The North West Thames Foundation School team

Academic Foundation programmes for doctors are managed by the North West Thames Foundation School (NWTFS) which is a partnership between Imperial College London and Health Education North West London. The School is based at Health Education North West London (HENWL) in Russell Square. Dr Channa Jayasena is the Academic Director and Elena Gonzales is the NWTFS Manager and Susan Cheadle is the Administrator. Further details can be found on the NWTFS website, or enquiries can be forwarded by email (FPenquiries.lase@hee.nhs.uk) or telephone +44 (0)20 7125 7294.  


Academic Foundation Programme

The Academic Foundation Programme gives medical school graduates the ability to attain both the clinical training required of them as part of their Foundation Programme, as well as receive an introduction to academic medicine. Managed through the NWTFS, working together with the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, up to 28 Academic Foundation Programme places are available each year.  

Features of the Academic Foundation Programme include:

  • providing foundation doctors with the opportunity to develop research, teaching and leadership/management skills in addition to the basic competencies outlined in the Foundation curriculum
  • a four-month academic placement as part of the second year of Foundation training (F2) across a number of departments ranging from Anaesthetics, Clinical Genetics, Medicine, Metabolic Medicine, Paediatrics, Primary Care, General and GI Surgery and Vascular Surgery
  • all appointed AFP trainees will be allocated a Mentor/Academic Clinical Supervisor throughout the year
  • a core academic teaching programme delivered throughout the year designed to develop academic skills
  • opportunities to share learning, experiences and opportunities and attend an annual AFP conference

For further information about the AFP, please visit the NWTFS website.


Academic Compendium

Trainees on, or interested in taking up, AFP posts might want to refer to the Academic Compendium (pdf). The Compendium brings together outcomes and competencies that foundation doctors could work towards during their foundation programme (FP) to demonstrate academic achievement, particularly doctors following an academic foundation programme (AFP).

Recruitment to the AFP is managed nationally through the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) and usually opens in September or October for posts starting the following August. The eligibility criteria for the Foundation Programme and the Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) are the same. All final year UK medical students are therefore eligible to apply. For non-UK applicants and UK applicants who graduated more than two years ago, applicants will first need to submit an eligibility application to the UKFPO.

Applying for an AFP is a competitive process. Typically, if candidates wish to apply for an AFP then they will need to complete an application form similar to the Foundation Programme application, plus an additional section to demonstrate their academic achievements to date. This might include prizes, papers, and excellent science degree, for example.

Further details about eligibility and the application process can be found on the UKFPO website. The UKFPO has also published a ‘rough guide’ to the Academic Foundation Programme which may be useful for reference.