Severn School of Paediatrics Out Of Programme Guidance

The school encourages and wishes to facilitate requests from trainees who wish to take time out of programme (OOP) when this will clearly benefit their training. This information gives you specific guidance and explains our process of considering requests.

If you are considering a period out of programme, please discuss this with your training programme director as early as possible, even if your plans are very provisional.

Further detailed information on each type of OOP can be found in sections 6.75 to 6.96 of the Gold Guide (A Reference Guide for Postgraduate Specialty Training in the UK, 5th edition, May 2014) available here.

Guidance from the RCPCH is available here.


There are 4 types of OOP:

  • Out Of Programme Experience (OOPE)

Time out of programme for clinical experience which is not approved by the GMC; this time will not count towards CCT.

  • Out Of Programme Training (OOPT)

Time out of programme for clinical training in a post that has been prospectively approved for the GMC; this time will count towards CCT.

  • Out Of Programme Research (OOPR)

Time out of programme for research; some of this time may or may not count towards CCT, but this needs to be prospectively approved.

  • Out Of Programme Career (OOPC)

Time out of programme for a career break; this time will not count towards CCT.


Consideration of an OOP request is a local process, initially through the School, with the Postgraduate Dean being ultimately responsible for approving OOP. We hope that this guidance is helpful for you if you are considering an OOP request and will explain what our school policy is when considering applications.

  1. Please discuss any proposed period OOP early with your supervisor and your TPD, even if your plans are very provisional. We suggest that discussions should take place at least8-­‐12 months before the start of any proposed period OOP, and definitely before you formally submit your request.
  2. OOP will not normally be granted within the first year or last year of a training programme.
  3. Applicants should be demonstrating satisfactory progress through their training (including having achieved a satisfactory outcome at their last ARCP).
  4. We would not normally recommend a period of OOP until MRCPCH is completed.
  5. You should ideally plan any OOP in line with the usual changeover days for posts within the region (i.e. the first Wednesday in March and September).
  6. The OOP application form is available to download or print from the Severn PGME website. You should seek the approval and signature of your current educational supervisor and then submit your application to your TPD. You should submit with your application a formal letter, addressed to the Dean, stating the nature of the experience that you are requesting, and how this will benefit your training and development. It should give clear dates for when you wish to start and finish your OOP.
  7. You should submit your application no later than 6 months before your proposed time out of programme. Later applications will be disadvantaged and are more likely to be refused. Applications will be reviewed by a panel comprising both programme directors and the head of school, with a decision made to either support or decline your application. Requests will be assessed on whether they fit the criteria within this guidance, the expected benefit to your training and personal development, the timing of your application, and how any OOP would impact on vacancies within the programme. If your application is refused, then the reasons for doing so will be explained. Supported applications will be forwarded to Severn Post Graduate Medical Education for consideration of formal approval.
  8. A maximum of 3 years out of training will normally be allowed. Periods of OOPE and OOPT are usually significantly shorter, e.g. 12 months. Applications from trainees requesting a second, different period of OOP may be refused so as to allow applications from other trainees for a first period of OOP.
  9. For OOPT, the RCPCH must also support the application. You must seek approval from the Regional Lead; if he/she supports your application, they need to write a letter of support that contains your GMC number, the nature of your OOP, and the exact requested dates for OOP. For OOPR applications in which you are requesting some of the research time to count towards CCT, you need to seek approval from the Academic Regional Advisor. For sub-specialty trainees, you must also discuss your plans with your CSAC chair, as they will need to be aware of your request for OOP and may need to give approval as to whether time can count towards your CCT. Your supporting information may need to be submitted after your initial application to your TPD, so approval from the Regional Advisor, CSAC and GMC can be sought once you have made your initial application. Further advice on the process required for GMC approval can be sought from Severn PGME
  10. Out of programme career breaks can sometimes be granted at very short notice for compassionate reasons for trainees in particular circumstances; please discuss your situation with your supervisor, tutor, TPD or the head of school.
  11. You may need to consider the impact of any OOP on your pension contributions; we suggest that you discuss this with HR and payroll in your current employer and/or the NHS Pensions Agency.
  12. While on OOP, you will need to complete an annual review document. If you are on OOPR you will need an annual report from your supervisor and have an ARCP (this may be a paper ARCP). If you are on OOPT we would normally expect you to continue with your usual requirement for work place based assessments and you would have an ARCP. If you are on OOPE, then you will need to submit a report of your progress but we would not normally require you to do work place based assessments. While on OOP you must continue to communicate with your TPD and the school so as to plan your return to the programme.