Applications for ST3 and ST4 posts

Considering applying to paediatrics? This page contains information about applying for ST3 and ST4 posts, including the application process, person specifications and guidance.

Not what you were looking for? Go to the ST1 and ST2 recruitment webpage.

ST3 and ST4 Selection

Please note: The 2015 national recruitment round for ST3 and ST4 is now complete.

The application window for the 2016 national recruitment round opens 10:00 BST 16 February 2016 and closes 16:00 BST 9 March 2016. The recruitment round will include posts for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The 2016 Advert will be available here and on the NHS Jobs website from February 2016.

The following information is for the 2016 round for ST3 and ST4 posts

On this page:

  1. Competition ratios
  2. Application processDoctor in white coat and young girl patient
  3. The Oriel Application system
  4. Advert,post numbers and interview dates
  5. Person specifications
  6. Application form
  7. Specialty competences
  8. Guidance for applicants
  9. Shortlisting and interviews
  10. Deferred entry
  11. Information for overseas nationals
  12. Contact us

1. Competition ratios

ST3 competition ratios 2014 (PDF, 206 KB)

ST4 competition ratios 2014 (PDF, 240 KB)

RCPCH strongly advises that you consider competition ratios for information only. As you will see they change annually and so we would always recommend making an application based on where you genuinely wish to work.

2. Application process

The selection process for paediatric ST3 and ST4 posts will be delivered via a single-centre model. Accordingly applicants will make an application to “Paediatrics” for either ST3 OR ST4 in the first instance via the Oriel application system. Applicants may only apply to either ST3 or ST4, not both. Applicants will then be given the opportunity to indicate deanery/LETB post preferences which will be used in conjunction with interview rank in order to make offers.


Once applications close, applicants are progressed to the longlisting stage to assess their eligibility against a range criteria outlined in the person specification. These include right to work in the UK, previous specialty experience and GMC/Fitness to Practise status. If you are found not to be eligible, your application will not progress any further and you will be notified of this via Oriel.

Shortlisting/Invite to interviews

Wherever possible all eligible applicants at ST3 and ST4 will be offered an interview. In the event that the number of eligible applications extends beyond the maximum interviewing capacity, the RCPCH will undertake a competitive shortlisting process, in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the shortlisting framework. In this event, those applicants ranking below the cut off for interview interview will not progress any further within this round of recruitment and will not be invited to attend an interview.

The interviews will be held at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) on the 4 and 5 May 2016. If you are unable to attend your interview on one of these dates, we will be unable to progress your application.

Following interview

All appointable applicants will be ranked in accordance with their interview score. Offers will be made in accordance with ranking and individual applicant submitted post preferences. Applicants will not be offered a post that they did not submit on their preference list. There is no clearing round for ST3 or ST4 as applicants are given the opporunity to preference as many or all of the preferences if they wish to.


3. The Oriel Application System

The process for making offers for specialty training posts co-ordinates all first offers across all specialties so that applicants can accept, reject or hold an offer.

Accessing the Oriel Application System

All specialties/deaneries/LETB's will use the Oriel Application System to coordinate the process for selection to all specialty training programmes from application all the way through to offers.  If you wish to apply for a paediatric specialty training post you will need to register on the Oriel Application System before you can submit an application. The RCPCH advises that you register on Oriel well in advance of the application window opening.

Selecting preferences

When you apply to either ST3 or ST4 paediatrics, you will submit your application without indicating deanery/LETB preferences. The post preferencing window will be available to applicants closer to the interview date. The ST3 and ST4 recruitment uses a 'single centre recruitment model' which provides applicants with the opportunity to preference as many or as few preferences as they wish to across all available posts in the UK. Applicants are reminded that they will not be offered a post that they do not submit as a preference and there is no clearing round for either ST3 or ST4. 

You will have the facility, via your applicant dashboard on Oriel, to view the preferences that are available for the ST level to which you apply. Full instructions on how to select and submit preferences will be available on the preference page and in the Oriel User Guide.

