Foundation doctors

Paediatrics is an exciting and varied specialty - every day is different.

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Try and get a paediatric post within your foundation training but bear in mind that not all foundation doctors will receive a post in paediatrics. There are plenty of other ways to get experience in paediatrics to build your portfolio ready for applying to paediatrics in your Foundation Year 2. 

  • 2.6% of FY1 and 6.0% of FY2 placements are in paediatrics (Foundation for Excellence: An evaluation of the Foundation Programme, October 2010, Professor John Collins). 
  • Not all candidates who apply to Paediatric Specialty Training have completed a paediatric foundation post. 
  • You will still get exposure to working with children in many other specialties throughout your foundation training, e.g. in General Practise, Emergency Medicine, Paediatric Surgery, where you will learn valuable transferrable skills that can be utilised for paediatrics.
  • If you cannot secure a paediatric rotation within your foundation training, don't worry, this will not count against you in your paediatric application but try and get experiences where you can to strengthen your application.

'For entry at ST1, there is no requirement for an applicant to have previous experience in paediatrics. What is more important is that our applicants have a commitment to the welfare of children and a passion for paediatrics.'

What can you do to get paediatric experience?

  • Foundation schools offer taster weeks in paediatrics, try and get on a taster week to experience the working day of paediatrician.
  • Find opportunities where possible to be involved with children's clubs or groups with children and young people with disabilities or learning difficulties. Volunteering for these groups will help develop your communication skills and rapport with children.
  • Find a willing paediatrician to act as a mentor to you. Paediatricians are friendly and approachable and will be more than happy to answer any of your questions on specialising in paediatrics. Whether they are traineenewborn baby being examined.web.JPGs or consultants ask if you could shadow them or be involved in some work they are completing (e.g. an audit or piece of research). Each paediatric department will have a Paediatric College Tutor who will be great source of information.
  • Even if you are not working in a paediatrics post, is there a way to incorporate a paediatric aspect into your post (i.e if you are working in emergency medicine can you do an audit focusing on a issue relating to child care?)
  • There are a number of RCPCH prizes open for entry from foundation doctors. Enter the prizes for a great opportunity to add to your portfolio and the chance to attend the RCPCH Annual Conference for free.
  • The RCPCH Annual Conference has reduced entry rates for foundation doctors. The conference is a great opportunity to attend informative lecturers from prestigious speakers and network with paediatricians.
  • Are there any paediatric courses available to you? For example a paediatric life support course or safeguarding course? These courses will give you an insight into the specialty and can be used in your application.

Applying to specialty training

All you need to know about applying for paediatric specialty training can be found on the specialty training recruitment pages. You will find information on the recruitment dates, the shortlisting and interview process and scoring frameworks, and the competition ratios for deaneries, amongst other frequently asked questions. Give yourself plenty of time to become familiar with the process and prepare for your application and interview.

Your portfolio will form part of the interview process, so make sure yours is up to date and prepared for your application.

For those applying straight from Foundation your application will be made in the November/December of your FY2 to start paediatric training from the August/September the following year once you have completed FY2.

Further information on training in paediatrics

Academic training

Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACF) are available across the country in paediatrics. ACF positions are three-year posts (equivalent to level 1 paediatrics), which allow trainees to spend 75% of their time undertaking clinical work and 25% of time undertaking research or educational training. The normal end point of ACF training is a higher degree, eg a PhD. Academic trainees can then continue in academic training or can chose to complete clinical training in paediatrics.  

Recruitment to ACF positions is via the National Institute for Health Research. The RCPCH is not directly involved with the recruitment to these posts.

Having time out between foundation and specialty training

Some foundation doctors consider taking 12 months between completing foundation training and entering their chosen specialty training to go overseas. This would not impact on your application to specialty training, and may give you different experiences and skills to bring to your application. You would need to keep in mind the ST1 essential requirements which can be found on the ST Person Specifications, e.g. to apply at ST1, applicants must not have more than 18 months paediatric experience (excluding foundation training).

Careers fairs

The RCPCH attend a number of careers fair and hold an annual foundation doctors careers fair at the College building in London. Keep an eye on where we are going to be

Become an affiliate member of the RCPCH

The RCPCH offers affiliate membership to UK Foundation Doctors. Benefits include:

  • paediatrics careers advice
  • monthly President's ebulletin
  • quarterly RCPCH 'Notes' newsletter
  • access to the members section of the RCPCH website
  • reduced rate for the Archives of Disease in Childhood
  • attend the Annual Conference at a discounted rate
  • and we'll soon be launching a networking day and prizes for foundation doctors

It's £50 a year so download the application form now!


Please provide the below information when contacting us:

  • Full Name
  • Right to work in the UK (UK, EEA or overseas; visa status if known)
  • Copy of up to date C.V.
  • Current Level (i.e. medical student, Foundation doctor or equivalent, trainee, consultant)
  • Any MRCPCH examinations taken
  • Career Aspirations (e.g. consultant in paediatrics, fellowship, sub speciality training etc.)

Email: Recruitment and Careers team