We have put together some frequently asked questions to help you navigate level 3 training. Do have a look through as the answers to many of the common questions can be found below. If you have a specific query, please do get in touch. All contact details for TPDs can be found on the LSP Who’s who webpage.

All length of time quoted will reflect whole time equivalent working. If you are working less than full time, or step off the training pathway for parental leave/OOP your indicative time in training will increase.

Level 3 training and the matching process:

  1. When does matching for level 3 occur?
  • Matching will take place in early Spring for Level 3 training starting in September, or the following March i.e we will match for Sept 2022/March 2023 posts in Spring 2022.
  • We aim to place you for 36 months if you are choosing to CCT in general paediatrics.
  • If you are choosing to apply for GRID please see information below.


  1. I don’t start ST6 until March, when I do I need to submit a matching form?
  • See question 1.
  • You should submit a matching form in the spring of the year before you are due to enter Level 3 training.


  1. How specific do I have to be on the matching form with regard to my desired placements?
  • We will aim to place you to the best of our abilities in the trusts that you have requested, taking into consideration your training needs and availability of posts.
  • If you are undertaking SPIN, we will prioritise your special interest. We therefore may need to place you in posts outside of your preferred hospital choices.
  • Please be aware that Level 3 is a pan-London training programme. You may need to commute in order to gain desired subspecialty training experience.


  1. What are the minimum requirements for level 3 programme for trainees working towards a CCT in general paediatrics?
  • The RCPCH recommends those intending to CCT in general paediatrics should have 6-18 months in the speciality. These placements are usually in a district general hospital.
  • We will aim to place you for a minimum of 12 months in a paediatric department, usually in a DGH, to allow you to develop your broader leadership and management skills in a department similar to one you will work in as a consultant. Typically you will have exposure across the whole department during these placements including general paediatrics, outpatients, neonates and ED/ PAU.
  • Where possible we would aim to place you in one trust for this period.


  1. Do I have to do tertiary Neonates during level 3 training as a trainee working towards a general paediatric CCT?
  • Whilst not mandatory, the vast majority of general paediatric posts in the UK do have an element of neonatal cover.
  • It is therefore important that you gain neonatal experience as a senior trainee.
  • By not undertaking tertiary neonates in Level 3 training, you may be ineligible to apply for consultant posts that have an element of neonatal cover.


  1. What does a typical level 3 programme look like?
  • There is no typical Level 3 training programme, as we recognise that trainees have different interests, and career intentions. However, as you will be achieving CCT in general paediatrics you will need to demonstrate you have achieved Level 3 key capabilities in general paediatrics.
  • You should aim to have 12-18 months DGH paediatric experience during your ST7/8 year and undertake 6 months tertiary neonates. You will also have the opportunity to undertake 12 months subspecialty interest which can support a SPIN interest.
  • If you did not want to undertake SPIN, and wanted well-rounded general paediatrics experience, you may wish to consider a NICU placement, PICU placement with either ED or another specialty post in addition to a general paediatric post.


SPIN applications:

  1. When do I apply for SPIN?
  • The SPIN programme is overseen by RCPCH, not the HEE. Timelines for applications are mandated by the college.
  • As of July 2021, there are two SPIN application windows in Spring and Autumn.
  • The application form for SPIN is on Kaizen, and requires TPD confirmation that you will be placed in appropriate posts for SPIN.
  • If you have already been placed in training posts for Level 3, and subsequently decide to undertake SPIN please do get in touch with the Level 3 programme management TPDs to review your placements.


  1. Can I apply for SPIN and for GRID at the same time?
  • Ideally you should focus on strengthening your GRID application.
  • As of July 2021, there is no clear directive from RCPCH stating that trainees cannot apply for both GRID and SPIN simultaneously.


  1. I want to do cardiology SPIN, how do I encompass this within my training?
  • Currently there is a general paediatric post at Epsom Hospital, which supports the cardiology SPIN, and has established links with the Evelina Cardiology team. Having completed the Epsom post, you would apply for an OOPE/T as a cardiology fellow at the Evelina to complete SPIN competencies.


  1. Can I do more than 1 SPIN during my level 3 training?
  • Due to the length of Level 3 training it not possible to work towards both general paediatric key capabilities, and undertake more than one SPIN.
  • If you wanted to explore a second SPIN we would advise this is undertaken post CCT.

GRID applications:

  1. I am applying for GRID training this year. How does this impact my level 3 matching process?
  • You will only be matched for one year.
  • If you are successful in your GRID application, you will be placed within the GRID training programme.
  • If you are unsuccessful you will need to re-submit another matching for the following year.


  1. I was unsuccessful in my GRID application. Can I undertake grid equivalent training during my level 3 programme?
  • It is not possible to undertake GRID training outside of the GRID training programme as you will be working towards a general paediatric CCT. You will therefore need to demonstrate that you have achieved Level 3 key capabilities in general paediatrics for the GMC to approve your CCT and will be placed to achieve this.


  1. Who calculates my CCT date for kaizen?
  • Your CCT date is formally calculated/re-calculated at ARCP. This takes into account, any LTFT working pattern, and time out of training. The panel will use the RCPCH CCT calculator, and placement proforma to help in their decision.


  1. Can I apply for consultant posts before my CCT?
  • As per the Gold Guide, you are can only interview for consultant posts six months prior to your expected CCT date.
  • Please see the HEE trainee support page for additional information.


  1. My CCT date at my last ARCP is incorrect. What do I need to do?
  • In most cases, your ARCP date will be re-calculated at your next ARCP.
  • If you are applying for START and your CCT date is incorrect, please liaise with your programme management TPD.


  1. I want to bring forward my CCT date, is this possible?
  • Please see the LSP website for further information.
  • We would advise that you discuss this matter with your educational supervisor and your programme management TPD.
  • If you do bring forward your CCT date, you are not eligible for a grace placement.


  1. Is a period of grace automatic?
  • Grace period is 6 calendar months only irrespective of whether you are working fulltime or less than full time. You are not considered to be in training during your grace period but in the post for purposes of service.
  • A period of grace is not automatic and must be requested within the matching window (see above for details on matching).
  • Allocation of grace posts will be considered once all existing trainees have been placed and only if there is availability across the pan-London programme. If you have submitted a matching request and have not received details of a grace placement 16 weeks before rotational dates, you should contact the level 3 programme management TPDs.
  • Please see the HEE support pages for more information about grace posts.

Training queries:

  1. I want to discuss my training. Who do I contact?
  • If you want to discuss your training placements, including OOP/parental leave/LTFT and SPIN please contact your programme management TPDs.
  • If you want to have a discussion regarding future career/general training issues please arrange a trainee contact meeting via the HEE support portal. Meetings are held every month.


  1. I am planning on taking time out of training (eg parental leave, OOP). Who do I contact regarding my placements on my return to the programme?
  • You should inform the Level 3 training programme directors in advance of any planned time out of training, as they will be able to advise regarding future training placements.
  • Your time out of training will affect your future placements and your expected CCT date.


  1. I want to change my % working time. Who do I need to contact?
  • You would need to formally apply for changing to LTFT working, including returning to full-time training, via the HEE trainee support portal. There are specific notice periods, and windows dependent on the category of LTFT. More details can be found on the HEE trainee support page.
  • You should also contact your programme management TPD to review your placements, and re-calculate your length of training.