UK Foundation Programme – Key Changes
A summary of the changes made to the application process for the 2024 Foundation Programme, Specialised Foundation Programme and the Foundation Priority Programme.
Allocation process – Preference Informed Allocation (PIA)
A change in the way that the UK Foundation Programme allocation process is managed for 2024 has been agreed by the four UK statutory education bodies. The new “Preference Informed Allocation” process will see the introduction of a new allocation model for medical graduates in which applicants will be given a computer-generated rank and will no longer be required to sit the Situational Judgement Test (SJT). The Educational Performance Measure score will also no longer be used.
Up until FP2023 applicants would be ranked based on a combination of their Educational Performance Measure score and a Situational Judgement Test score, with the highest-ranking applicants being allocated their preferred foundation school first.
Preference informed allocation is designed to give as many applicants their first-choice preference as possible.
The allocation algorithm on Oriel will work through the list of applicants in computer-generated rank order.
Removal of the Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
Due to the introduction of the Preference Informed Allocation process and a computer-generated rank, the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is no longer required for application to the Foundation Programme and has been removed from the FP2024 application process. (The SJT will continue to be used in the F2 Stand-alone recruitment process).
Removal of the Educational Performance Measure (EPM) and medical school decile
The Educational Performance Measure and decile score will no longer be used. Previously, applicants received a total FP application score and for FP2023 this consisted of two component parts of equal weighting (maximum of 100 points): the Educational Performance Measure (maximum of 50 points) and the Situational Judgement Test (maximum of 50 points).
As described above, the new allocation process and algorithm will not use a total score. Applicants will instead be given a computer-generated rank. The following changes have been made due to the removal of the EPM/decile score from the application and allocation process:
- The Dean’s Statement template which is used in the eligibility application process has been updated. The section of the form which previously requested the cohort/decile information from the medical school Dean has been removed.
- Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP) selection processes will no longer use decile scores in the selection process (longlisting and shortlisting). Local Foundation School and Specialised Units of Application are making changes to their local selection and scoring criteria for the 2024 application process.
- The Foundation Priority Programme (FPP) will also now use a computer-generated rank instead of a rank based on the total FP score (decile + SJT). The FPP offers process will otherwise remain unchanged and offers will be made based on computer-generated rank and preferences for FPP.
- The spreadsheet template that is sent to UK medical schools for final year student nomination data will no longer include a request for decile information.
Oriel application system development
Changes have been made to the national application forms and allocation algorithm on Oriel to support the introduction of Preference Informed Allocation and related changes.
Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP) White Spaced Questions (WSQs)
The white space questions for the Specialised Foundation Programme have been streamlined, reducing the maximum number of questions from ten to five.
The EPM decile score will no longer be used in any part of the SFP recruitment process. Specialised Units of Application (SUoAs) and Foundation Schools will remove the use of the decile score in local selection processes.
Main application window dates
The main application window for submission of applications to FP, SFP and FPP has been moved later into September. The application window is 20 September – 4 October 2023. (For FP2023 it was 7– 20 September 2022 and for FP2022 it was 8 – 21 September 2021).
National Appeals – removal of stage 1 appeal process
Appeals against national elements of the application process are managed by the UKFPO and previously consisted of two stages.
Stage 1: Applicants are given the opportunity to correct mistakes and/or provide additional information/evidence which they omitted as part of their original application.
Stage 2: Applicants may appeal the outcome of their application on the basis that due process has not been followed. Applicants may appeal in relation to the how the process has been followed regardless of whether they amended or submitted new information during the first stage of this appeals process.
The following elements of the national application process previously used both the stage 1 and stage 2 appeal processes: Eligibility applications and Pre-allocation applications.
The following elements of the national application process used only the stage 2 appeal process: Reasonable adjustment requests for the Situational Judgement Test, outcomes of the Clinical Assessment and Inter-Foundation School Transfer applications.
The stage 1 appeal process has been completely removed and it will no longer be possible for applicants to submit additional or missing evidence or correct any errors they may have made in their original application. This change affects the eligibility application process and the pre-allocation application process. Guidance for the FP2024 application process has been updated accordingly.
Specialised Foundation Programme selection processes are managed locally by Foundation Schools/Specialised Units of Application and therefore the appeal processes are also managed locally (following a national timeline). A separate national complaints procedure exists for F2 Stand-alone recruitment. These processes for SFP and F2 Stand-alone recruitment remain unchanged for 2024.
PLAB booking process – priority list for the GMC
As part of the national Eligibility application process, the UKFPO works closely with the GMC to ensure that UKFP applicants who have not had the opportunity to book or take PLAB 1 or PLAB 2 exams before the UKFPO’s deadlines are able to do so by provision of priority seats by the GMC.
For FP2024 onwards the UKFPO will no longer send a list of applicants who we believe require a PLAB sitting to the GMC. This was previously known as the “priority list”.
Applicants are now solely responsible for contacting the GMC directly to book a priority sitting. Applicants have been informed of this change in the eligibility application guidance.
Introduction of a central IFST application review panel
Applications for Inter-Foundation School Transfers (IFST) have previously been reviewed and the process managed by local Foundation School teams. The Foundation School to which the applicant has been allocated is responsible for organising a review panel in accordance with the national timeline and policy.
The IFST review panels and process will now be managed and coordinated centrally by the UKFPO to ensure consistency in approach, panel decision making and outcomes for applicants.
Pre-allocation application process – removal of NHS bursary in WP criteria
The Pre-allocation application criteria for Widening Participation (WP) has been updated to clarify that financial support does not include the NHS Bursary.
Applicant guidance moved to web format
In line with our organisational website and accessibility guidelines, applicant guidance is gradually being moved out of Word and PDF documents and directly onto the website pages. This is an ongoing and large piece of work.
For FP2024 the eligibility guidance has been moved onto website pages. The main applicant guides and information for FP, SFP and FPP will be moved over gradually. Some information will remain in PDFs for the 2024 application process.