Your preferences along with your interview rank are used to determine which offer, if any, you receive. If you are deemed appointable after interview, then you may be made an offer. The higher you are ranked at interview, the more likely you are to be offered one of your higher preferences, although all offers are subject to eligibility and post availability.

If you are not prepared to accept an offer of training in a certain deanery/LETB, then you should not choose this as one of your preferences.

By ranking a preference (deanery/LETB or specific programmes within a deanery/LETB), you are stating that you would be prepared to undertake a training programme in that area, if none of your other preferences are available to you. It is important that you think carefully about this choice when applying for posts. Interview panels will not have access to your preferences.

Please read the programme descriptions carefully, paying close attention to the deanery/LETB in which the post is actually located.

Receiving an offer on the Oriel Application System

If you receive an offer through Oriel, you will be able to accept, reject or hold the offer until a set date. This date will be clearly identified if you receive an offer. You will have 48 working hours from the time your offer is made, excluding weekends and bank holidays, to decide whether to accept, reject or hold it. By responding, you accept certain conditions.

If you do not respond to your offer within 48 working hours, we will interpret this as meaning you have rejected the offer and it will be offered to another applicant.

If you intend to reject an offer, please do so as soon as possible as this will allow the offer to be made to another applicant. If you were not offered a post in the initial release of offers, this does not mean you will not be offered one later on, as offers are recycled if other applicants reject them.

Further information on how to respond to offers is available in the applicant guidance 

4. Adverts, post numbers and interview dates

Information about interviews for the next round of applications will be provided here in due course.

Indicative 2015 post numbers (MS Word, 207 KB) - please note the 2016 post numbers will be available in February 2016. 

5. Person specifications

Before applying to an ST post you are advised to ensure you meet the the requirements outlined in the appropriate person specification. The 2016 person specifications are currently be reviewed by Health Education England (HEE) and will be available here shortly.

ST3 Person Specification 2015 (PDF, 356 KB)

ST4 Person Specification 2015 (PDF, 348 KB)

6. Application form and guidance

You must complete your paediatric application for either ST3 or ST4 online using the Oriel Application System

Please note: Applicants are NOT permitted to apply to both Paediatric ST3 and ST4 in the same round, you must choose one level of application.

Applicants can find out more about completing the application in the Oriel Applicant Guidance 2016 (PDF, 913 KB)

7. Specialty competences

It is a requirement that applicants hold the appropriate level of paediatric competences for the post to which they are applying.

There are different requirements for those wishing to enter at ST3 and those wishing to enter at ST4.

Specialty competences - ST3

If you are seeking to apply at ST3 you will need to be able to demonstrate a minimum of 24 months post-graduate, post-Foundation school (or equivalent) experience in paediatrics and have success in any two out of the three MRCPCH papers by the point of application.

In order to be eligible for an ST3 post you will need to be able to demonstrate that you hold competences equivalent to those stated in the ST1 and ST2 Paediatric Curriculum.

Further information on how to demonstrate competences for ST3 applications can be found in the Guidance for Applicants ST3 and ST4 2015(PDF, 6.25 MB)

Specialty competences - ST4

If you are seeking to apply at ST4 you will need to be able to demonstrate a minimum of 24 months post-graduate, post-Foundation school (or equivalent) experience in paediatrics and have successfully completed the full MRCPCH examinations by the point of application.

In order to be eligible for an ST4 post you will need to be able to demonstrate that you hold competences equivalent to those stated in Level 1 of the Paediatric Curriculum

Further information on how to demonstrate competences for ST4 can be found in the Guidance for Applicants ST3 and ST4 2015 .

For ST4 applicants only: For those requiring an alternate certificate of Level 1 competency, the form and guidance notes can be found in Certificate Confirming Completion of Level 1 Competences 2016  (PDF, 60.1 KB)

8. Guidance for applicants

We recommend that you read the following guidance documents, which have been designed to assist you during the various stages of the application process. Please note the below documents will be updated over the coming months to ensure they reflect the full process for 2016. Please ensure you check the website prior to application for the most up to date documentation.

