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.

The timeline for trainees starting sub-specialty training in August and September 2021 is below, but the dates are subject to change following Covid-19 guidelines. We plan to have the interviews virtually in November this year between 16-27 November, but we're asking that applicants please make yourself available one week before and after these dates to allow for flexibility with interview dates until the final timetable has been set. Specific interview dates for each sub-specialty will be announced once they have been agreed.

The guidance is being reviewed for this year and will be available soon. The files in the Downloads box at the bottom of this page are from last year and can be used as a reference until the new documents are uploaded.
Last modified
25 June 2020

See all sub-specialties


Applications open Monday 7 September 2020, 12:00 (British Summer Time)
Applications close Monday 28 September, 12:00 (BST)
Interview dates

The interviews will run virtually over the course of 16 - 20 and 23 - 27 November 2020. Please also keep free one week before and one week after these dates to allow for flexibility with interview dates until the final timetable has been set. Specific interview dates for each sub-specialty will be announced once they have been agreed.

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 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 4 of our full guide - download the Grid Applicant Guide below.

How long do I need to complete Grid training?

Grid training is a two to three year programme. 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.

In exceptional circumstances, candidates may be able to apply from a higher year of training - for example, ST7 - providing that sufficient sub-specialty training can be completed without an extension of the current CCT date, possibly through previous experience that may be counted retrospectively. If you want to do this, you must carefully discuss your circumstances with your deanery and the CSAC Chair.

How many times can I apply for Grid?

Typically, applicants can make two applications to Grid, however a third attempt can be made, providing they meet the following:

  • The applicant has been deemed appointable in one of their first two attempts
  • They continue to have the support of their Head of School
  • They have enough time remaining to complete the curriculum before their CCT date

Therefore, an applicant would be ineligible for a third attempt if they have been deemed unappointable on both their two previous attempts.

More than three attempts would not normally be considered unless due to exceptional circumstances and would require discussion between the School, CSAC and recruitment teams.

How many sub-specialties can I apply for?

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

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

Which posts are available?

A programme document for each sub-specialty will be available on this page from Monday 24 August 2020. 

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. (However, we no longer require additional references.)

Download the confirmation of eligibility form below

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.

For more information, see page 4 of the Grid Applicant Guide 2020 below.

How do I apply?

All applications for paediatric specialty training are made via the NHS Oriel recruitment system. 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.

For more information, see the full Applicant Guide 2020 below.

What criteria will applications be marked on?

Shortlisters mark Grid applications using a proforma. You can download the longlisting and shortlisting scoresheet below, and we recommend you refer to this as you make your application.

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
  • Pre-approval of Level 3 training from the CSAC chair, if applying from ST6 or above only

Contact us

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