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. We have updated some of our SPIN modules, and have new SPIN modules in both child mental health and audiovestibular medicine.

Applications for modules starting in Feb/ Mar 2022 are now open until Friday 3 December 2021.
Last modified
11 November 2021

About SPIN

There are two main 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.

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

We are now piloting a third type of SPIN for doctors in paediatrics who are not in training positions or consultant level appointments (these modules are also available to trainees in level 3 and post-CCT level).

Each applicant for these pilot SPIN modules will need to be using the RCPCH ePortfolio as a Doctor in Paediatrics - this change must be made with your membership subscription via our Member Services team, email membership@rcpch.ac.uk and ask for training to be added to your subscription, which is £10 per month WTE.

When completing your SPIN module, there are elements from the level 3 generic curriculum that must also be evidenced to demonstrate parity with SPIN modules undertaken by trainees. Your sign off for these modules will be through review by the CSAC most connected to that specialty area.

If you have any queries on how this will work, please email 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
  • Audiovestibular medicine
  • Cardiology - email training.services@rcpch.ac.uk before you apply so we can assign the appropriate role for you
  • Child mental health
  • Dermatology
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy - see specific guidance below
  • Gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition
  • High dependency care (HDC) 
  • Infectious diseases
  • Neonatology
  • Nephrology
  • Neurodisability
  • Oncology
  • Palliative care 
  • Respiratory
  • Rheumatology
  • Safeguarding

About the SPIN training and application

Applications are currently closed. They 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, as long as you have completed training or been entered on to 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 but we adhere to GMC curricula principles in new SPINs revised with learning outcomes and key capabilities.

Trainees in level 3 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 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 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 

  • 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.
  • 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 the RCPCH ePortfolio, we will not be able credit your SPIN officially.

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

Cardiology SPIN applicants - please advise us by email

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

Level 3 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 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

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.

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).

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.