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Secretary of State announces funding for 400 Firstline Leaders

Firstline to train over 400 social work managers over the next three years

Today, Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education announced that the government have confirmed their support for the charity Frontline, to expand Firstline – their programme for first line managers – nationally. The Firstline programme develops social work managers into outstanding leaders, with first line managers playing a critical role in enabling social workers to provide the best support for the most vulnerable children and families in the country. 

Support from the Department for Education’s Innovation programme ensures that by 2019, over 400 social work managers will complete the programme with the necessary leadership skills to drive great social work practice. Social work managers are vitally important – the quality of leadership they provide makes all the difference to social workers working directly with children and families. 

The expansion of Firstline will progress Frontline’s mission to address social disadvantage through leadership in social work. We are delighted to be in a position to offer Firstline more widely across the country and we welcome approaches from interested authorities.

37 Firstline Leaders took part in the Firstline prototype, which received overwhelmingly positive feedback:

•    ‘This programme has changed my life (professionally and personally). It has changed the way I think’ – Firstline Leader
•    ‘The energy and enthusiasm that participants have been infected with is already having an impact on them, the service and is a credit to the programme … they are all actively and consciously practicing changing the way they manage themselves, others and thinking hard about influencing the system’ – Head of Service

Mary Jackson, Leadership Development Director, Frontline: 
It has been such a privilege to work with such a skilled group of social work managers, who are so willing and hungry to grow and develop their leadership skill! It is fantastic to hear all the different ways they are bringing their learning to life in their local authorities. We are delighted to have the opportunity to scale the programme up and continue to work closely with this influential group.

Karen Simmons, Assistant Director, Children’s Social Care, Newcastle City Council:
The Firstline programme has really made a difference to the way social work managers practice in Newcastle. We recognise the importance of leadership in the system and the difference a great leader can make on frontline social work practice. We’re committed to supporting those most in need and developing our people makes a difference to the lives of children and families across the city.

Read more about the Secretary of State’s announcement here.