Applying for paediatric specialty training at ST1 - guidance

Most doctors enter paediatric training at Specialty Training 1, or ST1, starting their posts in August or September each year. This is known as 'National Round 1'.

Applications for 2023-24 recruitment will open on 26 October 2023.

Important update for the 2023-24 recruitment round: for applications opening in October 2023, applicants will be required to have no more than 2 years experience in paediatric posts (excluding Foundation posts), at the point they are making their application, in order to be eligible.

Other than ST1, applicants will be able to apply to ST3 entry; applications will open on 16 November 2023. Those with more than 2 years experience should aim to apply to this level and should note that there is no requirement for full MRCPCH in order to be eligible for ST3 entry.

You can find information and updates on the recruitment process here, including the applicant guide, person specification and other documents in the Downloads box. A full update of this information, for the 2023-24 recruitment round will be made by the start of September 2023, including the revised documents for the upcoming round.

Update, 30 January 2023 - The opening date for ST1 preferencing was put back to 9 February 2023. Applicants are able to keep amending their preferences up to and during the offers process.
Last modified
11 August 2023

National recruitment processes for 2023

The format of recruitment for all specialties was discussed and agreed by the Medical & Dental Recruitment and Selection Group (MDRS). Under normal circumstances, recruitment for National Round 1 paediatrics would involve face-to-face interviews, across our six regional centres. Following on from the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been agreed that there will again be no face-to-face interviews for national recruitment for any specialties. As a result, virtual interviews will again be conducted following a shortlisting process, which will determine those applicants that are invited to be interviewed.

Paediatric recruitment 2023

Recruitment for ST1 paediatrics is composed of two elements:

  1. Application form (white-space questions) for shortlisting: to cover Past achievements, Clinical experience, Career motivation, Transferable Skills, Governance
  2. A virtual interview, consisting of a two station multi scenario format performed online via Qpercom. Each station will be 20 minutes in length and the whole process should last 45 minutes overall, to cover Communications, Career Motivation, Clinical Reasoning and Reflective Practice.

The number of eligible applicants (after longlisting) has exceeded the interview capacity available across our virtual interview centres in recent years by a good number, so application scores will be used as a shortlisting tool to determine invites to interview against overall capacity. We will aim to provide an idea of this capacity on this webpage, in advance of the application window opening at the start of November 2022.

Appointability will then be determined using the interview scores, with a final appointability threshold of 55% or more.

Note: We can confirm that there is no plan to reintroduce the Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) into the paediatric recruitment process.

National round 1 paediatric recruitment timelines for 2023

Timelines for Paediatric National Recruitment for ST1 entry posts, starting in August/September 2023 are as follows:

Vacancies published Wednesday 2 November 2022, by 17:00
Applications opened Thursday 3 November 2022, 10:00
Applications closed Thursday 1 December 2022, 16:00
Shortlisting window opens Tuesday 20 December 2022
Shortlisting window closes Friday 13 January 2023
Interview invites* Tuesday 17 January 2023
Interview booking closes* Thursday 19 January 2023, by 16.00
Interview window Between Tuesday 31 January to Thursday 8 March 2023
Preferencing window opens Thursday 9 February 2023
Initial offers released Thursday 30 March 2023, by 17:00
Hold deadline Friday 28 April 2023, 13:00
Upgrade deadline Tuesday 2 May 2023, 13:00

*Applicants who have been successfully shortlisted will also receive the 'Applicant Declaration' form along with their invite to interview. This must be completed and returned when the interview booking window closes.

The HEE website also provides general information on national recruitment, including full national timelines and 2023 specific guidance documents.


    Full guidance on each part of the recruitment process is in the ST1 Applicant Guide. You should also refer to the revised ST1 application scoring criteria and person specification. These can all be downloaded below.

    Our live Q&A event on 27 October is being recorded, and we'll post the video soon.

    Interview dates for 2023

    ST1 paediatric interviews take place virtually, managed by the local teams. Specific dates are as follows:

    Date: Region(s) managing interviews:
    31 January 2023 West Midlands
    1 February 2023 West Midlands
    2 February 2023 West Midlands & Northern Ireland
    3 February 2023 Northern Ireland
    7 February 2023 Scotland
    8 February 2023 Scotland
    9 February 2023 Scotland
    27 February 2023 Thames Valley
    2 February 2023 Thames Valley
    1 March 2023 Thames Valley
    7th March 2023 North East
    8th March 2023 North East
    Contingency date:
    13 March 2023 West Midlands

    Indicative post numbers for 2023 and Preferencing

    The below table lists the initial, indicative ST1 post numbers for all UK regions that are advertising in the current recruitment round, for posts starting in August/September 2023:

    Region Indicative Post Numbers
    East Midlands 32
    East of England 30-41
    KSS 7-27
    LaSE 60-110
    North East 16-21
    North West 46
    Northern Ireland 17
    Scotland 10-22
    South West Peninsula 0-2
    South West Severn 14
    Thames Valley 20
    Wales 18-25
    Wessex 14
    West Midlands 0-34
    Yorkshire and The Humber 55

    These indicative numbers provide the upper and limits of the eventual post numbers that will be available for preferencing later in the process. 

    A separate preferencing window will be opened by January 2023 latest, after longlisting has been completed. Applicants will then be able to rank their choices on the Oriel system. The final post numbers for each region will have been confirmed by this point and will also be published here, as soon as they are available.

    The final post numbers, including the number that were filled for each region in 2022 are available in the pdf that can be found at the bottom of this page.

    Note: Preferencing will therefore not take place during the application window.

    Past application numbers and competition ratio

    Some regions do prove more popular than others. However, applicants can preference any or all of the preferences for any or all regions, so it is not possible to give an accurate competition ratio by region.

    Both overall application numbers, and consequently also competition ratios, saw a considerable increase for the 2022 national recruitment round 1 and no post were therefore put into the national round 1 re-advert round for the second year in succession.

    1075 applications were made to ST1 in 2022, for a total of 458 posts. The final fill rate at ST1 was 97.82%, with 448 of those posts filled, at the end of the overall Round 1 process.

    Paediatric specialty training at ST1 webinar and Q&A - 27 October 2022

    Hosted by the RCPCH Medical Recruitment team, this webinar was for anyone planning to apply to ST1. Presenters Dr Blanche Lumb, RCPCH Trainee Representative for Recruitment and James Clark, Head of Medical Recruitment, guided the audience through this year's recruitment process and provided tips on what makes a successful application and how to start preparing for your interview now.


    For any queries, please contact