At the end of the first phase of this year’s recruitment process, 85% of applicants have been offered places on dental foundation training schemes in England, Northern Ireland and Wales that start in 2013.
Plans were agreed by a steering group comprising postgraduate dental deans and associate deans, together with representatives from the UK Dental Schools Council and British Dental Association and members of the London Deanery recruitment team.
The London Deanery managed the process.
There were 1,172 applications made online. 1,153 eligible candidates, including 109 from European Dental Schools and 17 from other dental schools worldwide, were invited to one of six selection centres in November 2012.
Of these, 1,138 applicants attended for assessments that were carried out by experienced foundation trainers and training programme directors, who had undergone standardised training and calibration.
Each applicant was asked to state a preference order for each of the 78 training schemes and offers of a place were made on the basis of ranked scores achieved and stated preferences.
Those who scored highest were offered a place on the scheme they most preferred. All 953 currently available places were allocated within a week of offers being made. 48% of applicants secured their first choice, 68% were offered a place on one of their top three schemes and 86% on one of their top 10 schemes. The 968 highest ranked individuals have been offered places. Deaneries will be allocating those successful applicants who have accepted offers to individual training practices over the next few months.
Further training places are expected to become available later in the year and 161 candidates on a reserve list will be notified about these after 2013 BDS final examinations are concluded. Future offers of a place will be made on the same meritocratic basis as in this first round, using ranked scores and applicant preferences. Dental Foundation training places are fully funded by the NHS and the final number of places available for 2013/14 has not yet been confirmed.
A follow up independent quality assurance of the entire process will be carried out to ensure the process is both transparent and fair. COPDEND and the London Deanery are also undertaking a thorough evaluation, including statistical analysis of the data from the selection centres.
Helen Falcon, chair of COPDEND said: 'I would like to congratulate all those who have been offered a training place for 2013 in the first round and to thank all the interviewers, assessors, administrators and the London Deanery recruitment team for working so hard to ensure a fair process.
'I do understand that the uncertainty may be unsettling for those who are still waiting to hear about whether a training place will be offered to them later in the year and would like to wish all applicants success in their forthcoming final examinations.'