Specialty training at ST3 and ST4 - application guidance

This information is for doctors applying for paediatric specialty training (ST) at ST3 or ST4 in the UK - known as National Round 2. It covers the application process, including the application timeline, eligibility criteria and other useful details. You can download the person specifications and other useful documents, along with the full applicant guide. Applications for posts starting in August/September 2023 closed on 8 December 2022.

Update, 5 May 2023 - There will be a National Round 3, for applicants looking to join the paediatric training pathway at ST3 to start in February/March 2024. Applications will open on 25 July 2023. Please see 'National Round 3 - dates for 2023 recruitment' below for the full timeline.
Last modified
11 May 2023
Earlier updates

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 this round, 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, 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.

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.

*A new online platform is has been developed to allow for improved and more robust interviewing, including the ability to run multiple stations.

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.

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, for applicants looking to join the paediatric training pathway at ST3 in February/March 2024, will open on 25 July 2023.

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

These are the key dates:

What 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

*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.

Person specifications and application guidance

Applicants 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.

The updated ST3 applicant guide, revised application scoring framework and 2023 person specification can be downloaded below.

Please note that the revised Certificate of Paediatric Core Capabilities form replaces the Certificate of Level 1 Training in Paediatrics from this year's recruitment rounds.

Applicants should also refer to the updated 2023 application form scoring framework for shortlisting to guide their 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).

Please ensure you have read and understood all the updated guidance documents before making your application.

Please note that it 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.

Post numbers

The indicative ST3 post numbers for February/March will be listed in the table below in due course. It is very unlikely that all regions will be offering posts in National Round 3.

Region Awaiting numbers - Post numbers ST3
East Midlands  
East of England  
LaSE (London)  
North East  
North West  
Northern Ireland  
South West Peninsula  
South West Severn  
Thames Valley  
West Midlands  
Yorkshire and The Humber  

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.

Paediatric specialty training at ST3 and ST4 webinar and Q&A - 10 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 this year's recruitment process and provided tips on what makes a successful application and how to start preparing for your interview now.

Please note that this webinar took place before changes were made to the interview dates and the interview structure due to industrial action.


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