Special Interest (SPIN) module application guidance

As an ST4 paediatric trainee or above or post completion paediatrician, you may wish to apply for a SPIN module. This comprises additional training and experience in a clinical area. We have recently updated some of our SPIN modules, and have new SPIN modules in child mental health, audiovestibular medicine and oncology.

Applications for SPIN are open for May and will close on 31 May 2024 at 17:00.
Last modified
15 May 2024

About SPIN

All SPIN modules are designed to enable a paediatrician to lead in that area as part of meeting a service need. It is vitally important that you articulate the service need for your choice of SPIN on your application form.

Once an individual completes a SPIN, they can be the local lead and part of the clinical network providing for children who need specialist paediatric care.

The SPIN process is currently under review.

As of November 2023, there is a SPIN mid-point review form on RCPCH ePortfolio. Use this form to monitor progress on your SPIN with your SPIN supervisor or CSAC lead.

Types of SPIN

These are the types of SPIN offered by RCPCH:

  • Progress training pathway: SPIN in training for Level 3 trainees - This is additional training and experience in a clinical area, which you complete in 12 to 18 months of clinical time. If you do a SPIN module and complete your training, you can apply for posts as a General Paediatrician with a special expertise. (This will phase out soon as Progress trainees complete training)
  • Progress+ training pathway: SPIN in training for Specialty level trainees - This is additional training and experience in a clinical area, which you complete in 12 to 18 months of clinical time. If you do a SPIN module and complete your training, you can apply for posts as a General Paediatrician with a special expertise.
  • Post completion SPIN for paediatricians on the GMC specialist register - This is additional training or experience, which you complete usually over a 12-month to five-year period.

Pilot for specialty level paediatricians in child mental health, audiovestibular medicine and palliative medicine

We are piloting a third type of SPIN, which is for doctors in paediatrics who are not in training positions nor consultant-level appointments. Applicants for these pilot SPIN modules will need to use RCPCH ePortfolio as a Doctor in Paediatrics. You can add ePortfolio to your membership subscription - email the Member Services team on membership@rcpch.ac.uk and ask for training to be added to your subscription.

To demonstrate parity with the SPIN modules undertaken by trainees, you will need to evidence outcomes from these domains of the level 3 generic training curriculum, which you can see on our curriculum page:

Your sign-off for these modules will be through review by the CSAC (College Specialty Advisory Committee) most connected to the specialty area of your SPIN. If you have any queries about this pilot, email us on training.services@rcpch.ac.uk

List of SPIN modules

Most SPIN modules have a framework of capability for SPIN or a SPIN module curriculum, which lists the requirements you need to demonstrate to complete the SPIN training. You can download these below.

You can do SPIN modules in the following clinical areas:

  • Adolescent health (formerly Young people's health)
  • Allergy - when submitting your application, you must also include: confirmation of supervision/mentor at the regional allergy centre; and, timetable (albeit draft) of the clinical week - please also see guide below
  • Audiovestibular medicine
  • Cardiology - email training.services@rcpch.ac.uk before you apply so we can assign the appropriate role for you
  • Child mental health (under review - not available for May 2024 round)
  • Dermatology
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy - see specific guidance below
  • Gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition
  • High dependency care (HDC)
  • Infectious diseases
  • Neonatal medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Neurodisability (under review - not available for May 2024 round)
  • Oncology
  • Palliative care
  • Respiratory
  • Rheumatology
  • Sleep medicine

As the SPIN modules are replaced with curricula more in line with training learning outcomes, we may ask you to move to a more recent version of the SPIN training.

As part of our SPIN review we have taken the decision to withdraw the safeguarding SPIN. You can contact training.services@rcpch.ac.uk if you would like further information about our decision. Please be assured anyone who is already undertaking the SPIN will be able to complete it, it will just not be open to new applications. Please refer to our Child Protection Portal for further resources on safeguarding.

Applying for SPIN and about the training

Applications typically open twice a year:

  • November - to start in February / March of the following year
  • May - to start in August / September of the same year

Applications for SPIN are open for May and will close on 31 May 2024 at 17:00..

When can I apply?

Under Progress+, we accept applications from ST4 trainees.

You cannot usually undertake SPIN training at the same time as sub-specialty training (also called GRID). There are some exceptions to this rule and we will update this page as we develop our SPIN work. If you have an enquiry about SPIN eligibility for you, contact us on training.services@rcpch.ac.uk.

When can I apply as a post-completion paediatrician?

You can apply for a post-completion SPIN at any time, as long as you have completed training or been entered on the GMC Specialist Register. There is an additional charge on top your RCPCH membership of £125 per year for using the training services of RCPCH to support your post-completion SPIN.

As the SPIN modules are built on assumed knowledge and capability acquisition of the UK curriculum, we do not currently offer SPIN modules to other doctors.

How long does the SPIN training take?

The indicative training time is about 12-18 months full-time, though this is purely indicative based on usual training placements and rotations.

For post-completion paediatricians the time ranges from 12 months to 5 years, depending on existing working arrangements (see Step 1 - submit your application).

Are the modules GMC accredited?

No, modules are not recognised by the General Medical Council. However, we adhere to GMC curricula principles in new SPINs revised with learning outcomes and key capabilities.

Trainees in general paediatrics will enter the GMC specialist register with paediatrics when signed off for training by local ARCP panels and RCPCH officer for training and quality.

How do I get a SPIN placement during my training?

