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Student Committee


Paul Blaylock's blog on the National Recruitment Process following the release of the BDA's DFT survey is available below.

  • COPDEND have announced that the Dental Foundation Training start date has moved to September for 2014 and the Core Training start date will move to September for 2015. The full press release is available on the COPDEND website.

  • The BDA's Student Debt survey has been sent out to eligible final year dental students. Details of the survey can be found on research pages of the BDA's website. The survey will run until 13 May 2013.

  • A report of the focus groups on student debt which took place at the Committee meeting in October 2012 is also published today. 

  • Read Paul Blaylock's blog following the Student Committee meeting.

National Recruitment for DFT - How should it look?

As most students will now be aware, National Recruitment is critical to securing your ideal Dental Foundation Training placement in England, Wales and Northern Ireland at the start of your career. The BDA has surveyed our members who have recently undertaken National Recruitment and the results have been published.

If you are still at Dental School, now is your chance to feed into the process to refine National Recruitment through the Students Committee and your local representatives. Let them know what changes you would like to see before our next Committee meeting in September when we will be discussing this further.

Here are a few issues from the survey for you to consider:

A lot of students felt that examiner calibration was lacking, despite the online training which took place, with some examiners described as friendly and others as unhelpful. How much verbal and non-verbal feedback do you want from the examiners during the interview? Some students also felt that there was a lack of guidance for examiners on the correct answers to the scenarios. Do you think there should be a strict mark scheme with no room for interpretation?

Another common concern was that candidates did not enjoy being interviewed by clinicians who teach or supervise them at dental school and found it unfair. I interviewed several such students in National Recruitment last year and experienced a range of reactions. How would you feel if you were interviewed by your regular tutor from dental school, and would you prefer it not to happen?

A significant number of respondents wanted achievements from dental school to be considered in the process. Development of a reproducible Educational Performance Measure to incorporate this would not be easy, as discussed at the previous Students Committee meeting, but would you like the BDA to encourage further work in this area?

Over half of participants felt that they were not given enough information to enable them to decide which schemes to apply for on the application form. What information is most important to you when making this decision?

Significant differences were highlighted in local processes around the UK for the allocation to practices. Would you prefer all areas to do it in the same way, and should this include an event where you meet the trainers and are able to express a choice of practice?

Successful applicants are currently notified just after Christmas, but a significant number of respondents would prefer to know before Christmas as happened in the first year of National Recruitment. When would you prefer to know? There was also a suggestion that some or all of National Recruitment should be moved to after finals to ensure only successful graduates take part, but would this reduce or increase stress around the time of finals?

I look forward to discussing all of this at the next Students Committee.

Good luck to everyone who will be taking part in National Recruitment this year, and make sure you take advantage of all the support available as part of BDA membership, including the highly valued lectures and Final Year Guide which explain the system and give example scenarios.

Dr Paul Blaylock

Chair, BDA Student Committee

Committee Meeting 13 April 2013

The Committee met on 13 April with Paul Blaylock from the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee in the Chair.

The Committee received a short presentation on the new membership structure of the BDA and how it will affect student members, details of which can be found on the BDA’s website.

Developments in Dental Foundation Training were discussed and the Committee heard that the Education Performance Measure was unlikely to be introduced in the near future but was being considered carefully as the Committee had requested in their submission to the Dental School’s Council’s consultation. The Committee agreed that research should be done to find out if it was possible for successful DFT applicants to swap places.

The suggestion that the DFT salary could be reduced to medical levels was rejected as unfair to dental graduates who have fewer opportunities to boost their income during training. The lack of a guaranteed place for every graduate of a UK dental school continues to be a concern. A petition has been set up by former Chair of the Student Committee Martin Nimmo which will run until October, it can be accessed on the Parliamentary website.

The General Dental Council’s decision to introduce Direct Access was felt to be rushed and based on insufficient evidence of the impact on patient safety. The GDC’s considerations on a pre-registration year were not supported and the Committee’s views will be relayed to the BDA’s Education Ethics and the Dental Team working group which is leading on the issue.

The next meeting will be in September


The student debt focus group report, part of the BDA’s research on student debt is available to download from the bottom of the page 

Student futures, outlining the core concerns of the Student Committee is available to download

The latest news from the BDA is available from the latest news page

Information for students can be found on the student pages of the BDA website

Funding for electives is available from the British Medical and Dental Students' Trust. Information and advice about how to apply is available on the BDA's website

The Committee

Every UK dental school can send two student representatives to the BDA Student Committee meeting. This is normally a 'junior' and 'senior' rep. Each student that attends the meetings represents two organisations: the BDA Student Committee and the British Dental Student Association (BDSA). Whilst both organisations are completely seperate, they work very closely together. Lobbying government and other political activity is done by the BDA Students' Committee. Whilst the BDSA look after the social aspects of student life.

If you are interested in representing your school, please either speak to your school BDA Representative (formally known as 'BDSA rep') or contact Laura Thompson 020 7563 6872.

The Chair of the Committee is Paul Blaylock

Vice-Chair is Sarah Franks

If you have any issues that you would like the Committee to consider, e-mail or contact Martin Skipper on 

The BDA - your trade union



Student Futures (841.13 KB)