Paediatric neurology - sub-specialty

A paediatric neurologist is a doctor with (or trainee doctor working towards acquiring) expertise in diagnosing and managing the vast range of neurological disorders affecting children and young people. Find out more about this sub-specialty and its curriculum.

What makes a paediatric neurologist?

A paediatric neurologist needs to have expertise in a wide range of disorders from fetal life to adulthood (16-18 years) including:

  • epilepsy and paroxysmal disorders
  • neuromuscular disorders
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • brain and spinal injury
  • infections of the brain and spinal cord
  • brain and spinal tumours
  • neuroinflammatory disorders
  • neurogenetic disorders
  • movement disorders
  • white matter disorders
  • inborn errors of metabolism.

In addition, paediatric neurologists have generic expertise in neuroimaging, molecular medicine and neurosurgical disorders. Some will sub-specialise and work largely or exclusively in a particular field.

Paediatric neurologists are usually based in a regional neuroscience centre providing secondary and tertiary-level services, working in outpatient and hospital settings. In the acute setting, they manage a wide spectrum of disorders and provide shared care management of patients on the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and the neonatal ICU (NICU) and of patients undergoing neurosurgery.

They provide specialist support to paediatric specialty colleagues, advising on the diagnosis and ongoing management of chronic and complex disease. Paediatric neurologists work particularly closely with neurodisability paediatricians, neurosurgeons, neurophysiologists, neuroradiologists and neurogeneticists.

Training in this sub-specialty

Paediatricians in the UK start their training in general paediatrics, and at the final level of training (level 3), some choose to train in a paediatric sub-specialty, such as paediatric neurology. 

The RCPCH Progress curriculum provides a framework for paediatric training, and outlines the Learning Outcomes and Key Capabilities required at each stage before attaining the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

The syllabi support the curriculum with further guidance on how the Learning Outcomes can be achieved and demonstrated. Those in sub-specialty training use two syllabi, which are part of the RCPCH Progress curriculum:

  • Level 3 generic syllabus (for all level 3 trainees)
  • Sub-specialty syllabus.

In 2021 we made some some enhancements to the paediatric neurology sub-specialty syllabus, which were approved by the General Medical Council (GMC) for use as of August/September 2021. The version you use depends when you plan to CCT:

  • If you will CCT by 15 September 2022, you'll use version 1
  • If you will CCT on or after 15 September 2022, you'll use version 2.

You can download all syllabus documents below

Completing your paediatric Neurology CSAC progression form

Your form is found in your RCPCH ePortfolio in the Supervision and CSAC progression forms section.

We recommend you meet with your supervisor three to four weeks before your scheduled progression review.

Guide to completing your form

Step 1: Review the capabilities you have demonstrated and developed as a GRID trainee in each of the subspecialty learning outcomes. Make full use of the Paediatric Neurology syllabus (download below) and the training guide, which were written by the RCPCH Paediatric Neurology CSAC. You will be assessed against the syllabus and not the training guide, which is there to signpost how to demonstrate the syllabus learning outcomes.

Briefly outline the evidence that supports your progress in each area describing what you have done and learning points. For example: "By attending weekly neuroradiology meetings, I have developed my skills in my skills in interpreting CT / MR findings in acute ischaemia."

Step 2: Your supervisor will then be able to review your evidence and add their comments to the CSAC progression form in their section, describing where they feel you have progressed and what still needs to be achieved for GRID completion. For example: "Has developed key skills in interpreting acute imaging findings and across a range of sub-specialty areas. Needs to demonstrate skills with more specialist imaging techniques in assessing Space Occupying Lesions and White Matter disorders."

Step 3: You should then agree learning objectives for the next GRID year, making use of the PDP and induction form in your ePortfolio. As you progress through training, you are likely to have achieved the learning outcomes in some areas of the syllabus and need more experience in others. This needs to be reflected by your supervisor's comments and your PDP. The training guide is a useful resource in indicating how to demonstrate the full paediatric neurology syllabus against which you will be assessed.