Training and development (paediatrics)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their training including medical school.

Length of training

Undergraduate study at medical school varies from 5 - 6 years, depending on whether an intercalated degree is taken or not. The Graduate Entry Programme into medicine is generally 4 years in length. Find out more about medical school.

After medical school doctors undertake a two-year foundation programme. Find out more about the foundation programme.

Training after the foundation years begins at ST1. It will usually be completed within eight years of full-time training

The training pathway

The training pathway consists of three levels. All trainees follow levels one and two of the general paediatric curriculum. At level three they decide whether to continue in general paediatrics or to apply to complete their training in a chosen sub-specialty.

  • level 1 – ST1-3 (2-3 years)  – provides basic knowledge of paediatrics and child health, with placements in acute general, neonatal and community paediatric posts. Full MRCPCH will be necessary to progress into level 2 training.
  • level 2  – ST4-5 (1-2 years)  – training will be provided mainly in district general hospitals (DGHs) using existing core training posts and rotations including community paediatrics and neonatology. There’ll be a greater emphasis on outpatient presentations, and the expectation of a higher level of performance in relation to common paediatric conditions, child development and safeguarding.
  • level 3  – ST6-8 (2-3 years)  – at Level 3, trainees may choose to enter subspecialty training in one of the accredited subspecialties or to stay on in general training.

Those wishing to enter subspecialty training may apply in competition for National Grid training in one of the 17 paediatric subspecialties, with entry at ST6 or 7 depending on the specialty curriculum.

StRs who are training in general paediatrics will be matched to year ST 6-8 posts by their local training programme directors (TPDs) in accordance with local availability of training opportunities, trainee requirements and preferences. GMC has information on the postgraduate training curriculum for paediatrics.

Getting in tips

It is important to develop your practical skills and interest in paediatrics as early as you can. This will also give you valuable experience to add to your CV.

    • attend conferences on paediatrics – this will give you an opportunity to network and meet your future colleagues
    • undertake a placement in/paediatrics
    • undertake a student selected module or project in paediatrics and choose an elective in this area
    • undertake an elective in paediatrics
    • apply for medical student Affiliate Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) – this is free and offers a wide range of benefits
    • make contact with the/paediatrics department in your hospital and find out how you can get involved
    • aim to get a rotation in paediatrics
    • attend relevant conferences
    • try to ensure your e-portfolio has relevant experience with paediatrics and that this is kept properly up-to-date
    • try to gain teaching and management experience
    • apply for foundation doctor Affiliate Membership of the RCPCH
    • undertake a relevant research project
    • try to get some of your work published and present at national and international meetings
    • teach junior colleagues
    • take on any management opportunities you are offered
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