Foundation Programme (FP) in NCTFS

Recruitment to NCTFS is run by the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO), through the national online Foundation Programme Application System (FPAS).

The 1st stage is to apply for a place in a foundation school. The 2nd stage is to apply for a programme within the school to which you are allocated. Therefore, the 'stage 2' section on this site refers only to the successful applicants allocated to this school.

NCTFS has 2-year programmes located in 8 linked NHS Trusts (4 in the London Deanery area and 4 are in the Eastern Deanery). These extend to Basildon in the East, and Luton and Stevenage in the North. Therefore, an application to this school should not be viewed as an application for solely London posts.

Stage 1 : Applying to NCTFS (all applicants)

The website address for the application process is where you will find comprehensive information on all aspects of the application system. The three main resources published on the UKFPO website are:

  • The Foundation Applicant’s Handbook
  • The national recruitment process (PowerPoint presentation)
  • A podcast for applicants to the Foundation Programme

The Foundation Applicant’s Handbook is the definitive guide to applying to the Foundation Programme. It covers such topics as:

  • The timeline and process
  • Ensuring you are eligible to apply
  • Guidance on references
  • Competition ratios for the past four years by foundation school
  • How applications are scored
  • What happens if there are more applicants than places available

Stage 2 : Applying for a 2-year programme within NCTFS (successful applicants only)

All applicants should note that:

  1. Due to a large number of NHS Trust service reconfigurations, all posts may be subject to change (sometimes at short notice) in relation to placement order, specialty, length and site. All F1 and F2 posts are subject to confirmation at any time during your Foundation Programme.
  2. As placements may be subject to change, trainees receive a further confirmation of their F2 placements during F1 year (usually in February)
  3. Foundation training is not in any way training for Specialty. Trainees will work in a mixture of surgical and medical placements giving them general training they need in order to achieve Foundation competencies.

Please click on a relevant link below to get more information about:

2-year programmes in NCTFS

Please keep in mind that all programmes may be subject to change at any time.

  • For entry in August 2014, NCTFS has 315 standard 2-year programmes available.
  • A list of our 2-year programmes is published here during the stage 2 of the application process. The programmes can also be viewed on the UKFPO application site during the entire application period.
  • Foundation Post Description section provides detailed information about particular placements/specialties.
  • Linked hospitals section provides information about each of nine hospitals/trusts linked to NCTFS
Scores and quartiles

Candidates are informed of their overall score, by UKFPO, when they are allocated to a foundation school. For posts starting in August 2014, anyone applying to this school and scoring 82.54 or above was successful in gaining a place.

The range of scores (for successful applicants to NCTFS starting in August 2014), is shown below. This may help in deciding how many programmes to choose when competing in the programme allocation process (do not confuse this with your medical school quartile or decile ranking):

0 - 83.36 fourth quartile
83.37 - 84.36 third quartile
84.37 - 86.90 second quartile
86.91 - 100 first quartile

The score awarded at the time of application for foundation school, will be used again in the process of application for programmes. Therefore, the lower your score, the less likely you are to obtain your first choice or a programme in a more popular specialty or hospital (as a general guide, the further from central London a hospital is, the less popular it tends to be).

Ranking the programmes

You may choose as many programmes as you wish. Our advice is to rank as many programmes as possible, especially if you are in the third or fourth quartile and should rank them all. You will probably find it useful to order your chosen programmes before you enter the choices into the system. There is no minimum number of programmes, but you should bear in mind that if you are not successfully allocated to one of your choices, you will be randomly allocated to an unfilled place.

Allocation to programmes

All trainees will be put in score order. Each trainee, from the highest scorer first, will be allocated to their first choice of programme which is still available. This means that if your final score appears in the third or fourth quartiles, it is more important to put a substantial number of programmes down to avoid the possibility of being left unmatched and then being randomly allocated to one of the remaining posts.

Once allocated, applicants may not exchange posts with one another, nor may an applicant change to another post in the event of a vacancy occurring.

Applicants will be expected to accept their allocated programmes, even if these are in locations for which the applicant has expressed no preference.

Special circumstances and linked applications

Applicants who are allocated to NCTFS by way of special circumstances status should be aware that it does not guarantee a specific programme or hospital/trust. Please see the NCTFS special circumstances allocation policy here.

Applicants who are allocated to NCTFS by way of linked application should be aware that our school does not offer the option of linking applications for programmes.  Therefore, pairs of applicants who wish to be in the same area must give careful consideration to their programme preferences.

The deadline

The deadline to submit your preferences for specific foundation programmes in March 2015 for an August 2015 start will be announced nearer the time. No late applications are accepted as once the national system shuts it cannot be re-opened. If you fail to submit your application by the deadline you will be randomly allocated to an unfilled programme.

It can take a long time to rank the programmes. Please keep in mind that the longer you leave it, the longer it will take as the system may get slower towards the deadline.

FAQ and important information

Please refer to our FAQ section on this website. It contains important information that you may need before you are due to start your F1 job. If information you require is not there, you will need to contact your employing NHS trust directly (either HR or Postgraduate Medical Education [PGME] centre). You may do that after you know to which trust you are allocated.