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Leading academic to head Frontline Academy

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Frontline has today announced that Donald Forrester will become Lead Professor for the new Frontline Academy. Based at the Tilda Golberg Centre, Bedfordshire University, Professor Forrester will head a group of world-renowned academics including experts at Institute of Family Therapy and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London to develop a ground-breaking approach to children’s social work.

The Frontline Academy will take an entirely new approach to educating social workers to equip candidates with the skills to bring about change with families. The demanding course will include teaching of sophisticated interventions that will be developed in the workplace with extensive coaching, supervision and academic input.
The Academy course will be based around three clear principles:

  • Candidates must have the skills to bring about change in complex and high risk situations
  • The course will develop practice leadership so that participants can set out a vision for families and convince agencies to act with purpose
  • The need to make sure all participants are practice ready upon qualification

Frontline has undertaken extensive consultation with children, young people, social work academics, experts, practitioners, professional bodies, and local authorities to redesign the way social workers are prepared for one of Britain’s toughest jobs.

By the end of year 1, participants will have undertaken 210 days ‘on-the-job’ training – more than in any other route into social work – and 50 full taught days of study. The programme will include three additional contrasting placements in relevant settings of a week or two weeks each. Participants will work in teams of four and benefit from the full-time supervision of a Consultant Social Worker – an advanced and experienced social worker trained by Frontline.

Frontline will continue consultation with stakeholders to ensure that the programme meets the Health and Care Professions Council’s standards and will pursue endorsement from The College of Social Work.

Josh MacAlister, Frontline Chief Executive, said:
“Today’s announcement signals a big change in the way social workers are prepared for one of Britain’s toughest jobs. The Frontline Academy will deliver a demanding curriculum that has been built from scratch. Under the leadership of Professor Forrester and world renowned experts we will be able to develop outstanding individuals to be leaders in social work and broader society.”

Professor Donald Forrester, Head of the Frontline Academy, said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that Frontline and the Tilda Goldberg Centre, University of Bedfordshire have joined forces to create the Frontline Academy.  Our aim is to make a difference in the lives of children and families with some of the most serious problems in our society. To do that, Frontline will provide outstanding training for social workers to allow them to be the difference that makes a difference.”

Frontline’s programme

Frontline’s programme will last two years and be structured as:

  • An intensive five-week residential summer institute;
  • The first 12 months as intensive on-the-job training and education with full time supervision from an experienced social worker;
  • At the end of the first year participants will be qualified to practice and then undertake a second year as a newly qualified social worker.

Frontline’s Leadership Development Programme will run through the two years. Frontline’s pilot will run in Greater Manchester and Greater London and begin in summer 2014.

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