Contact your Head of School and Training Programme Director to request a placement. Find yours on our Regions listing.

How do I get a SPIN placement as a post-completion paediatrician or in the pilot phase for specialty level paediatrician?

You will need support from a Trust figure who has the authority to approve job plans, such as a medical director or clinical director. This signatory is required so you can demonstrate your suitability and that your faculty are prepared to provide your training and enable you to acquire the experience.

Retrospective experience

  • Trainees - You can request to count small amounts of retrospective evidence from your level 3 or Specialty training completed prior to your SPIN application. You must be undertaking the majority of your SPIN module prospectively and we cannot consider fully retrospective applications.
  • Post-completion paediatricians - If you are using retrospective evidence you must ensure that you describe what SPIN requirements you have already met and how you will maintain these while completing your SPIN. You will need to detail what requirements you have outstanding and how you will achieve these. Indicatively, retrospective evidence older than five years is unlikely to be considered current enough for a SPIN module and should be commensurate with level 3 Progress Curriculum capabilities.
  • Specialty level paediatrician - the same rules apply as for post-completion requirements. The SPIN modules are also created to account for areas of the level 3 generic curriculum that must also be demonstrated for SPIN certification.

There is no guarantee that your retrospective experience will be approved and this is at the discretion of the CSAC/ SPIN lead and will be evaluated when you come to complete your SPIN. If you are unsure, please contact us at training.services@rcpch.ac.uk

Step 1 - Submit your application

All candidates complete the application form on RCPCH ePortfolio. (We do not accept forms by email or post). Without an application on RCPCH ePortfolio, we will not be able credit your SPIN officially.

Trainees should already be able to access the form on their ePortfolio only during the application periods.

Cardiology SPIN applicants - please advise us by emailing training.services@rcpch.ac.uk as you have a different form to complete because Paediatric Cardiology is not a specialty overseen by the RCPCH.

Post completion paediatricians or Specialty level paediatricians can request access to ePortfolio by emailing us on training.services@rcpch.ac.uk.

Trainees - We will ask for commitment from your TPD that they will ensure you will get the necessary SPIN placements before the end of level 3/Specialty training to meet the SPIN requirements. If you wish to apply for paediatric consultant posts with a special interest, we recommend you complete your SPIN training about six months before you complete training.

Post-completion paediatricians and Specialty level paediatricians - As part of your application you will need to identify where you will get the training and experience to meet the SPIN requirements.

Epilepsy applications - Specify on your application that you:

  • have support from paediatric neurology Deanery Advisor to ensure that the training proposed will provide the necessary experience to achieve the competencies and that they will have access to paediatric neurology supervision
  • there is no mandatory course requirement for completing the Epilepsy in SPIN and only the capabilities/ descriptors in the framework are mandatory. The distance learning module 6 by BPNA is optional, as are PET2 and PET3.
  • the RCPCH SPIN in Epilepsy can be completed without courses.

Step 2 - Evidence your SPIN

Trainees - When the CSAC has approved you to start your SPIN, we in the RCPCH will add the SPIN curriculum to your ePortfolio. You then need to upload and link evidence on ePortfolio to demonstrate you are meeting the appropriate requirements for their module.

Post-completion paediatricians - When you have been approved to start your SPIN module, we will add the SPIN to your ePortfolio. The cost for this is £125/year pro rata which will be added to your RCPCH membership.

All - Your SPIN supervisor should then monitor your capability acquisition through ePortfolio and regular one-to-one meetings. Your SPIN Supervisor(s) must either be a General Paediatrician with an interest in the area relevant to your SPIN or a sub-specialist consultant in that area. For anyone applying for the Cardiology SPIN, this must be a Paediatric Cardiologist.

How long will my evidence be valid for?

Evidence can be collected over a period of five years until the point at which your completed SPIN is submitted for the CSAC to sign off. During this period, three years can be retrospective from the date on which you start your SPIN, ie, when your application has been approved by the CSAC and ePortfolio access is granted. You must undertake at least 12 months of your SPIN module prospectively.

Diabetes only

Retrospective experience is not accepted to count towards post completion SPIN modules in diabetes and applications must be prospective.

Step 3 – Complete your SPIN

Once you complete your SPIN module and link your evidence via your ePortfolio, you will be able to complete the SPIN completion report and send to your SPIN supervisor.

You only have 12 months from the end of your SPIN completion to be eligible to receive a certificate for SPIN completion (in line with rules on CCT certification).

If you are completing your SPIN post-CCT, and have exceeded the 5 year limit which we expect most SPINs to take to completion, please conduct a mid-point review with your supervisor to help you target your efforts and attain all capabilities. Please inform training.services@rcpch.ac.uk if this applies to you.

Completion process

Trainee/ SPIN doctor > SPIN supervisor > RCPCH > CSAC/ SPIN lead > If approved, Certificate awarded.

Once the CSAC / SPIN lead is satisfied with the evidence provided, we will be able to confirm your SPIN module is completed. You will then be issued with a SPIN Module Certificate.

How long will it take for my evidence to be reviewed?

There can be delays in reviewing SPIN completion applications due to high applicant numbers and CSAC availability. We would advise that May and November are the most available times for CSACs to review evidence and sign off on completions.

Competency frameworks and Progress aligned SPINs

The competency frameworks apply to SPIN modules that are being revised and serve as an indicator of requirements.

The new SPIN modules are all aligned to the RCPCH Progress curriculum style of learning outcomes and key capabilities.