Guidance for Applicants ST3 and ST4 2015 (PDF, 6.25 MB) The

Structured Reference Form 2015 (MS Word, 75 KB)

Complaints Procedure ST3 and ST4 2015 (PDF, 771 KB)

HEE Applicant Handbook 2015 (PDF, 663 KB)

Oriel Applicant Guidance 2016 (PDF, 913 KB)

Additional documentation required at time of application

Re-entry into training: All applicants who have previously been removed or resigned from the specialty training programme that are applying to re-enter must submit (on Oriel) at the point of application, a completed and appropriately signed Support for reapplication (re-entry) form. Any applicants who require this form but fail to submit via Oriel with their application will be longlisted out of the process. This document is an eligibility requirement that must be adhered to.

Re-application to paediatric training in a different region: All applicants who are currently training in paediatrics (NTN holders) but wish to reapply to paediatric training programmes with the intention of changing deanery/LETB must complete the Support for reapplication (NTN/DRN holders) form. Any applicants who require this form but fail to submit via Oriel with their application will be longlisted out of the process. This document is an eligibility requirement that must be adhered to.

9. Shortlisting and interviews

ST3 and ST4 Shortlisting Framework 2016  (PDF, 771 KB)

The interview process is different for ST3 and ST4 posts. Please ensure you read the correct information for the ST level to which you have applied.

ST3 Interview Framework 2015 (PDF, 1.32 KB)

ST4 Interview Framework 2015 (PDF, 1.45 MB)

10. Deferred entry

In accordance with the Gold Guide (fifth edition), deferred entry may only be considered for statutory reasons (e.g. maternity, ill health). If you are unsure whether you qualify for deferred entry please email the Recruitment and Careers Team on

11. Information for overseas nationals

If you are subject to immigration control, you will be required to provide evidence of your immigration status as at the closing date of the post to which you are applying. If you have limited leave to remain, you will be considered for the post as long as your immigration category allows you to take up a training programme and is valid on the closing date of the post to which you are applying.

Where an applicant needs to 'switch' to another visa category, the Resident Labour Market Test will be applied. If you need to 'switch' your visa category, you should check the UK Visas and Immigration website to see if you may switch within the UK.

If you do not fall within one of the categories cited, any sponsor will have to apply for a “restricted” CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship) and you will have to return home and make an application out of country. The issue of a restricted CoS and / or a successful application for new entry clearance cannot be guaranteed.

IMPORTANT: ST3 and ST4 paediatric posts in Scotland are currently exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test. Accordingly applicants for these posts that are eligible to receive offers will be considered on the basis of their ranking and made offers accordingly.

For those who require a Tier 2, but wish to work elsewhere (i.e. England, Northern Ireland or Wales), you will ordinarily be subject to the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). You will be progressed through longlisting, shortlisting (as required) and interview, provided you fulfil all other eligibility criteria. You will then be interviewed alongside all other applicants.

At the point of offer, we must first seek to exhaust the pool of settled workers before we can consider those needing a Certificate of Sponsorship. Assuming we have exhausted the pool of settled workers, but have posts remaining, these will be offered to applicants requiring a Certificate of Sponsorship based on interview ranking and preference.

Overseas applicants who are RLMT exempt will be made offers alongside UK and EU/EEA applicants. In order to be RLMT exempt there are strict selection guidelines from the UKVI and we advise that you contact the UKVI directly for further discussion.

Information to assist you in determining whether or not you are eligble to apply for a Specialty Training post can be found in Annex B: Information for Overseas Nationals in the HEE Applicant Handbook.

12. Contact us

We hope you found the information on this page helpful. If after reading this information you have any further queries please contact the Recruitment and Careers Team:


Phone: 0207 092 6144