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Year one bursary

During your first year on the programme, you will receive a bursary to contribute to your living and travel costs. Participants based outside of London will receive a total bursary of £18,000. Participants based in London will receive a total bursary of £20,000.

The bursary is not subject to income tax or National Insurance contributions. This means your bursary is roughly the same as the take home pay of someone earning a salary of £20,600 outside London or £23,500 if you’re in London.

Before applying, please make sure you are able to cover your costs of living during year one, using the bursary and any personal funds you have.

Bursary by location

The bursary is paid in 13 monthly instalments, on the first working day of each month, starting in August 2024. You’ll receive your final payment in August 2025.

After successfully passing year one of the programme, you will move into employment during years two and three. We don’t provide a bursary in years two and three of the Frontline programme. Instead you will get paid a newly qualified social worker salary.

Usually, the first payment from your employer will arrive between 15–30 September 2025 (local authority depending). You will need to prepare for this longer than usual gap between payments.

Council tax

You will usually have to pay council tax if you’re 18 or over and own or rent a home. As a full-time student during year one of the Frontline programme, you will be eligible for council tax exemption or discount, depending on household details. Please visit the government’s website to find out who has to pay council tax.

Once fully registered as students of Lancaster University, you can get confirmation of registration and student status via Lancaster University’s student portal to prove you are eligible for a council tax exemption or discount.

Student benefits and financial support

In your first year, you are considered a full-time student of Lancaster University. This means you can get a student railcard, student discounts, Microsoft Office Pro Plus and access to SCONUL study spaces, books and resources.

If you are experiencing financial hardship during year one of the programme, you can apply to two of Lancaster University’s funding support schemes: Lancaster’s Opportunity and Access Fund (LOAF) and its emergency loan. This support is intended for those who experience significant and unexpected changes to their finances during their studies. As Frontline programme participants receive a bursary and do not pay tuition fees, it is less likely that you will be eligible.

Please ensure that prior to applying for extra financial support, you read the supporting terms and conditions for each option.

Bursary advance and grant scheme

We recognise that some individuals may find it difficult to complete the readiness for practice stage which begins the programme without additional financial assistance. The Frontline bursary advance and grant scheme supports participants to cover expenses during this period.

As a charity, we have very limited funds available for this scheme and we can therefore only offer grants to a very limited number of participants, at our discretion.

If you apply for a bursary advance, please consider the impact of receiving reduced payments for the rest of the year.

We will share details about the bursary advance and grant scheme with successful applicants before starting the programme.

Disabled Students’ Allowance

Disabled students can access government funding via the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). You can apply for this through Student Finance England in year one. DSA may cover any extra study-related costs you incurred because of an impairment, mental health condition or learning difficulty. It is not a loan or a benefit so you don’t have to repay it. The amount received depends on your needs, rather than income. Typical examples of what you can use DSA for include software, hardware, or human non-medical support or helpers.

Currently, you can only receive DSA during the first year of the programme due to Student Finance England’s eligibility criteria.

For further information on how you can apply for DSA and its eligibility requirements, please refer to the government’s DSA guidance.

Effect on other benefits

Please be aware that the bursary may affect other benefits you are entitled to. For example, most participants no longer receive universal credit once they have a bursary or are eligible for 30 hours free childcare.

Years two and three salary

In years two and three of the Frontline programme, you will be an employee of your local authority and receive a newly qualified social worker’s salary.

Your salary is set by your local authority and will be the same as other social workers in your local authority completing their assessed and supported year in employment. As a result, there is a variation in salaries across the local authorities where we place participants. Outside of London you will earn a salary of up to £34,000 from year two. London local authorities may offer higher salaries.

Access to Work

During years two and three of the programme, participants with a disability or health condition may be eligible for funding through the government’s Access to Work scheme. Access to Work supports individuals in employment to get the help they need at work where it is not covered through their employer’s reasonable adjustments. Detailed information on submitting an Access to Work application will be provided to you when relevant.

No academic fees

Through the Frontline programme, you will become a fully qualified social worker, register with Social Work England and receive a master’s degree with Lancaster University in Advanced Relationship Based Social Work Practice with Children and Families.

Frontline fully covers the costs of these qualifications, so you don’t pay anything. Tuition fees for social work master’s degrees typically cost £9,000 a year.


In year one, you receive 25 days of holiday, which you can take throughout the year. In years two and three, your annual leave is based on your local authority’s policies. Holiday and leave should avoid overlapping with skills days.

Flexible working

The Frontline programme requires you to work in-office. However, all our local authority partners offer flexible working opportunities. Your employer will consider your personal, religious and cultural needs, and try to make sure that work can fit around personal commitments.

For further information

Our policies

Please review our bursary and finance policy for more detailed information.

Our FAQs

For answers to common questions about the Frontline programme, head to our FAQ page.

Contact us

If you cannot find the answer to your query, please get in touch with the team.