ST1 Paediatrics: Complete Guide 2024
Paediatrics 2nd November 2023

ST1 Paediatrics: Complete Guide 2024

Specialty training in paediatrics is usually entered by most doctors at the ST1 level. If you’re considering applying for ST1 paediatrics, this simple guide will provide you with all the necessary information you need, from the ST1 application process and recruitment timeline to the paediatrics interview structure.

To support you with your paediatrics ST1 interview preparation, we’ve designed a comprehensive Paediatrics ST1 Interview Question bank. Preparing for interviews whilst working can be really daunting, and with the MSRA exam being removed from Paediatrics recruitment, more focus is placed on your interview, so it is important that you make time to prepare like you would an exam!

Paediatrics ST1 application

Important update for 2023-24 recruitment: If you’re applying for a 2024 post, you must have no more than 2 years experience in paediatric posts (excluding Foundation posts) at the time of making your application to be eligible. Alternatively, if you have more than 2 years experience, you should aim to apply for Paediatrics ST3.

For ST1 paediatrics training, you’ll submit one application via Oriel for all participating regions, meaning you’ll be considered for programmes across the UK and offered ST1 paediatrics roles based on your performance and rank.

It’s recommended that you start your application as soon as possible to allow plenty of time to complete it fully and to the best of your ability. You’ll find the paediatrics ST1 application window in the recruitment timeline section below.

As part of your paediatrics ST1 application, you’ll be required to complete a set of white-space questions. For 2024 entry, these focus on assessing the following areas:

  1. Additional qualifications
  2. Transferable clinical skills
  3. Transferable clinical experience and reflection
  4. Quality Improvement Project (QIP) / Audit relevant to application level and experience of applicant
  5. Leadership / management relevant to application level and experience of applicant
  6. Academic achievements relevant to application level and experience of applicant
  7. Teaching relevant to application level and experience of applicant
  8. Statement to support application demonstrating suitability for a career in paediatrics

How is my ST1 paediatrics application scored?

For 2024 the ST1 paediatrics application will be scored as follows:

For the purpose of longlisting:

Applicants are assessed against the essential criteria outlined in the ST1 paediatrics person specification. In order to demonstrate that you are eligible to apply, and therefore progress to the next stage, you must meet all of the essential criteria.

For the purpose of shortlisting:

If you are successfully longlisted, your white-space answers will be scored by two clinical assessors. The maximum score available is 30 per assessor (60 in total), scored as follows:

White-space question / assessment area Points available
Additional qualifications 2
Transferable clinical skills 4
Transferable clinical experience and reflection 4
QIP / Audit 3
Leadership / management 3
Academic achievements 4
Teaching 4
Supporting statement 6
Total 30

The application scoring framework and guidance for 2024 provides a breakdown of the scores available for each of the white-space questions.

The following are some key takeaway points from the 2024 application scoring framework and guidance, to support you to start thinking about the white-space questions and how you can maximise your score:

  • Although you can score points for additional qualifications, MRCPCH qualifications and paediatric experience, these are not essential for your paediatrics ST1 application.
  • The key words to note with the transferable clinical skills and transferable clinical experience and reflection are transferable and reflection. As mentioned above, you don’t necessarily need to have experience in paediatrics. You’ll score points on your application for giving examples of previous roles / experiences and reflecting on what you learnt, what skills you developed and how this will support you for a career in paediatrics.
  • QIP / audit, leadership / management, academic achievements and teaching all specify that this is relevant to your application level and experience. However, you will score more marks for:
    • QIP / audit – if you’ve designed, led and presented your data (rather than just collected data) and you’ve provided evidence of regularly participating in QIP / audits throughout your training so far.
    • Leadership / management – reflecting on what you’ve learnt from any leadership or management experience, how this has helped you to develop as a health professional and how this will support you in the future.
    • Academic achievements – as well as providing a good description of research that you’ve undertaken or preferably led, you’ll score more points for presenting your research at a regional, national or international presentation, and being published as a co-author, first or last author.
    • Teaching – designing, leading and evaluating teaching will score you the highest possible marks.
  • The supporting statement question is: ‘What makes you suited to a career in paediatrics?’. This provides an opportunity to share any additional information that you haven’t already covered in your application, particularly in relation to your personal attributes which make you suitable, and your motivation for and understanding of a career in paediatrics.

