RCPCH Progress - curriculum

Our curriculum ensures that doctors in postgraduate paediatric training in the UK develop their knowledge and skills across all key areas of practice.


RCPCH Progress is the curriculum for use by doctors undertaking postgraduate paediatric training from 1 August 2018. Exceptions are trainees who will CCT (certificate of completion of training) before 15 September 2019.

In consultation with trainees, consultants, children and young people, parents and carers, employers and other professionals, we redeveloped the curricula for General Paediatrics and the sub-specialties. This moves away from the previous ‘tick box’ list of competences. We now have a framework that ensures trainees develop the full range of skills and knowledge required in their day to day work and for progressing to a specialist consultant post.

RCPCH Progress comprises:

  • Learning Outcomes - There are 11 domains, each with learning outcomes for each level of training. These learning outcomes capture the skills, knowledge and behaviours required, including the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Generic Professional Capabilities for all doctors in training.
  • Syllabi - These provide further requirements and guidance on how to demonstrate satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes. They are flexible, allowing trainees to apply the curriculum to the context in which they are working. The emphasis is on quality rather than quantity of evidence.
  • Programme of Assessment - This specifies the range of assessment instruments to be used by trainees to develop and demonstrate their knowledge and skills throughout their time in training.

Download the full RCPCH Progress curriculum (PDF)

Access our guidance and support

Introducing the generic learning outcomes (for levels 1, 2 and 3)

The generic learning outcomes are required for all trainees as they progress through three levels of training towards a CCT in paediatrics. They are mapped to the Generic Professional Capabilities (GPCs) within the curriculum and syllabi.

Next, you can see these learning outcomes for each of the 11 domains. You can also download the generic syllabi for levels 1, 2 and 3 below. 

Domain 1 - Professional values and behaviours and professional knowledge (GPC 1 and 3)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
In addition to the professional values and behaviours required of all doctors (Good Medical Practice), a paediatric trainee maintains confidentiality but judges when disclosure may be required in relation to safeguarding. Taking into account the differing legislation and health services between the four countries.

Adheres to the specific legislation (including safeguarding) and healthcare systems between the four countries. which applies to children and families’ legislation.

Acts as a role model and guides junior colleagues in developing professional values and behaviours in relation to paediatrics.

Creates an open and supportive working environment.

Adheres to current legislation related to children and families, e.g. adoption, safeguarding, etc.

Adopts a self-regulatory approach to their behaviour and demonstrates the professional qualities required by a paediatrician undertaking independent practice, across the four countries.

See resources for domain 1

Domain 2 - Professional skills: communication (GPC 2)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Develops effective relationships with children and families and colleagues, demonstrating effective listening skills, cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Communicates effectively in the written form, by means of clear, legible, and accurate written and digital records.

Participates effectively in the MDT and engages with patients and families/carers, facilitating shared decision-making.

Recognises complex discussions and when to seek assistance.

Leads MDTs and demonstrates effective communication skills in a range of environments and situations with children, young people and families in challenging circumstances.

Communicates effectively with external agencies, including authoring legal documents and child protection reports.

Domain 3 - Professional skills: procedures (GPC 2)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Adapts clinical examinations to meet the needs of the child and family/carers, undertaking basic paediatric clinical procedures.

Recognises an emergency situation, knowing when and how to escalate appropriately. Initiates basic life support and able to carry out advanced life support with guidance.

Supervises and assesses junior staff when undertaking clinical procedures.

Respond to and manages emergency situations, and able to perform advanced life support.

Demonstrates competence in the full range of clinical skills relevant within paediatrics and either General Paediatrics or their chosen sub-specialty.

Utilises the skills of other health professionals when required.

Domain 4 - Professional skills: Patient management (GPC 2)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Conducts a patient assessment and makes a differential diagnosis.

Plans appropriate investigations and initiates a treatment plan.

Refines differential diagnosis and tailors management plans in response to the patient’s needs and/or response to initial treatment.

Considers the full range of treatment and management options available, including new and innovative therapies, relevant within paediatrics and either General Paediatrics or their chosen sub-specialty.

