Sub-specialty training (NTN grid) - application guidance

At Level 3 of training (ST6-8), paediatric trainees may sub-specialise in a specific area of paediatrics. Those who complete an approved programme of sub-specialist training are eligible to enter on the GMC Specialist Register as a Paediatrician with a sub-specialty. This process is also known as the NTN Grid recruitment.

Applications are now closed for this year. The timeline for the next round for trainees starting sub-specialty training in August or September 2022 is available below.

As of 17 March 2021, we have agreed that trainees will now not be limited in the number of attempts that they can apply to sub-specialty training. More details below.

Please note that the guidance is currently being updated and the downloads below are for the last round.
Last modified
7 July 2021

See all sub-specialties

Update on maximum number of applications - 17 March 2021

The number of applications to the sub-speciality Grid programme has previously been limited to two application rounds with a candidate being able to apply for up to two sub-specialities per recruitment year. A candidate who was deemed appointable in their first or second application but was unable to take up a post due to programme numbers or personal circumstances has also been able to apply on a third occasion provided they had adequate indicative training time to complete sub-speciality training before their CCT date. Provided there is enough time to complete the sub-specialty accredited training, there seems no trainee-focussed reason to limit applications.
Following review of sub-specialty recruitment, the College has taken the decision that trainees will now not be limited in the number of attempts that they can apply to sub-specialty training.

Applicants will continue to be able to apply for up to two sub-specialities per recruitment round. They must have adequate indicative training time left to complete their sub-speciality training at the start of their post. To ensure consistency across sub-specialities, a maximum of one-year WTE at level 3 training or equivalent can be counted towards sub-specialty training in future application rounds, as long as it has been approved by the relevant CSAC prior to the application process. This applies equally to both less than full time and full-time trainees.

If you would like to apply again and have enough indicative time left in training then please contact the sub-specialty recruitment team in the first instance at

Updated 22 March 2021 - In this transitional year we will allow more than 1 year WTE level 3 or equivalent experience to be counted towards sub-specialty training for trainees that have already received approval by the relevant CSAC or were planning to gain approval and apply in the next round.


The dates are later than previous years to allow applicants more time before the application window opens to decide which sub-specialty to apply for.

Stage of process Date
Programmes advertised and advert published by Monday 11 October 2021
Applications open Wednesday 27 October 2021
Confirmation of eligibility forms to deanery latest Monday 8 November 2021
Applications close Wednesday 17 November 2021
Shortlisting commences Monday 22 November  2021
Shortlisting to be completed by Monday 6 December 2021
Invitations to interview w/c Monday 13 December 2021
Sub-specialty interview period Monday 17 January - Wednesday 2 February 2022
Deadline for confirmation of preference choices Wednesday 2 February 2022
Matching process w/c Monday 31 January 2022
Offers will be made  From Wednesday 9 February 2022
Clearing round  w/c Monday 21 February 2022

Who can apply for Grid?

It is open to:

  • UK trainees holding an NTN (National Training Number), or
  • EEA (European Economic Area) trainees that are still in training in an equivalent programme within the EEA.

Applications from those outside of a UK/EEA training programme are not eligible to apply for Grid. If you have training, qualifications and experience in paediatrics but have gained these partly or completely outside of an approved CCT training programme (for example, you have trained outside the UK or EEA, moved abroad or taken a career break) and you are looking to join the GMC Specialist Register, you may be eligible to apply for CESR.

If you are a Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) applicant or EEA trainee, please contact as soon as possible to discuss your application. There is more information on page 5 of our our Grid applicant guide.

How long do I need to complete Grid training?

Grid training is capability based. However, a Grid programme is typically for two to three years indicatively. You must ensure you have enough time left in your training before your agreed CCT (Certificate of Completion of Training) date. CCT dates cannot be changed to accommodate sub-specialty training.

Candidates may apply from a high level of training, eg ST7 providing that sufficient sub-specialty training can be completed without an extension of the current CCT date. Applicants would be expected to have met some of the capabilities before starting their grid post. Candidates in this position are advised to discuss their circumstances carefully with their local Deanery and the CSAC Chair. 

How many times can I apply for Grid?

As of 17 March 2021, we have agreed that trainees will now not be limited in the number of attempts that they can apply to sub-specialty training. Please see more details at top of this page.

How many sub-specialties can I apply for?

You can apply for a maximum of two sub-specialities in each round.

You must apply for each vacancy and complete the application forms separately.

Which posts are available?

Programmes for an August/September 2022 start will be available later in the year.

What do I need to do before I apply?

RCPCH (UK) trainees

Your deanery contact needs to complete your confirmation of eligibility form, including your name and the sub-specialty/ies you are applying for. This confirms you are eligible for Grid training. Any applications missing this form are automatically longlisted out of the process.

We no longer automatically check references, however it is still a requirement on the application form and references may need to be contacted if you are moving regions and are needed as a pre-employment check.

Download the Confirmation of eligibility form and Deanery contacts

EEA/RCOA trainees

EEA/Royal College of Anaesthetists trainees are asked to contact us at with details about your current status. RCPCH officers confirm whether you are eligible for Grid training and if so, which documentation you need to provide with your application and interview. 

EEA trainees will need to complete the Level 2 capabilities form demonstrating completion or expected completion of Level 2 training by the time of entry to the Grid programme as outlined in ‘RCPCH Progress curriculum’. EEA, Anaesthetic and Intensive Care Medicine trainees need to complete a structured reference form if you are deemed appointable after your interview. This form will be sent to you.

Download the Certificate of level 2 training paediatrics for EEA trainees

For more information, see pages 4-5 of the Grid Applicant Guide 2020

How do I apply?

All applications for paediatric specialty training are made via the NHS Oriel recruitment system. All applicants will need to create a new account this year due to an update from Oriel. Applicants are recommended to submit their application at least 48 hours before the closing date to allow for any technical problems. Late applications are not accepted under any circumstance.

Download the Grid applicant guide 2021 and the Grid person specification 2021

What criteria will applications be marked on?

Shortlisters mark Grid applications using a proforma. We recommend you refer to the longlisting and shortlisting scoring, which you can download below.

Shape of Training will not affect the eligibility criteria for NTN Grid 2021 applicants. Any changes in eligibility criteria for NTN Grid 2022 will be published in advance of that application round.

Download the Longlisting and shortlisting scoring 2021

What other information do I need to submit with my application?

You need to provide:

  • Confirmation of eligibility form - completed by your deanery
  • Fitness to practice declarations if necessary
  • Confirmation of approval of Level 3 capabilities from the CSAC chair, if applying from ST6 or above only
  • Level 2 capabilities form if you are an EEA trainee

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact the RCPCH Recruitment and Careers team.