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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 updated curriculum on the COPDEND website.


DFT Application process 2022

Due to COVID-19 and ongoing restrictions, COPDEND has decided to make further changes to the Dental Foundation Training (DFT) national recruitment ranking process, for this year, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The ranking of eligible applicants will be based on a Situational Judgment Test score and a Virtual Interview (communication). The SJTs will account for 75%, while the Virtual Communication Interview Station will contribute to the final 25% of the total ranking.


For those preparing for DFT recruitment, COPDEND has published an SJT test paper to review and practise cases. There's more information along with guidance on the virtual interview and SJTs on the COPDEND DFT recruitment website. The scenarios to be used for the Communication Interview Station will be published on Oriel prior to the virtual interview.


Key Dates:


  • Applications open: Thursday 12 August 2021
  • Applications close: Thursday 9 September 2021
  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT): Monday 8 November – Tuesday 16 November 2021
  • Virtual comms interview: TBC, likely November-December 2021
  • Preferencing of Schemes: TBC, May 2022
  • Initial Offers: TBC, likely June 2022
  • Final Offers: TBC. July 2022

For more information on the DFT recruitment application process, please view the DFT Recruitment Webinar 15 June 2021 that has been provided by HEE.


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 Getting Your 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 £2.58 per month) join online or give our membership team a call on 020 7563 4550.