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).

Applications for recruitment in to ST3 in National Round 2 (R2), for posts starting in August/September 2024 is open from 16 November to 7 December (16:00). The full timeline is below.

Paediatrics will NO LONGER be recruiting into ST4 after 2023. Therefore, ST3 will be the only higher level entry point to the training pathway from 2024.
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 ST3 paediatrics is composed of two elements:

  1. Application form (white-space questions) for shortlisting: to cover Past achievements, Teaching, Management, Clinical experience
  2. 40-minute virtual interview, made up of 2 x 20-minute stations* : to cover Communication, Clinical thinking, Reflective practice and Governance & Leadership.

In recent years the number of eligible applicants (after longlisting) has exceeded the interview capacity available across our virtual interview centres, by a good number. 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 2 - dates for 2024 recruitment

Applications for National Round 2 (R2), for applicants looking to join the paediatric training pathway at ST3 in August/September 2024 will be opening at 09:00 on 16 November 2023. The complete timeline is published in the table below.

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 August or September 2024, depending on the region, they accept a post in.

Stage Date
Shortlisting window opens Thursday 18 January 2024
Shortlisting window closes Monday 12 February 2024, at 12:00
Invite to interview, Applicant Declaration sent Monday 19 February 2024
Deadline for interview booking, Applicant Declaration return** Wednesday 21 February 2024, by 16:00
Interview window opens Tuesday 5 March 2024
Interview window closes Friday 8 March 2024
Offers released Thursday 11 April 2024, by 17:00
Hold deadline Tuesday 23 April 2024, at 13:00
Upgrade deadline Wednesday 24 April 2024, at 13:00
Paperwork must be submitted by Wednesday 1 May 2024

The NHSE website also provides general information on national recruitment, including full national timelines and 2024 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, and be registered with and licensed by the General Medical Council (GMC).***

You will not need to upload accompanying evidence, apart from the Certificate of Core Paediatric Training Capabilities 2024-25 form. N.B. This replaces the earlier versions of this form and only this version will be accepted for the 2024 recruitment rounds. The form can be found in the download box at the bottom of this page.

The updated ST3 applicant guide, 2024 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 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).

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. 

Post numbers

These are the indicative ST3 numbers for posts starting in August/September 2024. Final post numbers will be confirmed once shortlisting has been completed.

Region Indicative Post numbers
East Midlands 5
East of England 5-10
KSS 0-10
LaSE (London) 0-20
North East 0-2
North West 4-5
Northern Ireland 2
Scotland 0-3
South West Peninsula 1
South West Severn 6
Thames Valley 2-3
Wales 0
Wessex 0-4
West Midlands 3-7
Yorkshire and The Humber 2

340 applications were made to ST3 in 2023, for a total of 55 posts.

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

It should be noted that with no posts being recruited to at ST4 level, the number of ST3 posts available for August/September starts, is likely to be in the region 120-150.


For any queries about the process, please contact the Paediatric National Recruitment Office at england.paedsnro@nhs.net

  • *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.