Specialty training at Level 1 - application guidance

Most doctors enter paediatric training at Level 1, predominantly starting their posts at ST1 (in August or September). This is known as 'National Round 1'.

Applications for 2021-22 recruitment will be opening on 4 November 2021 at 10:00. For reference, you can find information on recruitment below, including the 2020-21 applicant guide and person specification. Further updated guidance will be added over the course of October.
Last modified
27 September 2021

National recruitment processes for 2021-2022

The format of recruitment for all specialties for 2021-2022 has been discussed and agreed by the Medical & Dental Recruitment and Selection Group (MDRS). Under normal circumstances, recruitment for National Round 1 paediatrics would have been based around face-to-face interviews, across our six regional centres. While the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue, there will again be no face-to-face interviews for national recruitment for any specialties. As a result, adapted processes have been put together and discussed the MDRS group.

Paediatric recruitment 2021-2022

Recruitment for ST1 paediatrics will this year be composed of two scoring elements:

  1. Application form (white-space questions): to cover Past achievements, Clinical experience, Career motivation, Transferable Skills, Governance
  2. 30-minute virtual interview, one panel of four assessors/30-minute virtual with two x 15-minute stations, two panels of two assessors:* to cover Communications, Career motivation, Clinical reasoning, Reflective practice

(*A new online platform is currently under testing with the regional recruitment offices, that would be used in place of Microsoft Teams if confirmed as fit-for-purpose. If this new platform is used, specialties will have the option of running interviews with more than one panel – the exact format of the interviews will be confirmed as soon as testing has been completed.)

Note: We can confirm that Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) will not be used in the paediatric recruitment process for 2021-22.

The overall scores for each part will be combined into an overall recruitment score, with a final appointability threshold of 55% or more:

  • Application form
  • Interview

Note: Application scores will be used as a shortlisting tool if the number of eligible applicants (after longlisting) exceeds the interview capacity available across our virtual interview centres. This capacity will be confirmed in advance of the application window opening at the start of November 2021.

For further details of each part of the recruitment process, see:

National round 1 paediatric recruitment timelines for 2021-22

Timelines for Paediatric National Recruitment for level 1 entry posts, starting in August/September 2022 were as follows:

Vacancies published  Tuesday 2 November 2021, 17:00
Applications open Thursday 4 November 2021, 10:00
Applications close Wednesday 1 December 2021, 16:00
Interview window Between Tuesday 4 January to Friday 18 March 2022
Initial offers released Thursday 24 March 2022, 17:00
Hold deadline Tuesday 5 April 2022, 13:00
Upgrade deadline Monday 11 April 2022, 16:00

Due to the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been some delays in confirming recruitment processes for some specialties. The HEE website also provides general information on the impact of COVID-19 on national recruitment. It will also shortly be updated with the full timelines and 2021-2022 specific guidance documents.

The paediatric level 1 applicant guide will be published here as soon as it has been fully updated. In the meantime, you can still refer to the 2020-2021 guide:

Note: We can confirm that Multi-Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA) will not be used in the paediatric recruitment process for 2021-22.

Interview days for 2021

Interviews took place virtually, managed by the local teams, as follows. Exact Dates will be confirmed in November 2021:

Lead centre Interview days
Thames Valley TBC
West Midlands TBC
North East TBC
Scotland TBC
Northern Ireland TBC

Application webinar and other events

We will be running a webinar on Monday, 18 October, 18:30 - 19:30. This will outline the processes for 2021-22 and give prospective applicants the opportunity to ask a host of questions to our panel. Written responses to the Q&A will also be collated and uploaded to this page. Join the webinar

You will also be able to watch this webinar back after the event, along with all our careers webinars/workshops on our Careers in paediatrics playlist on YouTube.

Post numbers for 2021-22 recruitment

Post numbers for all UK regions will be posted here as soon as they are confirmed by the local recruitment offices and collated by PaedsNRO.

Please note that there will be a separate preferencing window for applicants to rank their choices and preferencing will not take place during the application window. The preferencing window will likely be opened in January 2022, after longlisting has been completed.

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