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 trainees starting sub-specialty training in August and September 2021 can be found below.
Last modified
17 December 2020

See all sub-specialties

Timeline for 2020

Grid advert published on NHS jobs and RCPCH websites

Monday 24 August, 12:00 (British Summer Time)

Applications open

Monday 7 September, 12:00 (BST)

Deadline for confirmation of eligibility forms to be sent to deanery contact

Monday 14 September

Applications close

Monday 28 September, 12:00 (BST)

Invitations to interview and shortlisting outcomes are sent to applicants Week commencing Monday 2 November

Interview dates

Virtual interviews will take place between 16 November  and 1 December during the week and specific interview dates for each sub-specialty are listed below

Deadline for confirmation of preference choices on Oriel

Monday 30 November, 12:00 (BST)

Offers will be made

From Wednesday 9 December

Clearing round

January 2021

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 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?

Typically, applicants can make two applications to Grid.

A third attempt can be made, providing the applicant meets the following criteria:

  • They are 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 is ineligible for a third attempt if they have been deemed unappointable on both their two previous attempts.

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

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?

A programme document for each sub-specialty is available in the Downloads box below.

Each job description is available on this SharePoint link

You will be able to apply for these positions via NHS Oriel recruitment system from Monday 7 September, 12:00 (BST) - Monday 28 September, 12:00 (BST). Please note that this is a new Oriel web address and all applicants will need to create a new account even it they already have an Oriel account. 

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

Preparing for the virtual interviews

We held a live webinar on 13 November for trainees who have an interview for sub-specialty training this year. We provided instructions for the day of their interview, and guidance on how to use Practique, the online platform.

Here we provide the recording for those who could not make the live event and/or would like to listen again.

Contact us

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