Workforce, training and education
East of England

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about applying for study leave.

If you do not see your question or have any further queries, contact us via email:


Why has the study leave process been changed?

In previous years funding to support education and development for junior doctors has been made available to Trusts from Health Education England East of England (HEE EoE) local office through a number of different avenues. Funding streams have historically included placement fees, the school based study leave fund (SBSL) and the simulation fund.

As part of a collaborative piece of work on improving Junior Doctors’ working lives to address non-contractual training issues, involving HEE, employer representatives, the BMA JDC, other junior doctor groups and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), it has been proposed that:

“HEE centralises the study budget nationally, in order to ensure that trainees receive the funding that they require to progress through their specialty curriculum, across the whole length of their programme” - as of 1st April 2018

Which study leave process do I complete?
Course Cost Processes Who approves this?
Curriculum requirement Under £600 Local process Local form: Educational Supervisor (or equivalent)
Curriculum requirement Over £600 Local process + HEE EoE study leave form

Local form: Educational Supervisor (or equivalent)

Additional form: TPD

Aspirational course/activity (including exam preparation) Any Local process + HEE EoE study leave form

Local form: Educational Supervisor (or equivalent)

Additional form: TPD (& FSD if FY2 trainee)

Aspirational course/activity (including exam preparation) No cost/expenses Local process Local form: Educational Supervisor (or equivalent)
Overseas course/activity Any Local process + HEE EoE study leave form

Local form: Educational Supervisor (or equivalent)

Additional form: PG Dean (or Deputy)

What support is currently available to me in order to ensure I gain all competences relevant to my level of training?

Individual study leave funding is available to support the achievement of competences as defined by the specialty curricula and aspirational activity identified in their Personal Development Plan (PDP). Trainees should ensure that curriculum requirements are relevant to their specialty and stage of training and aspirational activities are part of their PDP, as discussed with their Educational or Clinical Supervisor.

How much study leave funding can I claim for in the year?

There is no longer a nominal 'allocation' of funding per training year, however the application process may vary depending on the type of claim. Curriculum requirements with a total cost under £600 are managed and applied for locally by the employing Trust, their process must be followed. For curriculum requirements with a total cost that exceed £600, additional sign off from the Training Programme Director is required.

If the application is for an aspirational activity (of any cost) it will also require additional sign off from the Training Programme Director. For overseas applications, approval will be required from the PGD (or Deputy).

Can I claim travel and subsistence expenses?

Travel and subsistence can be claimed, in line with eligibility criteria, this can be found in appendix 1 of the study leave policy.

Regional activities will be run and funded centrally via the Regional Teaching Fund and should not incur an attendance cost to the trainee. The trainee may claim travel expenses to these events in line with the LEPs terms and conditions, and these can be managed and processed locally.

What is considered an aspirational activity and how is it approved?

An activity that is not part of your curriculum is considered an aspirational activity, this includes overseas activities and exam preparation courses - although you are required to pass the exam, attending a preparation course is not mandated by the curriculum and therefore remains aspirational. 

Partial funding of courses may also be considered, depending on the overall cost of the course. For example, if a course is available locally but you choose to travel outside the East of England to attend the course in a different location, your TPD may feel it is reasonable for your course fees to be reimbursed, but travel and subsistence declined. 

Post-graduate courses will need to be rationalised with your Educational Supervisor or Training Programme Director.

How do I apply for study leave?

Trainees are expected to discuss their study leave plans with the Educational Supervisor (or Training Programme Director) at the start of each placement. 

You will need to follow the local application process (& additional HEE EoE form when relevant) to apply for study leave funding, if your aspirational activity has no cost attached the HEE EoE form does not need to be completed, the time can be agreed locally via the Trust study leave process. All applications and expenses must be submitted within the required timeframes, those that are not may be declined. 

Please see our process flowcharts on our Study Leave homepage for more information on the correct application process.


Does study leave funding cover the cost of my exam fees?

Exam fees are not funded through study leave. Travel and subsistence can usually be claimed from the study leave budget for sitting exams required within an individual’s current curriculum.

However, exam preparatory courses will be considered for study leave under the ‘aspirational activity’ criteria.

Do I need to take study leave days to attend my training programme’s mandatory teaching days?

Yes.  All trainees are required to attend teaching days and study leave should be applied for via the employing Trust’s local process.

What happens if my course is cancelled?

If the course is canceled inform your local Education Centre at the earliest opportunity. The course provider will be expected to reimburse your booking fees. 

What can I do if my application is declined?

If a doctor or dentist in training disagrees with a decision about study leave funding, they should in the first instance contact the relevant authoriser that refused the application to request an explanation / review.
If a doctor or dentist in training remains of the opinion that the wrong decision has been made, they can appeal against the decision using the HEE East of England appeal form.

Please see our appeal process detailed in our policy HERE.

I’m a SAS doctor / locally employed doctor, what am I entitled to?

Non-consultant, non-training (NCNT) grade doctors include SAS and locally employed doctors.

Access to funding for development opportunities for NCNT grade doctors is available separately and you are advised to speak directly to the Trust that employs you.

I'm a LAS, am I entitled to study leave?

Unfortunately LAS posts are not eligible for study leave. 

I’m going Out of Programme (OOP), will I still be entitled to study leave?

Study leave will only be funded if it is for a clear curriculum requirement for your individual specialty. It you choose to take it whilst on OOPP, then this would mean you would not be eligible to fund it again once you have re-joined the training programme. Employer mandated training should be funded by the employer.

