Specialty training at Level 1 - application guidance

Applications are now closed for paediatric specialty training (ST) at Level 1 in the UK (also known as National Round 1) for posts starting in August/September 2020. The Round 1 re-advert is still underway but applications have closed and applicants are currently being shortlisted.

Below is some general information on Level 1 entry recruitment. You can download the full applicant guides and person specification used for the 2020 rounds at the bottom of the page.
Last modified
15 May 2020

2020 round re-advert

This is recruitment to Level 1 entry posts that were not filled in the original round, along with additional posts that were not available to advertise in the original round. Applications for the re-advert are now closed and longlisting completed.

Due to the COVID-10 pandemic, there are no face-to-face interviews for longlisted applicants in the re-advert. A shortlisting process based on the information provided in the applications is currently being used to rank and offer posts to commence in August 2020. The process will be carried out according to the following timelines.

Shortlisting window Thursday 30 April to Thursday 14 May 2020
Initial offers released Tuesday 26 May 2020
Hold/Upgrade deadline (16:00) Friday 29 May 2020
RLMT to be issued by (for overseas applicants) tbc
RCoS applications to be submitted by (for overseas applicants) tbc

You can download specific guidance on the new process for this year's Round 1 re-advert below.

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

About recruitment

We at RCPCH have an ongoing commitment to improve the national recruitment process for paediatrics and to ensure applicants have as much flexibility as possible. We made some changes over the past year, which will continue for the 2020 rounds 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 now 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, both ST1 and ST2. 

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.


Interviews for National Round 1 usually take place at six centres. In 2020, these were:

  • London
  • West Midlands
  • Oxford
  • Newcastle
  • Belfast
  • Glasgow

The interview includes a safe prescribing chart, and candidates will be provided with a calculator, BNFC and a blank drug chart - you can download a blank drug chart example below

As noted above, there are no interviews for this year's re-advert round due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Past application numbers and competition ratio

In 2019, 583 applications were made for 475 posts overall across the UK. 480 applicants were invited to interview. The competition ratio for paediatric posts was therefore 1:1.23, equivalent to a little under 1-1/2 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, were down for the 2020 national recruitment round 1 and as a consequence, some posts were re-advertised in the national round 1 re-advert. 


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