Appendix 4: Case studies from universities, foundation trainee initiatives, and independent foundation training providers
Universities, foundation trainee initiatives and independent foundation training providers have shared case studies of some of the steps they have taken to address the degree awarding gap and registration assessment differential attainment gap.
Individual members of the Schools of Pharmacy Council have taken forward initiatives to address the degree awarding gap in their universities. Appendix 3 details case studies from University of Sussex Pharmacy Department and Kingston University School of Pharmacy.
University of Sussex Pharmacy Department (which has now closed) detail how they created an independently funded Race Equity Programme to combat the awarding gap by creating a learning environment in which Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students can thrive. Kingston University have shared the initiatives they have taken across different parts of the course, from delivery through to training the academic faculty.
Some individuals and organisations have taken the initiative in addressing the differential registration attainment gap. Case studies from the following organisations and initiatives are outlined
Case Study 1: University of Sussex
The Pharmacy Department at the University of Sussex independently funded a Race Equity Programme to combat the awarding gap by creating a learning environment in which Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students could thrive. As a Race Equity Advocate (REA), they conveyed the lived experiences, needs and ideas of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic pharmacy students directly to leadership teams to implement change. This change took the form of direct and practical interventions co-created with students, senior members of the faculty, and the university leadership team.
The Pharmacy Department launched a Race Equity Action Plan (REAP) building on the plan created for the School of Life Science, with the goal to close the awarding gap and improve the student experience of our ethnic minority students. This enabled them to introduce more targeted interventions, not just for academics, but also to prepare students to become young professionals. They developed a mentoring programme that partnered up students with qualified BAME pharmacists working in various sectors. They also held a series of inspiring career events which featured BAME panellists. As a result, the students had increased exposure to pharmacists at many stages of their careers, whom they could relate to, learn from, and begin to form professional relationships with.
Bi-weekly drop sessions were introduced, where the students determined what they needed academic support with. Students met to interact and give peer-to-peer support in a safe space. These themed sessions were run by students and faculty members. Topics ranged from ethical problem scenarios, preparation for the Oriel assessments and more. Through this, students were able to develop and enhance their personal profiles and apply for summer placements and internships.
Working with the Student’s Union resources were created future students could use as guides to create Race Equity Programmes in their own schools.
Case Study 2: Kingston University - Differential awarding gap
Kingston University Pharmacy Department won the Chemist and Druggist Diversity and Inclusion Award 2023 for its inclusivity initiatives in the curriculum and department.
Creating a curriculum and environment committed to EDI
Immersive learning through simulations in an authentic environment, enables students to improve their confidence when communicating with people with diverse needs. Material has been amended to embed inclusivity in teaching and learning, e.g., patients with darker skin tone and a diabetic patient with a learning disability.
Accessibility to inclusive resources is enabled, e.g., Mind The Gap, and is facilitated by the Inclusive Curriculum Consultants (ICC) who review the programme specification. Inclusivity-based research in collaboration with final year MPharm students informs the teaching and learning environment.
Kingston University celebrates student and staff heritage with the university Cultural Diversity Week (in celebration of UNESCO Cultural Diversity Day) and participates in various activities e.g., designing multiple identities artwork, having activities around Black History Month and International Women’s Day.
Kingston University recognises everyone learns and teaches in different ways. This academic year, a flipped classroom approach was adopted for a first-year wellbeing and health module, focused on community pharmacy medicines, service and advice provision. This provided students with the background knowledge and information online with recordings, allowing face-to-face time to be more interactive.
OSCEs progression rates have improved due to strategies implemented. These include giving personalised, individual feedback to students during practical classes and during the mock OSCE. Repeated support/revision sessions are delivered. Students have more workshops with simulated scenarios to practise skills.
Preparing students to be inclusive and innovative to tackle health inequalities
A series of inclusivity workshops spiralling the theme of health inequalities and professionalism run throughout the MPharm course.
