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
5 December 2019

Introduction to SPIN

There are two types of SPIN currently offered by the 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.

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

The SPIN modules

You can do SPIN modules in these clinical areas.

Each SPIN has a framework of competency for SPIN or a SPIN module curriculum, which lists the competencies you need to achieve to complete the SPIN training. You can download these below.

About the SPIN training and application

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). The only current exception is for community child health sub-specialty trainees who may do safeguarding SPIN.

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.

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 trainees in level 3, 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 for submitting application below).

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 use partial retrospective evidence from the three years before your application to count towards part of your SPIN training. You must be undertaking part of your SPIN module prospectively as well. 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.

All retrospective experience must to be approved by the CSAC (College Specialty Advisory Committee). There is no guarantee that the retrospective experience will be approved and this is at the discretion of the CSAC.

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. Post completion paediatricians can request access by emailin us at training.services@rcpch.ac.uk.

You can apply at any time. However, we ask our committees to approve applications at certain dates, as shown below.

Expected start point of SPIN Application window
August /  September May
February / March November

We follow the application process outlined in the below flowchart:

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 (Training Programme Director) 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 and PET EEG; 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 SPIN, we in 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.

This process is outlined below. (Although it states trainees, it's the same process for all SPIN module doctors.)

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. As applications are assessed in May and November, these 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.

Downloads