News from the European Academy of Teachers in General Practice and Family Medicine

The European Academy of Teachers in General Practice and Family Medicine (EURACT) is a network of WONCA Europe.

Project to develop a system for the Appraisal of Teachers of Family Medicine / General Practice

As the discipline of family medicine has developed within Europe, training has become more sophisticated and networks of Family Medicine/ General Practice (FM/GP) Educators have developed in most countries. Training for FM teachers for those countries who do not have the resources for internal provision can be provided via the Leonardo courses[1].

As a natural part of the development process the next stage is to develop a system for the appraisal of teachers in FM/GP and to do this a partnership has been formed between EURACT [The European Academy of Teachers in GP/FM] academic institutions and general practitioners associations in five countries [Poland, Slovenia, Estonia, Denmark and Austria]. Funding has been obtained from the European Union under the Leonardo da Vinci programme to develop this with the goal of harmonizing standards of teaching of FM/GP across Europe.

The project: Continuing Educational Development and Harmonisation of Expert Teachers in General Practice/Family Medicine in Europe through a systematic process of quality improvement (no 2013-1-PL1-LEO05-37537) has been launched at the beginning of 2014. First products are now being developed: the Template providing structure for appraisal process and the Electronic portfolio of evidence of teaching performance. First evaluation activities took place in 2014 and further ones are planned in 2015.

The EURACT competence framework for teachers of GP/FM[2] forms the basis of the appraisal process. Individuals will present evidence to demonstrate how the competencies are being achieved. Applications will be made for two levels of competence –competent or expertteacher. The evidence will be peer reviewed electronically and a decision reached as to whether the competencies have been achieved. Suggestions for the type of evidence required have been made and descriptors provided for the standards required for the award of ‘competent’ or ‘expert’.

The selection of appraisers has been explored and it is suggested that appraisers for the applications for an award of ‘competent’ will generally be sourced within the same country as the applicant, but that an appraiser from a different country should review those applications for an award of ‘expert’. Training will be provided for appraisers and there will be a process of quality assurance of a sample of individual appraisers assessments.

The project work will be completed by the end of 2015, by which time it is planned that EURACT will provide ongoing support for the appraisal system. Further information on the project can be accessed at its website

Jo Buchanan, Katarzyna Dubas–Jakobczyk, Adam Windak, Francesco Carelli

1. Leonardo Teachers’ courses.   
2. Framework for Continuing Education of Trainers in General Practice in Europe.