First year students participate in cultural competence workshops to improve awareness of the people around them and how these factors can influence access and impact on healthcare.. Second year students collaborate to co-design solutions and drive change on health inequality topics. They present and lead a debate, building key skills such as communication, and public speaking. In third year, they have a workshop facilitated by tutors to have discussion in a safe, controlled learning environment on health inequalities and intersectionality, based on LGBTQ+, disability and ethnicity in maternal health. Students gain self-awareness, empathise, participate in peer discussion, and reflect upon their learning. Fourth year students design a public health campaign that tackles health inequalities, thinking in a global capacity about good health, wellbeing, and combatting inequalities in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Upskilling staff towards EDI
In addition to the EDI focused training sessions offered by the university to all staff, a bespoke EDI session was delivered to the staff, focusing on LGBTQ+, anti-racism and allyship, as well as a microaggressions training session.
Colleagues are encouraged to wear pronoun badges, with monthly emails to staff and students from the EDI lead signposting important cultural dates and health and wellbeing campaigns.
Guest speakers are invited to speak to students throughout the course exposing them to a range of healthcare professionals. Having honest discussions on topical issues around inclusive healthcare, e.g. trans-individuals access to services and diseases in ethnic minority groups, students feel inspired to make a difference and are motivated to be inclusive practitioners.
Case Study 3: African and Caribbean Pre-registration Pharmacist Network – Diane Ashiru-Oredope
In 2018, an informal support group ACPN was founded by Diane Ashiru-Oredope. It was given the name African and Caribbean Pre-Registration Pharmacy Network (ACPN), by the first members in the group in 2018. ACPN aims to provide revision support, information and a new perspective about the trials black foundation trainees go through during their foundation training year with the overarching aim to combat the differential attainment that has been highlighted by GPhC since 2016. Since inception, ACPN has supported more than 350 black trainees at no cost to the trainees.
Members of each year’s cohort include current foundation trainees , recently qualified pharmacists, and final year pharmacy students; on qualifying members are moved into the alumni network. In the first year, the support system created included mentoring circles; providing opportunities for the students to work with their mentors to resolve specific issues that were specific to them. This mentorship scheme involved the use of peer circles of four mentees to a mentor, running throughout the foundation training year. In the second year, the mentoring circles focused on revision groups whilst UKBPA provided a mentor/mentee matching opportunities. The alumni groups provide additional support for newly qualified pharmacists to navigate the early years of their pharmacy career and includes webinars on a range of topics.
Other approaches have included creation of support groups for sharing concerns and offering financial support towards the exam. Since 2018, 25 members have been funded by ACPN founders for mock exams and revision courses through providers (Propharmace and Royal Pharmaceutical Society) and/or costs related to GPhC exam (travel, exam fee, accommodation).
ACPN now primarily focuses on helping foundation trainees succeed in their foundation training year and ultimately pass the pharmacy registration exam. They are signposted to UKBPA for professional/life mentoring as appropriate. Since 2021, the methods of revision support have intensified including wellbeing leads, evidence workshops, weekly live quiz sessions. These are led by a group of ACPN leaders who are part of the ACPN alumni network.
Case Study 4: Pharmacy Foundations Bursary Award - Atif Saddiq and Mohammed Imran
In a bid to invest in the future workforce and address disparities in GPhC registration assessment outcomes, Pharmacy Foundations introduced a Bursary Award, offering registration assessment support and career mentorship to selected candidates.
Eligibility & partner universities
Since the 2020–2021 foundation training year, final-year pharmacy students of Black-African ethnicity from designated universities—Kingston University London, University of Central Lancashire, University of Portsmouth, University of Reading, and University of Wolverhampton—qualify for this award. These universities were chosen based on their historically low GPhC registration pass rates leading up to 2020–2021, and Pharmacy Foundations has since established collaborative relationships with them.
Candidates must be Black-African students completing part of their training with a community pharmacy employer, aligning with the 2016 GPhC report on differential attainment. No additional requirements beyond these two criteria apply.
The Bursary Award includes a monthly foundation training revision program, pharmaceutical calculations support, a mock GPhC registration assessment, monthly mentorship with experienced pharmacists of Black-African ethnicity provided by the UK Black Pharmacist Association (UKBPA), and induction and quarterly general meetings by Pharmacy Foundations.