Trainees on Out of Programme Training (OOPT) are normally only entitled to study leave for this period if they are occupying a training post in our region.

I’m commencing my Period of Grace, what am I entitled to?

There are no study leave entitlements for trainees working their Period of Grace.

I’m taking parental leave, how does this affect my study leave allowances?

In line with the ‘Terms and Conditions of Service for NHS Doctors and Dentists in Training (England) 2016’ paragraph 39 states:

“Where a doctor takes maternity (parental) leave their entitlement to study leave continues, and this may be taken during ‘keeping in touch’ days or will otherwise accrue to be taken at a later date.”

As parental leave does not affect study leave entitlement trainees should be permitted to take study leave days, providing this does not affect safe service provision.

Can I attend courses in a location of my choice?

Where a course is available locally, funding should not be approved for a trainee to undertake the course, unless exceptional circumstances apply and have been discussed and approved by the TPD.

It must be remembered that the overall study budget held by HEE EoE is finite. As such trainees are reminded to act sensibly and professionally when requesting funding and use the cheapest local option available, wherever possible.

All overseas activities must receive approval from the PGD or nominated Deputy using the HEE form, prior to approval. 

Can I claim for study leave funding if traveling overseas?

Trainees may apply for overseas activities and these are classed as aspirational, eligibility criteria can be found in the study leave policy.

The approval of such activities will be made by the Postgraduate Dean or his/her designated deputy and must be submitted using the 'additional aspirational application form' and selecting 'Overseas Activity' for the type of activity or course field. This must be submitted to a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the date of attendance.  

If the application is approved, HEE will consider funding either the cost of the course/conference fees or the cost of economy travel and accommodation whichever is the lower amount.

Overseas Study Leave applications during the C-19 Pandemic:

HEE will continue to accept applications for overseas study leave should they meet the criteria outlined in the policy, and funding may be agreed at the discretion of the Postgraduate Dean (or nominated Deputy). There will need to be clear agreement from the trainee that they will be liable to cover any excess costs incurred due to COVID disruption. This means that if the trainee is unable to attend the approved overseas activity as a result of Covid-19 illness or restrictions , the trainee will be responsible for any non-refundable travel or course/conference fees. In addition, it will be the trainee’s responsibility to seek approval from the training site (and notify their employer if not the same organisation)  prior to requesting the overseas study leave that they are willing to support any need to delay their return to the UK or isolate on returning to the UK; it is likely in these instances that any such time will be managed as unpaid leave. Essentially, in summary, it is the trainee’s responsibility to undertake due diligence on all logistical aspects and considerations prior to pursuing an overseas application to ensure they are aware of and plan for any eventualities (e.g., checking the Government’s latest foreign travel advice).

For more information on the overseas policy, please click here.
Can my PGCert be funded through study leave?


HEE EoE offers bursaries that trainees can apply for to fund a PGCert, these are not eligible to be funded via study leave. 

Can I claim for publication fees?

Publication fees are not eligible for reimbursement via the study leave budget.

Who approves aspirational applications for CMT/IMT trainees?

The HEE EoE additional form is to be signed off by the RCP Tutor instead of the TPD, for CMT/IMT trainees.

Your RCP Tutor can be found here

What is the study leave entitlement for Less Than Full-time (LTFT) trainees?

Less Than Full-time (LTFT) trainees will have a pro-rata entitlement; however, if the number of days taken in any one year exceeds their entitlement, some discretion should be used during the approval process.

Trainees who start or complete their training part way through the study leave year will have a pro-rata entitlement until the end of their programme’s leave year.


Study leave entitlement for LTFT trainees should be calculated with supervisor/trainer.

Are Foundation Trainees Entitled to Study Leave?

Please see the study leave foundation page for guidance:

COVID-19 Information

Important Information, COVID-19

We recognise that many courses/conferences will not be going ahead or cannot be attended as study leave time may need to be cancelled. Please be assured that you will still be able to reclaim your expenses if these cannot be refunded by the provider. Please try and reclaim your course/conference fees and any other fees (e.g. pre-booked travel) in the first instance from the provider, should this not be possible please include evidence of non-refundable expenses with your study leave claim. All pre-agreed study leave funding will be remunerated in the normal way.

HEE EoE will continue to support appropriate study leave applications for courses/conferences, including those that are taking place virtually. Study leave will be supported if the time off can be accommodated by the employing Trust (service provision must take priority) and the application has followed the usual approval process. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Trainees:​

Covid Related Support - Exam Preparation

HEE EoE have made the decision to provide additional study leave funding support to trainees in relation to exams, as we are aware that the strain of the pandemic may have affected exam results in some areas. 

If a trainee has failed an exam (or part of) between March 2020 – March 2021, they may submit a second application for funding to support attendance at a second exam preparation course, previous funding guidelines apply; maximum of £1000 can be claimed per course. We will review the situation again in March 2021 and make a decision as to how is best to proceed from there. 

We appreciate that trainees may have attended and self-funded between March 2020 and now, therefore, we will allow trainees to submit a retrospective claim if they attended a second exam preparation course due to exam failure. The deadline for submitting retrospective applications will align with the end of the financial year (end of March 2021). 

Applications and claims can be managed locally, trainees will be required to follow the local study leave process and include relevant evidence with their claims


Friday, 28 December, 2018
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Friday, 28 December, 2018