Specialty training at ST3 and ST4 - application guidance

This information is for doctors applying for paediatric specialty training (ST) at ST3 or ST4 in the UK - known as National Round 2. This page gives information on the application process, including the application timeline, eligibility criteria and post numbers; you can download the person specifications and new Certificate to demonstrate Completion of Level 1 Paediatric Training Capabilities for 2021, along with the full application guide.

Applications closed on Thursday 17 December.
Last modified
21 December 2020

National recruitment processes for 2021

The format of recruitment for all specialties for 2021 has recently been discussed and agreed by the Medical & Dental Recruitment and Selection Group (MDRS). Under normal circumstances, recruitment would be interview-based for National Round 2, taking place at a single central interview centre. However, there is a general rule in place for this year that no face-to-face interviews will be taking place for any specialties, so an adapted process has been put together, that will allow us to focus on the areas that we feel are most important for recruiting into paediatrics.

A set of general principles were introduced by MDRS that all medical specialties will be adhering to for the upcoming rounds of recruitment:

  • No face-to-face interviews
  • Single panel virtual interviews only
  • Clear Plan A and Plan B for every specialty laid out to applicants in advance of applications
  • Plan B is the ‘no interview’ scenario, in case of circumstances that mean it is not even possible to run interviews virtually
  • A need for specialties to explore the use of more alternative assessment methods where appropriate (eg MSRA, self-assessment) in order to ensure robust delivery and assessment

Recruitment will therefore go ahead using the plan A set out by each specialty.

A decision will be made on a specialty by specialty basis as to whether there is a need to move to plan B during the recruitment process. This might be due to a lack of available consultants to undertake interviews as a result of service pressures instigated by COVID-19, depletion of operational staff, etc. If the decision is made to move to plan B, it will be communicated to applicants as soon as possible. Accordingly, plan B has been designed to have minimal impact on applicants and still allow for a process that allows applicants to demonstrate as wide a range of relevant attributes and skills as possible.

Paediatric recruitment for ST3 & ST4 - Plan A

Plan A will come into effect immediately, and has two elements:

  1. Application form (white-space questions): to cover Past achievements, Clinical experience, Career motivation, Transferable Skills
  2. 30-minute virtual interview with two assessors: to cover Communications, Governance and Leadership skills, Reflective practice and Clinical reasoning

The overall scores for each part will be weighted to get an overall recruitment score out of 100%, as follows:

  • Application form – 50%
  • Interview – 50%

Paediatric recruitment for ST3 & ST4 - Plan B

Plan B will consist of just one element: Application form (white-space questions): to cover Past achievements, Clinical experience, Career motivation, Transferable Skills, Reflection

    The full paediatric timelines for National Round 2 are laid out below and should remain the same for each element of the process, regardless of which plan is being followed. Any changes will be communicated to applicants as soon as possible.

    Full details of each part of the recruitment process, will be posted here by the end of w/c 9 November 2020.

    National Round 2 Re-advert - dates

    Applications for national round 2, for applicants looking to join the paediatric training pathway at ST3 or ST4, is now closed.

    Scoring for the recruitment process will be based on two parts: shortlisting-style questions on the application form, followed by a virtual interview. Trainees will commence their posts in August or September 2021, depending on the deanery.

    These are the key dates:

    What Date
    Advert appears Monday 23 November 2020
    Applications open (10:00 UK local time) Thursday 26 November 2020
    Applications close (16:00) Thursday 17 December 2020
    Application scoring window opens (shortlisting) Monday 18 January 2021
    Application scoring window closes (shortlisting) Wednesday 3 February 2021                      
    Invite to interview, applicant declaration sent Monday 8 February 2021
    Deadline for interview booking and applicant declaration return (16:00) Thursday 11 February 2021
    Interview window opens Monday 19 April 2021
    Interview window closes Wednesday 28 April 2021
    Offers are released Tuesday 4 May 2021
    Hold deadline (13:00) Wednesday 12 May 2021
    Upgrade deadline (16:00) Wednesday 12 May 2021

    Note: All times referred to in this timeline are UK times.

    You can download further guidance on the new process for this year's recruitment. The HEE website has general information on the impact of COVID-19 on national recruitment.


    Applicants in the following categories may be considered for appointment in National Round 2 Re-advert:

    • UK or European Economic Area (EEA) national
    • Non-UK or non-EEA national where immigration status allows work without restriction in the UK, for example those holding dependant status with no restriction against working as a doctor or dentist in training
    • Already on Tier 2, applying to continue training with the same sponsor and/or the same training number
    • Applying for a specialty in a shortage occupation
    • Non-UK or non-EEA national who currently has Tier 4 status to complete a Masters or PhD - applicants must have completed their Masters or completed 1 year of their PhD to be exempt from the RLMT (resident labour market test)
    • Already on Tier 2 and applying for a different specialty and changing sponsor - applicants in this category will require Tier 2 sponsorship and will be subject to the RLMT
    • Non-UK or non-EEA national who has limited leave to remain in the UK, who does not fall into one of the above categories - applicants in this category will require Tier 2 sponsorship and will be subject to the RLMT
    • Non-UK or non-EEA national who does not currently hold a UK visa status - applicants in this category will require Tier 2 sponsorship and will be subject to the RLMT

    All training programmes are equally open to those who may, either from the outset or subsequently, wish to train flexibly.

    Person specifications and application guidance

    Applicants make their application on the Oriel application system.

    Applicants need to demonstrate paediatric Level 1 training equivalency, be registered with and licensed by the General Medical Council (GMC) by the intended start date of the post they were applying for and complete the form, Certificate of Level 1 Training Paediatrics 2021 in the Downloads box below.

    The self-assessment will not form part of the application process for ST3 & ST4 Paediatric posts in National Round 2. As such applicants will not need to upload accompanying evidence, apart from the Certificate of Level 1 Training Paediatrics form.

    The scoring framework for the whitespace questions in the application can be found in the downloads box at the bottom of this page. Please refer to it when completing your application form.

    The full Applicant Guidance for the Round 2 recruitment round for ST3 & ST4 posts, as well as the Person Specifications 2021, are in the Downloads box below.

      Post numbers

      Post numbers will be displayed here, as soon as they have been confirmed by the regional offices and collated by the operational team at the Paediatric National Recruitment Office (PaedsNRO).


      For any queries about the process, please contact the Paediatric National Recruitment Office at PaedsNRO@hee.nhs.uk.