This statement was issued by the UK Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors (COPDEND) on 8 April 2022 for those applying for dental ST1 specialty training posts within national recruitment in 2022.

COPDEND has been informed by the General Dental Council (GDC) that the approval process of the Dental Specialty curricula has been delayed. Postgraduate Deans have been working closely with their training faculties to ensure, where relevant, that non-research elements of training are available for specialty trainees, outside a formalised university ‘taught clinical’ programme.    

For applicants to Orthodontic specialty training the Regional Offices of Health Education England, NHS Education for Scotland, National Education Scotland or Health Education and Improvement Wales, will provide a list of available Master’s level courses for 2022 applicants for the posts they have advertised.

COPDEND wishes to advise 2022 appointed specialty trainees that they do not need to enrol on a formalised ‘taught clinical’ university programmes in order to evidence the curriculum; accepting that until the new curricula have been finalised, there will be a requirement for specialty trainees in Orthodontics to satisfy the curriculum by “submission of a research dissertation (for example as part of an MSc, MClinDent, DDS or equivalent), and/or two papers in appropriately peer reviewed journals submitted on work undertaken during the training period”.

Trainees will not be discouraged if they wish to enrol on a formalised master’s course with agreement of their relevant postgraduate dental dean.

General Dental Council

The GDC has now confirmed that it will be unable to confirm approval of the dental specialty curricula within their original timeline. The GDC statement on this can be found at Dental Specialty training.

This has created uncertainty for postgraduate dental deans who commission training, for those involved with the delivery of training (Universities and NHS staff), the Specialty Advisory Committees and the Royal Colleges. This will also affect those applying for ST1 posts, who are due to commence October 2022 and also those already undertaking specialist training.

COPDEND apologise for the delay in providing clarity to the training arrangements from October 2022. Our goal is to provide as much information as is possible and we hope that the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below, which are jointly endorsed by COPDEND and British Orthodontic Society (BOS), are helpful for those with concerns. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on 2022 Orthodontic St1 – 3 Recruitment and Specialist Training

These are jointly endorsed by BOS and COPDEND.

Why has there been a lack of information within the job descriptions/post descriptors about how the research element of the training will be delivered for each post?

COPDEND were awaiting the decision from the GDC on approval of the dental specialty curricula. The hope was that this decision would be known before training programme commencement in September / October 2022. In view of this and not to pre-empt the decision from the GDC, COPDEND felt it was appropriate to include information on university degrees within the ST1 job descriptions. Unfortunately, the GDC has not been able to make this decision within the original timeline.

As a current applicant for a 2022 dental specialty training post, what will this mean for me and the training post(s) that I have accepted?

All ST1 posts offered within Orthodontic national recruitment will allow you to successfully complete your specialty Orthodontic training. Dependent upon the introduction of the new GDC curriculum you may be offered the opportunity to transition to the new curriculum and the assessment of learning outcomes may change. You will be kept informed of these changes throughout your training. COPDEND will also be seeking the views of trainees on transition arrangements for all specialties once the curricula have been agreed.

Will the posts I have accepted deliver all the elements needed for my specialist training?

Yes. Postgraduate Dental Deans and the providers of training are required to provide access to the relevant curriculum requirements of specialty training, which will include research. The Postgraduate Dental Deans will signpost all relevant optional part time research master’s programmes for trainees to consider. You will be able to undertake a part time research master’s programme whilst in training if you wish to.

Will I be expected to enrol as a full-time postgraduate student on a taught master’s/doctorate programme?

No. Some regions have used taught university master’s programmes to deliver specialty-training. The historical expectation was that trainees were required to enrol as a postgraduate university student at the beginning of training and be responsible for the associated fees. With NHS commitments to support widening access and improving diversity and inclusion, the Postgraduate Dental Deans have been working with relevant training providers (Universities and Dental Hospitals) to ensure that newly appointed specialty trainees are not required to enrol on such courses to complete their training. The goal will be that all curriculum elements are available to trainees within commissioned NHS-based programmes. Having accepted a post, it is recommended that trainees contact their Training Programme Director (TPD) to discuss the opportunities to undertake a research masters’ degree.

When will the new curricula come in and what will this mean for me?

We understand that the GDC will provide relevant communications shortly.

What change will this mean to the people that train me?

As mentioned, for the majority of training programmes, there will be little change to training and existing collaborations between universities and the NHS will continue. The only changes will occur in programmes where the bulk of training has historically been delivered within ‘taught’ university programmes. Curriculum requirements will be available for all trainees.

Will this affect the number of available training posts offered via NRO?

No. The delay in implementation of new GDC curricula should not affect the number of posts available with national recruitment. The posts offered need to be vacant, meaning the previous trainee needs to have satisfactorily completed training.  The dental deans will ensure each vacant ST1 post can deliver the specialty curriculum requirements.

Are there any advantages with the delay of implementation of the new GDC curricula?

Yes, it will allow a longer run in time to plan implementation of new curricula in 2023. Additional time also means that trainee portfolios and specialty examinations for some specialties can be updated to meet the needs of the new curricula if necessary. For some specialties, this will allow time for further discussions, development and sharing of generic education material that might allow involvement with other partners e.g., national specialty societies.

Page last reviewed: 21 September 2023
Next review due: 1 September 2024