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​BDA win on proposed changes to DFT recruitment timings

20 December 2017

The BDA is pleased to hear that COPDEND has decided to retain the current Dental Foundation Training national recruitment timings, following lobbying from the BDA and other stakeholders.

In February 2017, COPDEND announced a consultation on moving the assessment date for DFT, to after BDS results had been received. 

Working with the BDA's Student Committee and in partnership with the British Dental Students Association (BDSA), we fought hard to retain the current DFT assessment timeline. We contacted members and students and encouraged them to respond directly to the consultation, as well as share their views with us. 

COPDEND have now announced that the assessments will now continue to be held in November each year, for placements the following year. However, the allocation release dates of places will be moving from January to June, after the final BDS exams, from 2019.

In our detailed consultation response, we argued that moving the assessment to after finals would put unnecessary pressure on students.


We supported the BDSA's online petition, which gained over 1,500 signatures. We thank students and dentists for taking the time to respond, which helped us to put the case forward for a more sensible timetable.  

However, we are dismayed that the decision has been taken to move the allocation release date, especially as this option was not included in COPDENDs original consultation. 

This decision won't affect the current final year students, but will be implemented in 2019, so will affect current fourth years.

Many students outlined their concerns about having suitable time to prepare before their DFT year. They were also concerned about the issue of every individual who wants a place, being able to secure one, an issue that has been ongoing and that we have been campagining on.   

COPDEND has said the new assessment timetable will be 'fairer', but we believe the Government should ensure an appropriate number of places are funded, so that all UK graduates who wish to undertake DFT, can do so. 
We have concerns about what happens to those who don't secure a place. As the allocation of places will now happen after finals, dental schools may no longer be able to support students through the process. 

Opportunity for graduates to be able to make arrangements for bridging the time until the next round of applications may now also be limited.

We have also made the point that is its unclear from this announcement how new graduates can apply to the March schemes – there has been no official announcement about any changes to these schemes, but the COPDEND statement does not include them, which suggests that they may no longer exist. We have asked COPDEND for clarity on this. 


Tell us what you think

We are keen to hear you views on this decision, if you'd like to make comments, or raise concerns, please get in touch.


Support during your final year at dental school

Keep an eye out for the BDA's final year lecture at your dental school, and also the Getting your first job guide, plus a one-day DFT intensive workshop in London.

We have a range of resources and advice for students and young dentists starting out in their careers.

BDA members can download our Into Practice app, which has information and tips for newly-qualified dentists on getting ahead in your career.