COPDEND Dental Foundation Training Policy Statement


1 This policy statement has been agreed by COPDEND and aims to provide clarity about its current position, aims and aspirations for dental foundation training in the UK

Definition of Dental Foundation Training

2 A period of training following initial qualification that builds on the achievements of the dental undergraduate curriculum.  The General Dental Council (GDC)publish learning outcomes for each of the professions that it registers contained in the document “Preparing for Practice” that aims “to produce a caring competent reflective practitioner able to develop their career in any branch of dentistry to the benefit of patients” (A Curriculum for UK Dental Foundation Programme Training) and to demonstrate a level of competence appropriate for independent practice.

Length of Dental Foundation Training

3 The curriculum describes outcomes in terms of achieved competences, knowledge, skills and attitudes. There is a complex relationship between outcomes, performance and experience which is time dependent.

4 Dental Foundation Training should be undertaken within two years full time, normally completed within the first three years following graduation.

Primary Aim of Dental Foundation Training

5 To enable acquisition and demonstration of dental foundation training competences, the evidence of which could, in the future, contribute to that required for a first validation with the GDC following initial registration.

Relationship with Dental Specialty Training

6 Completion of a dental foundation training programme may not be the sole entry requirement to dental specialty training programmes, but is likely to be an essential element.

How the curriculum can be delivered

7 There must be a minimum of one year full time, or part-time equivalent, spent in primary care, providing NHS general dental services, to allow completion of statutory Foundation Training. This may take place within a two year period as part of an integrated dental foundation programme, which may include rotations to primary and secondary care settings which would also cover the competencies of Dental Core Training year 1.

The curriculum and areas of dentistry in which training might be delivered

8 As part of Deanery approval processes, individual Dental Foundation Training posts/ placements should be considered as part of a comprehensive programme and hence demonstrate which foundation competences they can support.

9 Even though some posts may offer training opportunities out with these defined competences, they should ensure that basic Dental Foundation Training competences are obtained.

10 Patient safety is paramount and in order to comply with clinical governance requirements, trainees should not undertake procedures without direct supervision for which they have not previously been trained and should not be expected at any time to work beyond their level of competence.

11 It is likely that exposure to a variety of different clinical and other environments will maximise opportunities to cover the full range of competences.

12 It is essential that a broad coverage of competences is obtained, rather than in-depth exposure to a particular specialty area.

13 Dental Foundation Training programmes should be designed to deliver all the major competences, but these may be delivered flexibly in different ways in alternative settings

Expectations of Clinical and Educational Activity

14 Throughout the programme there should be a structured, educationally valid, full time programme of appropriate dental activity that addresses the major competences in the Dental Foundation Training curriculum and meets individual identified learning needs.

15 Foundation Trainees should also complete specific educational activities as required by the Deanery (e.g. clinical audits, clinical case presentations, research and audit projects).

16 During the Dental Foundation year, the trainee must attend 30 study days arranged by the Deanery that provide an educational programme addressing the major curriculum areas.

17 In foundation training in primary care (which will either be carried out entirely in the first year of the programme or part time across two years, also covering DCT 1), the foundation dentist is expected to consolidate practical experience gained at dental school and to both improve on and broaden the scope of that experience.

Appendix 1 gives details of requirements

Quality management and approval of programmes and posts

18 This is a Deanery responsibility, working within published national guidelines and with appropriate external advice and input.

Quality Assurance of Dental Foundation Training

19 It is anticipated that a new national body (Dental Foundation Training Advisory Committee) of the Joint Committee for Postgraduate Training in Dentistry (JCPTD) will oversee the development of and agree quality assurance mechanisms for dental foundation training. It is expected that PMETB quality assurance standards will be adopted and applied by Postgraduate Dental Deaneries.

20 In due course, and subject to agreement about validation and revalidation processes for dentists, it would seem logical that parallel and integrated QA systems are introduced for dental foundation and specialty training.

Completion of Foundation Training

21 Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors have responsibility for certifying completion of foundation training/vocational training within the current regulatory frameworks.

22 COPDEND would wish to move towards a system of satisfactory completion of Dental Foundation Training, as is already the case in Scotland for Dental Vocational Training by introducing a formal robust assessment framework comprising a series of formative assessments which combine to deliver a summative assessment at the end of the foundation training period.

Supervision arrangements

Scheme Adviser/Foundation Programme Director

23 Each Foundation Scheme/Programme should have an appointed Adviser/Programme Director who is responsible for managing the scheme/programme, commissioning educational courses, supporting Educational and Clinical Supervisors, arranging rotations, recruitment and selection of trainers and trainees and faculty development.

Educational Supervisor

24 Each Foundation Dentist should be assigned a nominated Educational Supervisor who is responsible for overseeing the educational progress of the trainee, agreeing a learning plan, undertaking tutorials, appraisals, 3 monthly progress reviews, carrying out workplace based assessments, providing regular feedback on progress to the trainee, advising the Deanery about progress and providing evidence and recommendation for completion of training.

25 S/he should require the trainee to regularly complete the Dental Foundation Training Portfolio and use the educational tools provided to support the trainee.

Clinical Supervisor

26 The trainee will also have a number of clinical supervisors throughout the period of foundation training. They will be responsible for day to day clinical supervision, facilitating and carrying out assessments, supporting the trainee, ensuring appropriate workload, liaising with Educational Supervisor and Scheme Adviser/Programme Director, providing progress reports.

Combined Educational/Clinical Supervision

27 In general practice/primary care, the Clinical and Educational Supervisor roles are often combined (e.g. as a Foundation/Vocational Trainer) and may also be carried out by two trainers as a joint responsibility.

Educational Portfolios and Personal Development Plans

28 Each foundation dentist must complete an approved learning and development portfolio to provide evidence of educational and training activity and submit this to the Deanery for approval as part of the sign off process. This is in the electronic format of an e-portfolio.


29 Assessments are defined in the curriculum, the Blue Guide and recorded in the electronic portfolio.

Relationship between Dental Foundation Training and MFDS/MJDF Examinations

30 The end point of the Dental Foundation Programme is achieved by demonstrating the competencies as stated in the “Primary Aim” above over the prescribed time period. It does not require the passing of any academic examination or achievement of any external qualification as its end point.

Completion of Dental Foundation training will include providing a portfolio which may assist trainees to prepare for general professional dental examinations and provide a portfolio suitable for trainees to present as part of the requirements for the MFDS examination.

Appendix 1 – Weekly Core Requirements for Dental Foundation Training Clinical and Education Sessions

DF1 (General Dental Practice Placement – minimum one year full time or equivalent)
8 hands-on personal treatment sessions per week, when attending study days (30 days per year) Time should be allowed for tutorials, Workplace Based Assessments and attachments/observerships
10 hands-on personal treatment sessions per week, when not attending study days Time should be allowed for tutorials, Workplace Based Assessments and attachments/observerships


Appendix 2 – Abbreviations used in Dental Foundation Training

Dental Foundation Training terms are often abbreviated and there are a number of alternatives abbreviations in use:

It is proposed that the following be adopted:-

Term Abbreviation
Dental Foundation Training DFT
Foundation Dentist FD
First Year Foundation Dentist DF1
Dental Core Training DCT 1