Specialty training at Level 1 - application guidance

Applications are currently closed for paediatric specialty training (ST) at Level 1 in the UK, (also known as National Round 1.

The next recruitment for posts starting in August / September 2021 will open soon, and we'll publish details here as soon as we can. In the meantime, you can find some general information on Level 1 entry recruitment below, and download the full applicant guide and person specification used for the 2020 rounds.
Last modified
7 September 2020

2021 National Round 1 recruitment

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as of 7 September, national level discussions are still underway for all specialty recruitment for 2021. We hope to be able to provide more details here very shortly.

Application window tbc
Longlisting dates tbc
Initial offers released tbc
Hold/Upgrade deadline (16:00) tbc
RLMT to be issued by (for overseas applicants) tbc
RCoS applications to be submitted by (for overseas applicants) tbc

The HEE website also has general information on the impact of COVID-19 on national recruitment.

About recruitment

We at RCPCH have an ongoing commitment to continue to improve the national recruitment process for paediatrics and ensure applicants have as much flexibility as possible. We made some changes over the past two years, which will continue for the 2021 round and beyond.

No restrictions on prior paediatric experience: Applicants who have spent a bit longer working in paediatrics outside the UK Foundation programme (or equivalent) are not ‘penalised’ and so left with fewer options of where to apply to enter our training programme.

One vacancy for Level 1 entry: There is no longer a separate vacancy for ST2 entry on Oriel, as all trainees will now enter UK training programmes at ST1.

Opportunity to be fast-tracked through Level 1 training in two years rather than three years: As there is now no separate ST2 entry, applicants who can evidence at least 12 months experience in paediatric posts, outside the UK Foundation programme (or equivalent), at point of application, have the opportunity to decalre this on their application and have the opportunity to complete Level 1 training in two years (instead of the standard three years). Any such prior experience should be evidenced via the Oriel application form.

Employing deaneries will be informed of all new trainees who have evidenced 12 months minimum prior experience on their application and fast track progression will be closely tracked by their educational supervisor throughout that first year. ultimately be confirmed at a trainees first ARCP (annual review of competence progression) but

Scotland: Applicants for Scottish posts should be able to evidence a minimum of six months first on experience in General Paediatrics with an additional 6 months experience at first on level in a level 3 neonatal unit in order to be eligible for early fast tracking to ST2 level, following appointment - this will be confirmed following the offers process.

Vacancy and applications process

Applications are currently closed

For information, you can download the 2020 applicant guidance for round 1 and re-advert below

This process is managed by the Paediatrics National Recruitment Office (Paeds NRO), working out of the HEE West Midlands office. For queries, please contact them at PaedsNRO@hee.nhs.uk.

Person specification

There is a single person specification that covers entry at Level 1. 

Applicants need to be registered with and licensed by the General Medical Council (GMC) by the intended start date of the post you are applying for. (You don't need to be registered with or licensed by the GMC at the time of application.) For paediatric training posts, this is typically August or September, depending on the UK region. All start dates will be clearly displayed when you make your preferences on the Oriel system, once the vacancy is 'live'. If you need clarification, please contact the relevant HEE office.

Person specification You can download the 2020 person specification below. This is also available on the HEE Specialty Recruitment website. The 2021 person specification will be posted in Autumn 2020, as soon as it is signed off by the National Medical Dental Recruitment and Selection Group.


Discussions are still underway regarding the foramt of recruitment for all specialties for 2021. Under normal circumstances, interviews for National Round 1 usually take place at six centres. In 2020, these were London, West Midlands, Oxford, Newcastle, Belfast and Glasgow.

The interviews included a safe prescribing chart, and candidates were provided with a calculator, BNFC and a blank drug chart - you can download a blank drug chart example below

Past application numbers and competition ratio

In 2020, 712 applications were made for 461 posts overall across the UK. 645 applicants were invited to interview. The competition ratio for paediatric posts was therefore 1:40, equivalent to a little under 1.5 applicants for each post advertised.

Some regions do prove more popular than others. However, applicants can preference any or all of the preferences for any or all regions, so it is not possible to give an accurate competition ratio by region.

Both overall application numbers, and consequently also competition ratios, saw a considerable increase for the 2020 national recruitment round 1. Remaining unfilled posts were still re-advertised in the national round 1 re-advert. 


For any queries, please contact PaedsNRO@hee.nhs.uk