UCL Medical School


UCL Personal Tutor

The role of the Personal Tutor is fundamental, particularly during this time of uncertainty. The UCL MBBS programme is a leader in the UK and internationally and attracts an outstanding cohort of students, each one benefiting from the advice and mentoring of their Personal Tutor. 

The role involves a commitment to the Personal Tutor programme and providing the best possible support to MBBS students, as well as developing a supportive and professional relationship with tutees through regular contact. For more information on the role and person specification, please see the Personal Tutor Guide. 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • To provide tutees and the Medical School Student Support service with a reliable point of communication
  • To undertake Personal Tutor contacts with allocated tutees as outlined in the UCLMS guidance
  • To maintain an up-to-date record of contact with tutees as outlined in the UCLMS guidance using Academic Support Record (ASR)
  • To review tutee academic progress and achievement and support students in their study skills
  • To monitor engagement with the programme including completion of the UCLMS / NHS portfolio, where applicable 
  • To provide pastoral support and where necessary to refer tutees to additional sources of support and guidance, including the Medical Student Support service
  • To report to the Medical Student Support service any concerns about professional behaviour that may affect student safety, the safety of others or where a tutee’s fitness to practise may be called into question
  • To provide an appropriate handover of tutees to subsequent personal tutors, where appropriate
  • To maintain the skills and knowledge necessary to the role of personal tutor including attendance at training and/or completion of online training, as necessary
  • To undertake all statutory and mandatory training as required by UCL 

The role in undertaken in accordance with the UCL Personal Tutor Strategy. Roles and responsibilities are not exhaustive and may also be subject to change.


Student responsibilities

It is the tutor’s responsibility to make initial contact with their tutees, but thereafter, though the tutor should maintain contact, it is the tutee’s responsibility to arrange meetings with their tutor. If a tutee fails to respond to reasonable attempts at contact from you, please notify the Personal Tutors team who can contact them on your behalf. 

Students are encouraged to bring a portfolio of their work and assessment results to meetings to discuss with their tutor.

Occasionally a student may need to be set clear objectives for the coming months to remedy identified difficulties. Students should be able to talk as openly and honestly as possible about any personal problems they may be facing.



We have several new training resources for you this year. UCL has released a university wide Personal Training online course that we ask all Personal Tutors to undertake. It will take just a few hours of your time and does not have to be completed in one go. It provides advice about how to support your tutee and resources to use.

Remember that you are there to provide academic and pastoral support for our students – you do not need to be able to solve all their problems or to be the fountain of all knowledge about the MBBS programme, but you do need to be able to provide a listening ear and to be able to point students in the right direction for additional support and guidance. 



ASR or Academic Student Record is where you will be able to access your list of tutees and their email addresses, make contact with them to book meetings, access the curriculum map, access their grades and attendance records, and record contact made with them. From here you will also be able to access their grades and attendance records for reference during your session. New tutors will be given details of how to set up an ASR account. If you do not have a UCL email address you must select 'other' at the login stage. If you have difficulty accessing ASR you should contact medsch.personaltutors@ucl.ac.uk in the first instance. 

Recording contact

The records from tutor/student meetings do not need to be extensive, but it is necessary to keep brief notes for your reference, as well as should the student come to you in future for a reference and should the notes be needed for regulatory matters. Recording contact is an institutional requirement as there are statutory UK reporting requirements for some students holding Tier four visas.

You will have the ability to share these notes with Student Support if needed and with the agreement of the student unless in circumstances when it is necessary to breach confidentiality. If you choose to do this, please notify Student Support so that they are aware. Students do not currently have access to ASR but they will do in the future.


Student Allocation

Tutors are usually allocated 5 students a year up to a maximum of 15 across 3 MBBS years. The Personal Tutors team will contact all tutors at the start of term to notify of any new tutees. Occasionally there may be last-minute alterations due to late-resit examinations or changes in joining or returning students. Tutors will generally keep their tutee allocation from the previous year, unless they are progressing into year 4.


Meeting schedules

Initial meetings with new tutees must be face to face (this can be online). Thereafter and otherwise, you and your tutees can decide how you prefer to continue contact, whether face to face, phone calls, email, Teams/Zoom. As a guide, one-to-one meetings should last about 10-15 minutes, group meetings 30-60 minutes.

A basic suggested schedule is shown below: 


Writing References

Your tutee may ask you at some point to provide them with a reference. UCL has specific policy guidance on this.

The author of a reference owes a ‘duty of care’ to the person about whom it is written to ensure it is true and accurate and does not gives an unfair overall impression. If you have any concerns about writing a reference for a current student, contact the Academic Lead for Personal Tutors or Divisional Tutor in the first instance. A copy of any reference provided on behalf of UCL should be retained locally.


