Dental Foundation Training (DFT) follows a nationally agreed curriculum. A specific portfolio is used throughout the year which aligns to this curriculum.

Important: Accuracy

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained on this page. The information presented is accurate at the time of publication.

Since September 2016, a formal process has been used by NHS England to sign off Foundation Dentists as having demonstrated the necessary competences and prescribed elements to work independently in NHS general dental practice. This process is called Review of Competence Progression, also known as ‘satisfactory completion’, of DFT.

It includes a series of practice-based assessments, prescribed activities and panel reviews of each Foundation Dentist throughout the year. This includes a decision near the end of the training year as to whether the necessary competencies have been demonstrated or whether further training is necessary. This process is regularly reviewed by the Dental Foundation Training Advisory Group and COPDEND.

Only candidates signed off at the end of the year as having satisfactorily completed DFT will be eligible to have their conditional inclusion in the NHS Performers List (or equivalent) changed to an unconditional inclusion.

There are approximately 65 geographical schemes across 11 regions located in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These schemes are all for September 2024 start dates. Please note that the number of schemes has not yet been finalised at the time of the publication of this guide.

Non-urgent advice: Applicants in Scotland

Recruitment to all DFT Schemes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is managed by London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex Recruitment.

Please note that there is a separate recruitment process for Vocational Training (VT) places in Scotland.

Attendance of 2023/24 Dental Foundation study days

If your application is successful, you will be expected to participate in all study day courses and equivalent prescribed virtual or on-line activities, as set out in the published 2023/24 programme.

Attendance at all of the Dental Foundation study days is mandatory for all Foundation Dentists. The study days will run consistently from 1 September to 17 December 2024. You must be available to attend all commissioned study days provided during this time and therefore should not plan annual or other leave during this training period.

Consent of absence will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, subject to the agreement of the Training Programme Director, Associate Dean for Dental Foundation Training and the Postgraduate Dental Dean, following a written request at least 6 weeks in advance.

Any study days missed will be expected to be made up with suitable equivalent training/education (approved by the relevant Dean/Associate Dean for Dental Foundation Training) in your own time and, where necessary, at your own cost.


If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the Applicant Support Portal.

You are required to read and fully understand the Oriel Applicant User Guide. In submitting an application form, applicants confirm that they have read and understood the application process.

You will be unable to change your application once it has been submitted.

If you have any questions please ensure you email the Applicant Support Portal team prior to submitting your application.

Page last reviewed: 9 August 2023
Next review due: 9 August 2024