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 opened 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, 12 October 2023 - new, up-to-date guidance for the 2023-24 Round 1 recruitment to ST1 is now published below. This includes the full applicant guide, confirmed timeline and shortlisting criteria.
Last modified
19 March 2024

National recruitment processes for 2024

The format of recruitment for paediatrics will mirror last year's process and will therefore involve a shortlisting process, based on part of the application, which will determine those applicants that are invited to be interviewed. Interviews themselves will be held virtually.

Paediatric recruitment 2024

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 15 minutes in length and the whole process should last 35 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. Interview capacity will likely be in the region of 700 places, though this may be subject to change.

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 2023-24

Timelines for Paediatric National Recruitment for ST1 entry posts, starting in August/September 2024 are as follows:

Shortlisting window closes Monday 15 January 2024
Interview invites* Monday 22 January 2024
Interview booking closes* Wednesday 24 January 202, by 16.00
Interview window Between Thursday 1 February to Friday 8 March 2024
Preferencing window opens Thursday 9 February 2023
Initial offers released Tuesday 19 March 2024, by 17:00
Hold deadline Thursday 4 April 2024, 13:00
Upgrade deadline Tuesday 9 April 2024, 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 Medical Specialty Recruitment website also provides general information on national recruitment, including full national timelines and 2024 specific guidance documents.


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

    Our live Q&A event took place on 1 November 2023 and a recording will be posted to our Youtube channel for anyone not able to tune in on the day, week commencing 6 November 2023. The session included information on both the application and interview process.

    Interview dates for 2024

    ST1 paediatric interviews take place virtually, managed by the local teams, on the following dates:

     Interviews managed by:  Interview date:
     West Midlands & Scotland  Thursday 1 February 2024
     West Midlands & Scotland  Friday 2 February 2024
     Northern Ireland & Scotland  Monday 5 February 2024
     West Midlands & Northern Ireland  Tuesday 6 February 2024
     West Midlands  Wednesday 7 February 2024
     Thames Valley  Tuesday 5 March 2024
     Thames Valley  Wednesday 6 March 2024
     Thames Valley  Thursday 7 March 2024
     North East  Thursday 1 February 2024
     North East  Friday 2 February 2024

    N.B. These dates may be subject to change, in case of any major issues.

    A reminder that the interview booking window opens on Monday 22 January and closes on Wednesday 24 January March 2024.

    Indicative post numbers for 2024 and Preferencing

    The table below will soon list the initial, indicative ST1 post numbers for all UK regions that are advertising in the current recruitment round, for posts starting in August/September 2024. Please note that these are indicative post numbers and may change before the preferencing window opens in February 2024:

    Region Indicative Post Numbers
    East Midlands 28
    East of England 33 - 45
    Kent, Surrey, Sussex 18 - 26
    London 105 - 115
    North East 16 - 20
    North West 42 - 42
    Northern Ireland 18
    Scotland 15 - 30
    South West Peninsula 6 - 8
    South West Severn 12 - 15
    Thames Valley 14 - 16
    Wales 16 - 18
    Wessex 10 - 20
    West Midlands 40 - 45
    Yorkshire and The Humber 50 - 53

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

    A separate preferencing window will be opened from 9 February 2024, 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 2023 are available in the pdf that can be found at the bottom of this page.

    Note: Preferencing will 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 2023 national recruitment round 1 and no post were therefore put into the national round 1 re-advert round for the second year in succession.

    1231 applications were made to ST1 in 2023, for a total of 506 posts. The final fill rate at ST1 was 95.85%, with 485 of those posts filled, at the end of the overall Round 1 process.

    Paediatric specialty training webinar and Q&A - 1 November 2023

    The webinar was hosted by the RCPCH Medical Recruitment team in advance of the 2024 round, for anyone planning to apply to ST1 or ST3. It was presented by Dr Blanche Lumb, RCPCH Trainee Representative for Recruitment, Dr Simon Broughton, RCPCH Officer for Recruitment, Eloise Rodgers, RCPCH Medical Recruitment Coordinator and James Clark, RCPCH Head of Medical Recruitment. The audience is guided through all parts of the recruitment process and provided tips on what makes a successful application, including completing your application form and how to start preparing for the interview. 


    For any queries, please contact