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Welcome to the portal!

Congratulations on securing an offer for Approach Social Work (formerly known as the Frontline programme)! This page will serve as a central location for resources to assist you in navigating through our pre-programme checks. In the run up to the programme, this is the space where we will continue adding the resources and tools you need to prepare for your journey into social work, so watch this space.

Our mission

Frontline is England’s largest social work charity. Everything we do aims to make life better for children who need a social worker, to help keep them safe from harm and to give them every possible chance to fulfil their potential. We do this through developing excellent social work practice, leadership and innovation.

The Approach Social Work bulletin

The Approach Social Work bulletin is the regular update from Frontline – with important information about your pre-employment checks, local authority placement and the summer institute.

It is imperative that you read each edition as this will contain important information and actions that you won’t be able to start the programme without completing.

Previous bulletins

Applicant webinar series

In the run up to the programme starting in July, we’re running a fortnightly webinar series to help you get prepared. Over the series we’ll be joined by guests including Frontline fellows that have done the programme, teaching staff who’ll give their expert tips, and local authority managers who’ll give insight into what your placement will be like. You can find here recordings of all sessions that have taken place, and the sign up link for the next slot.

Webinar links

Information guides

We’ll link here any information or guidance that you’ll need to navigate our pre-programmes checks so that you can access information in one central place.

Readiness for Practice stage guide

Lancaster University registration guidance

Shadowing sign off form

Year 1 participant hardship fund guidance

Bursary and finance information

Reference guidance

Additional FAQs

When we have extra FAQs from webinar sessions, we’ll add in answers to popular questions here so that you can get the insight you need.

Q: How many teams do you work within in your first year before qualification?

A: In the first year of the programme, you’ll stay with the same team for the whole year and the majority of our placements are in long-term safeguarding teams. In the second and third year, you’ll move into a newly qualified social worker role, and the exact team you’ll be in will depend on where your local authority has roles available. Most of our partners will try to take into account your preferences and interest when assigning you to posts, but most of our participants stay in long term teams. In larger local authorities, you may also move offices in the second and third years, depending on where you’re based and where they most need social workers.

Q: Is it common to face negative attitudes towards social work from families/others in general?

A: It’s no secret that social work isn’t always presented in the most positive light and you will sometimes have to think about and address this in your work with families. Often families can be nervous or fearful about the involvement of social workers or be unsure of why we are involved and what our intentions are. Often, having a thoughtful and careful conversation about the families’ previous experiences with social workers or their worries about having social workers involved can resolve some of the families’ worries and begin to address any negative ideas they have about social workers. Being clear about our role and what might happen in the future in our work with a family also ensures that families really understand why we’re in their lives and makes sure that we have a shared understanding of the work that we need to do together.

When you start your social work journey, you will be joined by your CSW on all of your early visits to families and they will be able to model these kinds of conversations then slowly support you to take the lead in having them yourself. Ultimately, whenever we meet a family, we have an opportunity to practice in a way that undermines negative stereotypes of social workers by treating families with care, dignity and respect.

– Natasha, Practice Tutor

Q: Is the role all office based or do you work from home around visits and meetings?

A: Local authorities have varied working from home policies, so it will depend on where your placement is. In year one you’re a student on placement at the local authority and still learning the role, so you’ll need to be office based so that you have a rich learning environment surrounded by experienced social workers, and so that the local authority can ensure you’re practicing in a safe manner. In years two and three some of our local authority partners allow flexibility in working from home, depending on the operational requirements of the service and the organisational policies. This is a great question to ask your local authority on your shadowing days!

Q: What happens if you feel unsafe during a home visit? What precautions can social workers take to prevent being in those situations?

A: Firstly, in your placement, you will never been sent out to a family on your own straight away. Your initial home visits will be done jointly your CSW or with an experienced social worker. Through observing and receiving this support, your confidence in home visits will build and you’ll learn more about how to navigate situations. However, there are rare occasions where you may feel unsafe. Your CSW and team should have a system to ensure people know where you are and that you are able to check-in after home visits. It may be called ‘the lone worker’ policy. Within this, there should be guidance for if you feel unsafe on a home visit.

In my experience, I’ve thought about where I sit in a room, maybe close to an exit door. Or I’ve said to the family “I just need to step outside to call my manager”. Or within the home visit, you can call a manager or colleague and ask them a coded question like “can you check if I left my paperwork in the purple folder”. Most teams have a coded question like this that will alert people to you feeling unsafe/in danger. Despite all of this, I must stress that these are not frequent occurrences and I would say trust in the relational skills you will develop on the programme as the main tool for navigating difficult situations.

– Eugene, Practice Tutor

Suitability checks
Conduct disclosures