Sub-specialty training (NTN grid scheme)

Two people looking at a chest X-ray

At Level 3 of training (ST6-8/SpR years 3-5) trainees have the opportunity to sub-specialise in a specific area of paediatrics through the NTN Grid.

The GRID application period for 2017 has now closed

On this page:

Maximum application attempts - changes to eligibility

In order to make necessary improvements to the NTN Grid process, the College has taken the decision to increase the maximum number of applications a trainee may make. This change came into effect from the 2016 round.

This change means that for applications opening 9 September 2016, the maximum number of application attempts has increased from two to three, with the below conditions that must be met in order for trainees to be eligible for the third attempt.

The RCPCH will assess whether applicants are eligible for a third round application attempt and this decision will be based solely on the outcome of their second round application to the NTN Grid. ONLY those who were deemed appointable at interview in their second round application will be eligible to make a third round application to the same sub-specialty.

Key points:

  • Applicants can make a third round application to the NTN grid if they were deemed appointable in their second round application to the NTN grid. If they were not appointable in their second round application they ARE NOT eligible for a third attempt.
  • ‘Deemed appointable’ will include applicants in the following situations;  an offer was made and declined, an offer was accepted and then the trainee withdrew,  an offer was not made due to post availability or applicant preference selection.
  • Applicants who applied to two different sub-specialties during their second application to the NTN grid must have been deemed appointable for BOTH sub-specialties in order to be eligible to make a third round application to BOTH sub-specialties in the future.
  • If an applicant was ONLY deemed appointable to ONE of the two sub-specialties applied to during their second round application then they may make a third round application but ONLY to the SAME single sub-specialty in which they were considered appointable during the second round application.

Further guidance and tools to allow you to make an assessment of your eligibility for a third round application are included below. If, once you have reviewed these, you have any queries, please do contact

Third round application - eligibility guidance document 

Third round application - eligibility flow chart 

About the NTN Grid

Those who complete an approved programme of sub-specialist training will be eligible to enter onto the GMC's Specialist Register as a paediatrician (sub-specialist).

  • The Grid enables workforce planning so that appropriate numbers of sub-specialists are trained, preventing trainees from completing highly-specialised training with little chance of obtaining a consultant post in that sub-specialty.
  • The RCPCH runs the NTN Grid Scheme to allow trainees to compete for sub-specialty training programmes available nationally.
  • On an annual basis deaneries are asked to submit approved programmes of sub-specialty training to the College for that year's grid matching process.
  • Trainees wishing to continue in general paediatric training can do so within their local deanery training programme.*

Training requirements and centres 

Sub-specialty training requirements  - details each sub-specialty's training requirements for level 3 grid training

Grid centres  - details all LETBs/deaneries which have approved centres in each of the 17 NTN Grid sub-specialties. This details the deaneries in which grid centres are approved; specific hospitals can be found on the programme information forms. Availability of grid centres differs each year, and not all of the above centres and/or sub-specialties are available annually.

Sub-specialty training for those outside the UK

The NTN grid is only open to UK trainees holding an NTN and in an equivalent training programme within the EEA (European Economic Area) - more information for those in EEA below.

Applications from those outside of a UK/EEA training programme will not be eligible to apply for the NTN Grid - you may wish to consider the Medical Training Initiative (paediatrics).

2017 grid appointments round information

The list of programmes that were available during the 2016 round can be viewed at sub-specialty programmes

  • 2017 Full Advert (information only): Published 2 September 2016 on Oriel under the application: Paediatrics - Sub-Spec: 
  • Application Period: 9 September 2016 - 3 October 2016
  • Interview Period: 21 November 2016 - 2 December 2016
  • Offers made: Week commencing 5 December 2016

Please note full programme information is not currently available, however a full vacancy for each sub-specialty will be available when applications open on 9 September.

Post details will also be updated here: soon as they are confirmed


Who can apply for the Grid?

Please carefully read the information and guides below before making an application to the NTN Grid.

  • Grid Person Specification 2017    The grid is only available to senior trainees who fulfil the essential person specification eligibility criteria for grid training. The person specification may change for each grid round.
  • Grid Applicant Guide 2017   The applicant guide contains information on the 2016 Grid process and further guidance on eligibility. Please be aware that all documents are subject to change and applicants must ensure they are using the most up-to-date version when submitting an application.
  • Shortlisting Proforma 2017   The shortlisting proforma provides details of the shortlisting process and criteria for scoring.

