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To determine what paediatric specialist registrars think of the educational supervision they have received and what advice they would give to a consultant who wanted to be a more effective educational supervisor.A questionnaire study.The North Thames Deanery, UK.129 year 3, 4 or 5 paediatric specialist registrars in the North Thames Deanery.Reported value of educational supervision on a Likert scale; what elements of educational supervision were reported to be most useful; what elements of educational supervision were reported to be done poorly; what advice would specialist registrars give to a consultant who wanted to be a more effective educational supervisor.86/129 specialist registrars responded (67%). The mean score on the Likert scale (0-a complete waste of time; 100-excellent) was 57 with 37% of respondents giving a score of less than 50. The most valued aspects of educational supervision were: feedback on performance—cited by 50 respondents (56% of respondents); career advice—cited by 43 (48%); objective setting—cited by 36 (40%); pastoral support—cited by 25 (28%). Aspects of educational supervision that were reported to be often not done well were: commitment to educational supervision—cited by 44 respondents (49% of respondents); ensuring sessions are bleep-free—cited by 43 (48%); listening rather than talking—cited by 23 (26%); being encouraging—cited by 18 (20%). Advice to consultants about how to improve educational supervision included: listen rather than talk; be encouraging; treat the trainee as an individual with individual needs.We can find no other study of trainees' views about how educational supervision can be improved. Although some trainees found educational supervision very valuable, many did not. Educational supervision should only be carried out by consultants who are committed to the task. An educational supervisor should listen carefully in order to understand the trainee's individual ambitions and needs, should provide specific feedback on performance and should be encouraging.