expenses claim form returned with receipts to the ONTEA Treasurer (expenses@staging6.orthnorth.org.uk).

Please note the following:

  • Claims totalling up to £500 per session will usually be fully reimbursed.
  • Claims in excess of £500 may need prior approval and may only be part reimbursed.
  • Claims for expenses other than those stated above may need prior approval andmay not necessarily be reimbursed.

ONTEA Contacts

General queries:secretary@staging6.orthnorth.org.uk

Expenses claims: expenses@staging6.orthnorth.org.uk

Expenses queries: treasurer@staging6.orthnorth.org.uk

Industry liaison: secretary@staging6.orthnorth.org.uk

Catering Contacts:

  • Wansbeck Julie Wilson 0191 2031200 ext 3835
  • Hexham hexhospitality@nhct.nhs.uk
  • Freeman Catering Office – Lesley Thompson 0191 2231570 Invoice
  • QE Kerry or Diane 0191 4552053 diane.richardson@ghnt.nhs.uk – to get catering booking form Invoice
  • Sunderland Tracy, Susan or Peter – Dining Room 0191 5656256 ext 42036 Invoice
  • UHND / Darlington Lynne Williamson 0191 3332333 ext 43310 lynnewilliamson1@nhs.netInvoice or COD
  • Bishop Auckland 01388 455539
  • North Tees Service desk Via Switchboard 01642 617617 service.desk@nth.nhs.uk Email for catering request form Invoice
  • James Cook Jo Ryan 01642 854659
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