Specialty training at ST3 - application guidance

This page is for doctors applying for paediatric specialty training (ST) at ST3 in the UK. It covers the application process, including the application timeline, eligibility criteria, post numbers and a helpful webinar. You can download the full applicant guide, person specification, scoring framework and certificate of core paediatric training capabilities.

ST3 posts may be available at two points in the national specialty recruitment calendar, in what is known as National Round 2 (R2) and National Round 3 (R3).

Recruitment to ST3 in National Round 3 (R3), for posts starting in February/March 2024 is now closed. The full timeline is below.

Paediatrics will NOT be recruiting into ST4 after 2023. Therefore, ST3 will be the only higher level entry point to the training pathway from 2024. The timeline for National Round 2 (R2) for posts starting in August/September 2024 will be published in due course.
Last modified
18 August 2023

5 July 2023 - The next recruitment to ST3 is in National Round 3 (R3), for posts starting in February/March 2024, and open on 25 July. The full timeline is below.

22 February 2023 - The published timeline states that shortlisting outcomes and invitations to interview are released today. Following yesterday's announcement on industrial action, the decision has been taken not to send invitations to interview until the industrial action dates are confirmed and it is understood what impact these might have on the planned interview dates. Candidates will receive their shortlisting outcome by the end of the day on 23 February. A further update to all shortlisted applicants regarding the interview invites will be sent by Friday 24 February.

25 November 2022 - The indicative post numbers for ST3 and ST4 for all UK regions can be viewed in the Post numbers section.

10 November 2022 - We ran a live webinar and Q&A for anyone considering applying to ST3 or ST4 Paediatrics in the 2022-23 rounds, and the recording can be viewed below.

25 October 2022 - Revised applicant guidance, application form scoring frameworks and Certificate of Equivalent Paediatric Training are available in the Downloads box. Applicants were asked to ensure they read the new documents, before starting their application, including the requirements for Neonatal and General Paediatric experience and Core Capabilities form, which was revised per the updated training programme and curriculum, Progress+ launching in August 2023.

National recruitment processes for 2023

The format of recruitment for all specialties for 2023 has been 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, there will again be no face-to-face interviews for national recruitment for any specialties.

As a result, virtual interviews will be conducted following a shortlisting process, which will determine those applicants that are invited to be interviewed.

Assessment process 2023

Recruitment for ST3 paediatrics will this year be composed of two elements:

  1. Application form (white-space questions) for shortlisting: to cover Past achievements, Teaching, Management, Clinical experience
  2. 30-minute virtual interview, made up of 2 x 15-minute stations* : to cover Communication, Clinical thinking, Reflective practice and Governance & Leadership.

In recent years the number of eligible applicants (after longlisting) has exceeded by a god number the interview capacity available across our virtual interview centres. So application scores will be used as a shortlisting tool to determine invites to interview against overall capacity.

Appointability will then be determined using the interview scores, with a final appointability threshold of 55% or more. Full details of stations, scenarios and scoring can be found in the ST3 applicant guide - see Downloads box.

National Round 3 - dates for 2023 recruitment

Applications for National Round 3 (R3), for applicants looking to join the paediatric training pathway at ST3 in February/March 2024 is now closed. The timeline for National Round 2 (R2) for posts starting in August/September 2024 will be published in due course.

The recruitment process includes three parts: longlisting; shortlisting (based on the application form); and a virtual interview, for those who are successfully shortlisted. Successful trainees will commence their posts in February or March 2024, depending on the deanery.

Stage Date
Advert appears Monday 24 July 2023, by 17:00
Applications open Tuesday 25 July 2023, at 10:00
Applications close Tuesday 15 August 2023, at 16:00
Shortlisting window opens Tuesday 29 August 2023
Shortlisting window closes Monday 11 September 2023, at 12:00
Invite to interview, Applicant Declaration sent Wednesday 13 September 2023
Deadline for interview booking, Applicant Declaration return** Friday 15 September 2023, by 16:00
Interview window opens Wednesday 27 September 2023
Interview window closes Thursday 28 September 2023
Offers released Thursday 19 October 2023, by 17:00
Hold deadline Wednesday 25 October 2023, at 13:00
Upgrade deadline Friday 27 October 2023, at 16:00
Paperwork must be submitted by Tuesday 7 November 2023

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

Person specifications and application guidance

You will make their application via the Oriel application system

You need to demonstrate relevant paediatric training equivalency, be registered with and licensed by the General Medical Council (GMC).***

You will not need to upload accompanying evidence, apart from the Certificate of Paediatric Core Capabilities 2023 form. (This replaces the Certificate of Level 1 Training in Paediatrics from this year's recruitment rounds). Please note that for Round 3 (R3) applicants may submit either the previous version of this form that was available during R2 earlier in 2023 or the new version (with ST4 removed) that can be found in the download box at the bottom of this page.

The latest version will however, be the only one that will be accepted when the new 2023-24 recruitment rounds open in November 2023. 

The updated ST3 applicant guide, 2023 person specification, application scoring framework and certificate form can be downloaded below. Make sure you have read and understood all the updated guidance documents before making your application.

You should refer to the updated scoring framework to guide your completion of the free text sections of the application form, in particular. All applications will be shortlisted by two clinical assessors (all paediatric consultants and possibly some senior paediatric trainees).

Post numbers

The indicative ST3 post numbers for February/March are now available in the table below. Final post numbers will be confirmed once shortlisting has been completed.

Region Indicative Post numbers for ST3 entry
East Midlands 4
East of England 0-4
KSS 0-6
LaSE (London) 0-4
North East 2
North West 0
Northern Ireland 0
Scotland 0-4
South West Peninsula 2
South West Severn TBC
Thames Valley 0
Wales 2
Wessex 1
West Midlands 0
Yorkshire and The Humber 9

301 applications were made to ST3 in 2022, with 78 applicants interviewed for a total of 23 posts.

261 applications were made to ST3 in 2022, with 111 applicants interviewed for a total of 72 posts.

The final fill rate for both levels was 100%, with all posts filled at the end of the overall recruitment process.

Webinar from last November 2022

Hosted by the RCPCH Medical Recruitment team, this webinar was for anyone planning to apply to ST3 or ST4. Presenters Dr Blanche Lumb, RCPCH Trainee Representative for Recruitment, Dr Simon Broughton, Officer for Recruitment and James Clark, Head of Medical Recruitment, guided the audience through the application process, with tips for a successful application and how to start preparing for your interview.

The webinar took place before the decision to recruit to further ST3 posts in R3, for February/March 2024 entry. While dates mentioned are all in relation to the earlier round (R2), all other guidance and principles for recruitment remain relevant.


For any queries about the process, please contact the Paediatric National Recruitment Office at PaedsNRO@hee.nhs.uk.

  • *A new online platform is has been developed to allow for improved and more robust interviewing, including the ability to run multiple stations.
  • **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.
  • ***Important notice: it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that they are registered with the GMC before they start a paediatric training post - please refer to section 13.1 of the ST3 applicant guide for full details. Not having GMC registration in time for a training start date may result in an applicant losing their post.