Monthly mentor meetings, focusing on progress, revision and experiences at work, have proven highly successful, fostering positive relationships that extend beyond the award period. Trainees appreciate the personalised advice and networking opportunities.
The revision programme comprises on-demand webinars, drop-in Q&A sessions, calculations support, a mock assessment, and quarterly support meetings with the project lead. Past trainees praise the flexibility of on-demand content, accommodating different schedules.
Despite small initial cohorts (five to eight trainees per year), positive feedback has spurred cohort expansion with each cycle.
In collaboration with the UKBPA, mentors from diverse backgrounds contribute to the programme. Former bursary awardees often return as mentors.
The 2023/2024 cohort, consisting of eight trainees, is underway with appointed mentors and a deputy lead. Plans include evaluation collaboration with the University of Bradford and exploring expansion to other universities and diverse student backgrounds.
Case Study 5: PreregShortcuts Sponsorship Program - Marvin Munzo and Umar Majid
PreregShortcuts is dedicated to supporting the success of diverse trainees during their foundation year and GPhC registration assessment.
The Sponsorship Program, spearheaded by co-founders Marvin Munzu and Umar Majid, focuses on assisting Black trainee pharmacists to address and close the achievement gap that exists between Black-African trainees and their White British counterparts in GPhC registration assessment performance.
Marvin, a Black-African pharmacist, identifies with the unique challenges Black-African trainees face, such as financial constraints, familial pressures, biases, and cultural adjustments, impacting their assessment performance.
As part of this initiative, PreregShortcuts offer five sponsorships to Black-African trainees who are UK Black Pharmacists Association (UKBPA) members.
The PreregShortcuts Sponsorship Program provides:
- Two live weekly study sessions
- Access to a library of interactive GPhC registration assessment revision materials
- Bank of practice questions
- Membership of an online revision support community
- Calculations mock exam
- Monthly well-being sessions led by experienced Black pharmacists
- Regular meetings addressing race-related challenges
The programme aims to empower Black trainees, offering essential tools for success in the foundation year and pass the GPhC registration assessment.
The ultimate aspiration goal is to bridge the attainment gap and promote equality and diversity in the pharmacy profession, forging a more inclusive future for all.
Case Study 6: Focus Pre Reg Revision - Luso Kumwenda
Realising that some students and foundation trainees from Black and ethnic minority groups were inadequately supported during their foundation training, from 2018 Focus Pre Reg Revision offered the following revision for foundation trainees and undergraduate students:
- Practice questions and revision notes
- Zoom lessons covering key GPhC framework topics
- Tutor and peer support via telephone and WhatsApp groups
- Individua one-to-one lessons
- Coaching and mentoring support for students and foundation trainees.
After each GPhC registration assessment sitting, top-performing trainees share experiences, the challenges they faced and how Focus Pre Reg Revision helped.
Key areas of the highest impact are:
Continuous peer/tutor support
Admins in WhatsApp groups, experienced pharmacists, answer questions and provide one-to-one lessons, particularly for calculations.
Continuous mentoring, coaching, and motivation
Team members offer ongoing support, including pastoral support for trainees facing challenges in their placements.
Networking and question asking
Trainees can freely ask questions in a non-judgmental environment, empowering them to address compromising training situations.
Practice questions and identifying weaknesses
The question bank enhances learning and enables comprehensive practice across the GPhC framework.
Managing stress and mental health issues
Focus Pre-Reg Revision raises awareness of mental health issues affecting performance. A dyslexic trainee, identified and supported, passed on the third attempt.
Identifying trainees learning styles
Matching teaching and support with student learning styles ensures the trainees are learning in a way that suits their needs.
Access to supplemental revision notes
Written notes and Zoom recordings aid exam preparation, with testimonials acknowledging their effectiveness.
Focus Pre Reg Revision has successfully supported diverse trainees, emphasising flexibility, tailored guidance, and a supportive community to enhance learning and performance.