General paediatrics training

Paediatric training enables paediatricians to deliver excellent standards of care within an evolving health service. It aims to produce professionals sensitive to the needs of children and their families. All education, training and assessment processes meet the RCPCH and General Medical Council curricula.

On this page:

About general paediatrics

General paediatrics is the care of children in hospital. Sick children can have simple or complex diseases. The paediatrician needs to know how to manage these independently or by working with other colleagues. General paediatricians comprise the largest group of paediatricians.

Their work includes: 

  • seeing children in outpatients departments
  • emergency work on the wards or tending to sick babies in special care baby units
  • teaching and training
  • administration (such as writing letters and reports)
  • talking to families
  • working closely with other health professionals.

Some general paediatricians have a special interest in a certain area of paediatrics. Some lead on certain areas of training and education.

It is expected that paediatric trainees will take eight years to gain a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

General paedicatrics curriculum

The 2010 curriculum comprehensively details the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected from a trained paediatrician working in the UK. The assessment standards help to focus on the desired outcomes of each level of training.

The curriculum was updated to reflect changes to workplace-based assessments for StRs, trainees who started training from 1 August 2007 to present.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has approved it as of 1 July 2013. It meets the GMC's 17 standards as detailed in its standards for curricula and assessment systems.

What the curriculum includes:

  • Competences that trainees need to achieve through their training to become a consultant paediatrician
  • Assessment strategy through the their training to successful completion and the award of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT)

Child Protection competences for Scotland:

Benefits of using the curriculum:

  • Trainees can develop their personal development plans and chart their progress through training. This ensures they gain the appropriate experiences and continue to develop towards being a consultant. This contributes to appraisal, self-assessment, self-directed learning and educational meetings.
  • The curriculum gives the trainee and their tutors guidance about the areas they need to cover. It gives a clear picture of what has to be achieved by the end of each stage of training. It also helps identify areas of practice that need to be improved and that the trainee has confidence in.
  • Tutors can map local teaching programmes to the curriculum.
  • Families can see what their paediatricians are working towards in their training.

Download the curriculum:

Training levels

Paediatric training is divided into three levels.

Level 1 (Specialty Trainee 1-3) - lasts 2-3 years

This level provides basic knowledge of paediatrics and child health. The trainee is placed in acute general, neonatal and community paediatric posts.

Trainees need to pass all parts of the MRCPCH examination before they progress to the next level. 

Level 2 (ST 4-5) - lasts 1-2 years

The trainee is placed mainly in district general hospitals (DGHs). Placements use existing core training posts and rotations including community paediatrics and neonatology.

This level has a greater emphasis on outpatient presentations. There is an expectation of a higher performance level in common paediatric conditions, child development and safeguarding.

Level 3 (ST6-8) - lasts 2-3 years

Trainees may choose to stay on in general paediatrics training. Or, they may apply in competition for one of the 17 accredited sub-specialties.

Entry to a sub-specialty takes place at ST6 or ST7, depending on the sub-specialty curriculum.

StRs training in general paediatrics will be matched to ST6-8 by their local Training Programme Directors (TPDs). This is done by local availability of training opportunities, trainee requirements and preferences.

This diagram shows the postgraduate training in general paediatrics

 Diagram of three levels of paediatric training for ST1-8

Key features of general paediatric training


The RCPCH ePortfolio is designed to encourage a learner-centred approach with the support of Educational Supervisors. The ePortfolio contains tools to identify educational needs. It enables the setting of learning goals, reflective learning and personal development.


The curriculum outlines competences that trainees must reach by the end of the programme. It is directly linked to the ePortfolio.

Continuation of good medical practice

Building on Foundation training, the curriculum contains important emphasis on generic competences necessary for practice as a paediatrician.


Each trainee has a series of people with clearly defined roles and responsibilities who oversee their training. These include Clinical Supervisor, Educational Supervisor, College Tutor, Programme Director, and Head of School. 

The trainee has regular appraisal meetings and reviews of their competence progression and workplace based assessments, as set out in RCPCH ePortfolio. 

Workplace-based assessments

Regular workplace-based assessments are conducted throughout training. These build on those used in the Foundation programme with an Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP).

Assesment tools include Directly Observed Procedures (DOPS), Case Based Discussion (CbD), mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise (mini-CEX) and multisource feedback (MSF).

MRCPCH examination

The three theory examinations and clinical examination that comprise the MRCPCH are mapped to the curriculum for general paediatrics in order to provide a knowledge base for training. 

RCPCHStart assessment

The RCPCHStart assessment is designed to guide trainees as they prepare for completion of training and practice as a newly appointed consultant.  It assesses the clinical and non clinical skills needed for effective practice as a consultant paediatrician.

Advanced neonatal and paediatric life support skills

By the end of Level 1 training, trainees need to have demonstrated that they have acquired advanced neonatal and paediatric life support skills. 

The RCPCH does not prescribe the methods by which achievement of these competencies should be evidenced. Successful certification from an APLS or EPALS course (for paediatric life support) and an NLS course (for newborn life support) is acceptable evidence.

Successful completion of life support training conducted by other providers, such as an NHS Trust or Deanery (LETB), could also be judged as showing satisfactory achievement. However, the decision whether or not to accept this evidence will ultimately be made by the ARCP panel.

The factors that inform such decisions should be:

  1. whether the learning objectives, which should be explicit, cover the relevant curriculum items satisfactorily
  2. whether appropriate teaching methodologies are used and have been demonstrated to be of good quality, and
  3. whether the validity and reliability of the assessment have been quality assured. 

College Specialty Advisory Committee (CSAC) - membership

Core members


Name Email address
Chair Dr Mark Anderson
Chair (BAGP) Dr Peter Heinz
Assessment Advisor Dr Priya Kumar
Academic Training Advisor Dr Colin Powell
Quality Advisor  Dr Russell Peek 
Training Advisor Dr Swaminathan Kannan
Training Advisor  Dr Caroline Scott-Lang 

Trainee Representative
(ST 1-5)

Dr Sairah Akbar

Trainee Representative
(ST 6-8)


Dr Charlotte Holland

Council of Reference members

Subspecialty  Name  Email Address
Cardiology Dr Roy Sievers
Endocrinology Dr James Bursell
Nephrology Dr Susie Minson
Adolescents Dr Lee Hudson
Infectious diseases Dr Srinivas Bandi
Emergency Medicine Dr Ian Lewins
Oncology Dr Atefa Hossain
Neurology  Dr Nadira Maharaj
Neonatology Dr Prakash Thiagarajan
Mental Health Dr Emma Blake

General Paediatric Regional Training Advisers


Name Email address
Wales Dr Yvette Cloette
North Western Dr Sameer Misra
London Dr Atefa Hossain
Yorkshire & Humber Dr Natasha Devere
Peninsula Vacant Vacant
Mersey Vacant Vacant
Eastern Vacant Vacant
Northern Vacant Vacant
Severn Vacant Vacant
Oxford Vacant Vacant
Kent, Surrey & Sussex Vacant Vacant
West Midlands Vacant Vacant
East Midlands Vacant Vacant
Northern Ireland Dr Andrew Thompson
Scotland Vacant Vacant

Deaneries who are effectively approving their own training provision need to consider how they might assure external agencies of the quality of such provision.

Specialty group