The score you achieve for your white-space questions, as part of your ST1 paediatric application, will be used in two ways:

  1. If the number of eligible applicants (i.e. those who have been longlisted) exceeds the interview capacity, these scores will be used to differentiate between applicants and determine who is invited to interview.
  2. Following your interview, it’ll be combined with your interview score to give an overall recruitment score. It’s worth noting that your application score (white-space questions) does not have the same weighting as your interview score. So, while it is important for ensuring that you’re invited to interview, it’s your interview score, and therefore interview preparations, that will have the greatest impact on how highly you’re ranked for an STI paediatrics role.

ST1 paediatrics recruitment timeline

As mentioned above, the ST1 paediatrics recruitment process comprises of your application form (with white-space questions) and your ST1 paediatrics interview. In 2021/22, the MSRA was removed from the recruitment process for ST1 paediatrics.

The following are the key ST1 paediatrics recruitment dates for 2024 entry:

Stage Date
Vacancies published 25 October 2023 (by 5pm)
Applications open 26 October 2023 (at 10am)
Applications close 23 November 2023 (at 4pm)
 Shortlisting window opens  20 December 2023
 Shortlisting window closes  15 January 2024
 Interview invites*  22 January 2024
 Interview booking closes*  24 January 2024 (by 4pm)
Interview window 1 February to 7 March 2024
Initial offers out 19 March 2024 (by 5pm)
Hold deadline 4 April 2024 (at 1pm)
Upgrade deadline 9 April 2024 (at 4pm)

*If you’re shortlisted for interview, you’ll be sent an ‘Applicant Declaration’ form with your invite, which you must complete and return before the interview booking window closes.

Paediatrics ST1 interview structure

The interview for 2024 entry will be a two-station multi-scenario format performed online via Qpercom. The whole interview will be around 45 minutes in length.

The interview aims to assess the following in relation to your clinical experience to date and your understanding of issues relevant to working in the NHS:

  1. Communication
    This involves a role play scenario in which you are required to explain a clinical condition or reasons for an intervention or transfer. You’ll be given 5 minutes before the interview to read the scenario. Communication is undoubtedly a core part of paediatric practice, and therefore, this scenario aims to assess your ability to interact with patients and parents/carers.
  2. Career motivation
    Although a physical portfolio is not required, you are advised to prepare the content you wish to discuss in this section of the interview, to demonstrate your enthusiasm, suitability and motivation for a career in paediatrics. It’s vital that you can demonstrate that you have undertaken research and, therefore, know what is involved in a career in paediatrics, are committed to the specialty and have the required personal attributes and transferable skills.
  3. Reflective Practice
    This section of the interview asks you to reflect on a significant event in your career so far, which either went well or not, and demonstrate how you would use this experience in the future. Assessment here focuses not only on your ability to reflect on your experiences, but also to demonstrate how you have learnt from this and what impact it has had on your future career.
  4. Paediatric Clinical Reasoning Question
    This section involves a case-based scenario which requires you to describe the relevant issues and how you would manage the situation. Although paediatric based, this question doesn’t require complex paediatric clinical knowledge, rather it aims to assess your ability to demonstrate a clear and methodical approach to a clinical problem.

A total of 160 points are available for the interview, with a score of 88 required in order to be deemed suitable for appointment.

In our Paediatrics ST1 Interview Question bank, we have broken down each of the four themes included in the interview. You can navigate through these via our dashboard. For ease of use, you can mark each scenario as either “completed”, “incomplete” or “go back”, so you know which scenarios you are confident with, and which ones require you to dedicate some more time to.

We have broken down each scenario into the questions you could be asked, with tips and suggestions on how best to approach your answer. Below is an example of a “Paediatric Clinical Reasoning Question” from our question bank so you know what to expect.


Paediatrics ST1 competition ratios

For 2022 entry, 1075 applications were submitted for ST1 paediatrics, in which there were 458 available posts, making the competition ratio 2.35. This means there were over two applicants for every ST1 paediatrics role available.

For 2023, 1231 applications were made, for a total of 506 available posts, so competition has increased.

This has increased yearly since 2020, when the competition ratio was 1.4, meaning that there were a little under 1.5 applicants for every available ST1 paediatrics post. With the specialty becoming more and more competitive each year, it is so important to plan and prepare for your interview.

Good luck!


Paediatrics ST1 Interview Question Bank

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Day in the life of a Paediatrics ST1

2024 Paediatrics ST1 Applicant Guidance

Paediatrics ST3 Interview

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