UKFPO Structured Reference

In the later years, Personal Tutors provide a reference for Foundation School (UKFPO) applications on behalf of the Medical School via an online form.  

These references are brief, online ‘tick box’ style forms requiring a general knowledge of ability based on knowledge of their progress, portfolio, results and personal and professional attributes.  Information needed can be accessed in the Medical School’s electronic Academic Student Record.  


Funding and Administration

UCL Medical School funds the Personal Tutor programme directly, although the issue of distribution to individuals remains contentious and the source of much excitement amongst our Trust directors of UG medical education, partner NHS Trusts and personal tutor colleagues. 

University funding:

0.05 FTE (full-time equivalents) of Student Load is credited to UCL divisions for each personal tutor undertaking the role, including NHS staff holding honorary UCL titles associated with a division, under SLMS’ student load model.

0.05 FTE currently equates to approximately £2,300 for each personal tutor, with this figure determined in UCL’s annual financial planning round. All academic staff at UCL are expected to act as personal tutors as part of their normal role and responsibilities.  

Trust funding:

National undergraduate tariff to fund clinical personal tutors responsible for pastoral care and support during placements is allocated based on the number of students taking placements and the number of tutors required. Additionally, each central site funds a 1PA role to co-ordinate pastoral care and support at their site.


Time Commitment and Job Planning

Reflecting the expectations of the scheme and the allocation of funding for the activity, we advise that any individual acting as a personal tutor should be allocated 0.25 PAs in their job plan in order to properly fulfil the requirements of the role.  

Clinicians wishing to act as Personal Tutors should consider how this can best be incorporated into their job plan and this should be discussed and agreed with the relevant Clinical Director and Operations Manager.  Income allocated to the Trust is in addition to budgeted MBBS income and thus has a net positive effect on in-year financial position.  

This will offset the costs of the recommended 0.25 PA provision within the job plan in the majority of cases. Examples of how the role can be incorporated into job plans include:

  • Including 0.25 PAs in the job plan in addition to their existing contracted PAs (e.g. by moving from 10 to 10.25 contracted PAs).
  • Incorporating the 0.25 PAs within the existing contracted PAs through dropping an alternative activity.

Details of individual funding arrangements with each division / trust are available from the Head of Division or Divisional Manager / Director of UG Medical Education or Clinical Director.  

UCL Medical School retains the right to withhold funding where key duties and responsibilities have not been delivered.



Who should initiate contact?

The tutor should always initiate contact with the tutee at the start of the year and then aim to make contact throughout the year using the suggested timetable shown. However, it is the tutee’s responsibility to ask to arrange meetings and it is up to them to be proactively working to build a good professional relationship with their tutor.

What should I do if I cannot contact my tutees or they do not attend meetings?

If you are concerned, please contact the Personal Tutors team and they can attempt to make contact on your behalf. If the student does not attend their meeting without reason, record this on their notes. After two reminders, send them an email noting this and ask them to get in touch if they require your services. You can also notify the Personal Tutors team.

Do I get paid for this role?

There is no personal monetary reward for acting as a Personal Tutor but there is a monetary reward to your Division or Trust as set out above.

How does all this get recognised in my job plan or appraisal?

Being a Personal Tutor is a responsible role and attracts both student load and National Undergraduate Tariff (NUT) credit.

  • UCL academics are expected to act at Personal Tutors. You should inform your line manager that you undertake this key role and ensure your workload allocation takes this role into account. 
  • NHS clinicians should discuss this role as part of their job plan. This activity attracts funding to back-fill programmed activities.

How many students will I get?

Funding for the Personal Tutor role is based on an average allocation of 3 groups of 5 students. This is subject to variation as required.

When and where do I meet with my tutees?

Previously, tutors met with their students in a mixture of group sessions and one to one meetings with students expected to travel to meet them. We are now advocating the use of online mediums such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

If meeting in person (within current guidelines of social distancing) or if you need somewhere private to conduct calls with your tutees, UCL academics can book rooms online while NHS clinicians should be able to access an appropriate venue on site as part of the institutional service level agreement.

Can I change tutees?

Only in exceptional circumstances, for example if you leave UCL, change jobs or go on extended leave. Good Personal Tutoring is about relationships and it is best for tutor and tutee to have continuity. Where continuity cannot be guaranteed, you should contact the Personal Tutor team as soon as you become aware of this.

How do I access UCLMS ASR?

All tutors will be provided with a username and password to access UCLMS ASR. If you do not have a UCL email address you must select 'other' at the login stage. Once logged in you will have access to the curriculum map, your list of tutees, their grades and attendance records, as well as have the ability to book meetings with your tutees and record notes. If you have difficulty accessing ASR you should contact medsch.personaltutors@ucl.ac.uk in the first instance. 

What shall I discuss when I meet my tutees?

UCL have compiled a booklet on discussion topics.