Anticipates and determines the need for transition from paediatric services and plans accordingly

Domain 5 - Health promotion and illness prevention (GPC 4)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Promotes healthy behaviour, including giving advice, from early years to adulthood. Takes into account the potential impact of cultural, social, religious and economic factors on child and family health. Demonstrates leadership in the promotion of health and wellbeing practices in the wider community.

Domain 6 - Leadership and team working (GPC 5)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Recognises why leadership and team working are important in the paediatric clinical environment. Works constructively within a team, valuing contributions of others.

Develops personal leadership skills.

Demonstrates an awareness of own leadership qualities, adjusting their approach to improve outcomes.

Participates effectively and constructively in multidisciplinary and inter-professional teams.

Leads in multi-disciplinary team working. Promotes an open culture of learning and accountability by challenging and influencing colleague’s behaviour.

Supports the development of the team’s leadership qualities and critical decision-making skills.

See resources for domain 6

Domain 7 - Patient safety including safe prescribing (GPC 6)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Establishes the importance of safe prescribing, and is able to prescribe commonly-used medication in an appropriate manner.

Recognises when a patient has been exposed to risk and escalates in accordance with local procedures.

Applies appropriate procedures to both prescribing and clinical care situations and manages risk effectively.

Demonstrates ability to mitigate against potential risks.

Participates in investigating, reporting and resolving risks to patients, including appropriate communication with patients and families/carers.

Evaluates safety mechanisms across a range of healthcare settings, applying a reflective approach to self and team performance.

Domain 8 - Quality improvement (GPC 6)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Applies quality improvement methods (eg audit and QI projects) under guidance.

Independently applies knowledge of quality improvement processes to undertake projects and audits to improve clinical effectiveness, patient safety and patient experience.

Identifies quality improvement opportunities.

Supervises healthcare professionals in relation to improvement projects.

Leads and facilitates reflective evaluation in relation to quality improvement interventions.

Domain 9 - Safeguarding (GPC 7)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Promotes the professional responsibility of safeguarding children and young people, and able to document accurately and raise concerns in a professional manner to senior staff.

Takes responsibility for raising concerns, getting advice and taking appropriate actions, with supervision.

Independently leads the full process of safeguarding children, including assessment and reporting.

Domain 10 - Education and training (GPC 8)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Performs planned teaching and learning events under guidance.

Plans and delivers teaching and learning experiences to trainees and other professionals.

Provides appropriate and constructive feedback.

Models the knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide appropriate teaching, learning opportunities, supervision, assessment and mentorship in the paediatric healthcare setting.

Domain 11 - Research (GPC 9)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Adopts an evidence-based approach to paediatric health practice and the critical appraisal of existing published research.

Implements an evidence-based approach to practice to inform decision-making and enhance patient care and patient outcomes.

Demonstrates independent development and revision of guidelines and procedures to improve service delivery, centred around current clinical research and evidence-based healthcare.


In addition to the generic learning outcomes, all Level 3 trainees must fulfil the requirements of the Level 3 Learning Outcomes for General Paediatrics or their chosen sub-specialty.

See our sub-specialty and general paediatrics level 3 pages for more information.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy comprises the rationale for, and content of, the RCPCH Programme of Assessment, as of 1 August 2018. It reflects the evolution, rather than revolution, of previous strategies; so, it reinforces the assessment practices that have worked effectively and ensures these can continue to be deployed appropriately to support the current curriculum. 

While the assessments have not changed, the way in which they are used and the focus applied are subtly different to reflect the current curriculum structure and ethos. With trainees now focused on achievement of higher level, holistic learning outcomes, all assessments will demonstrate and/or develop capability in one of more learning outcome.

You can download the assessment strategy below - this must be read alongside the curriculum and syllabi.


The RCPCH Progress curriculum for postgraduate training in paediatrics is approved and regulated by the GMC. It is supported by separate syllabi for generic paediatrics at levels 1, 2 and 3, and for all sub-specialties and General Paediatrics at level 3 only.

Our governance document outlines the procedure for the review of the RCPCH Progress curriculum and syllabi, and our governance form enables requests for amendments. Both can be downloaded below.

2010 curriculum

The 2010 curriculum was in effect to 31 July 2018. It is in use for ST8 trainees who will CCT (certificate of completion of training) before 15 September 2019. 

You can download the 2010 curriculum below, and access the 2010 syllabi on each sub-specialty page.