Special Interest (SPIN) module application guidance

As a Level 3 paediatric trainee or post completion paediatrician, you may wish to apply for a SPIN module. This comprises additional training and experience in a clinical area, and is available within training or after completing training.
Last modified
31 March 2021

Applications open from 30 April to 31 May 2021

The next application window for a SPIN module opens on Friday, 30 April 2021, to start SPIN training in August / September 2021. All applications must be with your Training Programme Director in the RCPCH ePortfolio by Friday 31 May 2021.

If you are thinking of starting a SPIN module, speak with your local Training Programme Director (TPD) first.

Please remember approval to undertake a SPIN from your local area will only count for SPIN accreditation once countersigned by the CSAC / SPIN lead for that area.

For more guidance on applying for a SPIN module, see step 1 below or visit RCPCH ePortfolio.

Introduction to SPIN

There are two types of SPIN offered by RCPCH:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 explaining why it is necessary on your application form.

Once completed, applicants can be the local lead and part of the clinical network providing for children who need specialist paediatric care.

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:

  • Allergy - see specific guidance below
  • Cardiology
  • Child mental health (a new SPIN module as of November 2020)
  • Dermatology
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy - see specific guidance below
  • Gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition (a new SPIN is available; the previous curriculum is closed to new applicants as of 1 July 2020 and any trainees on this version with to complete by 31 December 2020)
  • High dependency care (HDC) - see specific guidance below
  • Infectious diseases
  • Neonatology
  • Nephrology
  • Neurodisability
  • Oncology
  • Palliative care (in build phase for RCPCH ePortfolio)
  • Respiratory
  • Rheumatology
  • Safeguarding
  • Young people's health

About the SPIN training and application

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

When can I apply as a level 3 trainee?

You can apply once you start your level 3 training in paediatrics (normally from your ST6 placement).

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 during an application window, as long as you have completed training or been entered onto the GMC Specialist Register. There is an additional charge on top your RCPCH membership of £10 per month 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 training take?

For Level 3 trainees 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.

Trainees in level 3 general paediatrics will enter the GMC specialist register with paediatrics.

How do I get a SPIN placement during my level 3 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?

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 

  • Level 3 trainees -  You can request to count small amounts of retrospective evidence from your level 3 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.

There is no guarantee that your retrospective experience will be approved and this is at the discretion of the CSAC/ SPIN lead.

Step 1 - Submit your application

All candidates complete the application form on RCPCH ePortfolio. (As of 1 December 2019, we are no longer accepting paper or MS Word forms by email or post).

Level 3 trainees should already be able to access the form on your ePortfolio.

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

We are reviewing the application process with our SPIN leads and CSAC members. 

Please continue to apply via your TPD in the first instance to arrange SPIN rotations where you have an interest.

Level 3 trainees - Ensure you record all your placements for SPIN training once you know them. If your initial placement is six months, we need to know you have commitment from your TPD to undertake further SPIN placements before the end of level 3 training before you complete training. 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 - As part of your application you will need to identify where you will get the training and experience to meet the SPIN requirements.

Allergy applications

When submitting your application, you must also include:

  • confirmation of supervision / mentor at the regional allergy centre
  • a timetable (albeit draft) of the clinical week.

Epilepsy applications

You need additional approval from the local Paediatric Neurology Deanery Advisor (see list). This can be presented in an email to us at training.services@rcpch.ac.uk.

Specify on your application that you:

  • are registered for BPNA Distance Learning - Module 6
  • 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 neurology supervision
  • understand that at the end of your training you will need to have completed: the case log; PET2, PET3; some audit and research in epilepsy.

High dependency care applications

Version 2 of the HDC SPIN was published on 8 April 2019. This new SPIN aligns with the RCPCH Progress curriculum and includes updated assessment and placement guidance. From 1 August 2019, all new applicants must use the new (version 2) curriculum and applications will be considered in line with the requirements for that curriculum.

Any clinicians currently undertaking the older SPIN curriculum must complete and submit their portfolio by 31 December 2020. No further submissions against the old curriculum will be accepted after this date.

Step 2 - Evidence your SPIN

Level 3 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 £10 per month 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 onto your SPIN supervisor.

Please note you will 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).

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

You can download our spin competency frameworks below. These help you identify the SPIN requirements for SPIN completion and will be available in your ePortfolio when your SPIN is added.