Sub-specialty specific information

If you are looking to apply to neurology and/or neurodisability please note the interviews will be conducted jointly for these sub-specialties. Please read the below process and guidance document.

Neurology and Neurodisability

Neonatal medicine

Community child health

If you have any queries regarding your eligibility for the grid after talking to your local deanery then please contact Abigail Wright, Sub-specialty Recruitment Co-ordinator on

If you have a specific sub-specialty training query then contact the relevant CSAC.

Pre-approval of training to count towards Grid

It is important that Grid applicants have enough time before their CCT date to complete their sub-specialty training.  For trainees applying in the 2017 round CCT dates will generally be July/Aug 2019 or 2020 to allow 2 or 3 years of sub-specialty training. For details of the length of programme for your chosen sub-specialty please review the training requirements document 

In certain cases, trainees may wish to complete sub-specialty training in less time, (ie they feel they already possess a number of sub-specialty competences) from a higher year of training, eg ST7 or SpR year 4, providing that sufficient sub-specialty training can be completed without an extension of the current CCT date.  Such potential candidates are advised to discuss their circumstances very carefully with their local Deanery and the CSAC Chair. 

If this is the case the trainee will require pre-approval of this period of Level 3 training by the relevant CSAC. 

The approval must be in place by the time of application to the NTN Grid and should be submitted by e-mail to by the application deadline Monday 3 October at 09:00 BST. This evidence will be reviewed as part of the longlisting process, therefore if it is not provided by the application closing date, your application may not progress to shortlisting.  It is also a requirement to bring this evidence of approval to interview

Please use this link for the contact details of the CSAC Chairs. As a guide, in a 3 year programme applicants can count up to 2 years' worth of retrospective experience towards their time on the Grid, for 2 year programmes, the maximum amount of restrospective experience which can count is one year. 

If you have any further queries regarding your eligibility please review the Grid Applicant Guide 2017.

If your situation remains unclear, please contact Abigail Wright - Sub-specialty Recruitment Coordinator ( at the earliest opportunity.

Information for EEA, non-EEA and non-UK doctors

  • The Grid is only open to applicants who are already in a paediatric training programme in the UK or EEA.
  • Anyone wishing to work in the UK must have an immigration status which allows them to do so.
  • Doctors who are not UK or EEA nationals and whose immigration status entitles them to work without restriction in the UK will be considered on an equal basis with UK and EEA nationals.
  • Other non-UK or non-EEA nationals with limited leave to remain in the UK and whose employment will require Tier 2 sponsorship are subject to the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). Those requiring Tier 2 sponsorship are able to apply to the NTN Grid, however appointment to the grid will be subject to the pool of appointable UK / EEA nationals and non UK/EEA nationals entitled to work in the UK without restriction being exhausted.
  • Evidence of immigration status should normally consist of a date-stamped passport and accompanying letter from the Home Office. These documents need to be current at the application closing date and shortlisted candidates must be able to provide evidence of their immigration status at interview.
  • For further information please visit the Home Office Website

  • Trainees from the EEA may be eligible to apply from equivalent training programmes in the EEA if at a similar stage of training.  Any applicant entering UK specialty training at Level 3 would need to provide evidence of assessment and satisfactory attainment od Level 1 and 2 competences in Paediatrics.  This must include passing the MRCPCH examination; there is no equivalent exam for those applying from the EEA.  For further information regarding Level 1 and 2 competences and assessment, the grid person specification and grid entry guidance, trainees are referred to the College website.  

  • Applications from EEA candidates should be submitted in the normal way, a suitable qualified Office or the RCPCH will confirm the experience in relevant and equivalent to the Grid entry requirements in the longlisting stage.  It is also encouraged that EEA applicants contact the RCPCH as early as possible to discuss eligibility to the Grid. 

Trainees who do not have settled status in the UK should contact their deanery to discuss whether they are eligible to apply for the grid.

2016 Grid report

Report on National Training Grid 2016 - information on the 2016 Grid round including details on appointments made within each sub-specialty


For any questions, contact Abigail Wright, Sub-specialty Recruitment Coordinator:

For further information about immigration, go to the Home Office website. Immigration rules are subject to change by the UK Borders Agency.