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Dental Foundation Training

Dental Foundation Training (DFT) is the NHS training scheme for graduates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Foundation Dentists (FDs) spend a year in approved practices, working on standard contracts whilst undertaking training. Dental Foundation Training can provide new graduates with a broad overview of career choices and a good understanding of the NHS system.


DFT introduces new graduates to general practice and gives them a protected environment to work in for a year. Each foundation training practice has a trainer dentist, officially known as an 'educational supervisor’ (ES). In some practices, two dentists may share the ES role. The ES provides the FD with supervision and help whenever it is needed, as well as meeting with the FD for regular tutorials. The ES takes responsibility for the acts and omissions of the FD in NHS terms, but the FD, as a registered dentist, will be liable for their conduct and for patient wellbeing.


The dental foundation training programme is based on a centralised document, the DFT Curriculum. The latest version was published in 2015 and is now the basis for training and for future initiatives linked to DFT. View the curriculum on the COPDEND website.


DFT Application process 2024

Situational Judgement Tests (SJT) will be used for the national recruitment process and account for 100% of the overall assessment score. Advert, application form, person specification and applicant guide will be available on the Oriel website from 12:00 on 8 August 2023 until 09:00 on 5 September 2023.  

Key dates of recruitment:

  • Application opens: Tuesday 8 August 2023
  • Application closes: Tuesday 5 September 2023
  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT) Wednesday 8 November – Wednesday 16 November 2023
  • Preferencing of schemes TBC May 2024
  • Initial offers TBC June 2024 
  • Final offers (upgrade deadline) TBC July 2024
For more information on the application process, please visit 2023 DFT NRO National Recruitment Webinar.  Applicant Support Portal Query Form can be found on PGMDE Support Portal

Situational Judgement Test (SJT):

To successfully apply for Dental Foundation training, we have prepared an SJT mock exam course, available exclusively to final year dental student members.


The course consists of 50 cases which have been designed to practise a broad range of scenarios. Delegates will be able to compare their results with recommended answers. The mock exam follows the COPDEND format, with all scenarios and recommended responses having been reviewed and examined by young professionals and experienced dentists.


The course is hosted on our CPD hub and can be taken as many times as you wish. The login is the same as your BDA student member login. Your email address is your username. If you haven't activated it, please set it up.



Your BDA membership

The SJT course is exclusively available to our final year student members along with our First Job guide, written specifically to help with the next step on your dental career path.


If you would like to become a BDA student member (only £2.67 per month) join online or give our membership team a call on 020 7563 4550.