Our founder

Josh MacAlister founded Frontline in 2013

Josh’s story

A former secondary school teacher and an alumnus of Teach First, Josh MacAlister taught in schools across Greater Manchester where he first developed the ideas that would lead him to set up our charity. Josh worked with many children who had social workers involved at home. He realised how important it was for children to have a safe and stable home life, and the impact this had on their education. Josh believed that he could have a bigger influence outside of the classroom.

“The creation of Frontline was an opportunity to do things differently.” – Josh MacAlister

Turning an idea into reality

Since launching Frontline in 2013, hundreds of new professionals have joined the social work profession and developed their leadership skills. Amongst many achievements, Josh’s vision, determination and drive are what has grown Frontline to the national charity it is today, with supporters across the country. In 2018, he was awarded Charity Chief Executive of the year at the Third Sector Awards.

By 2025, we will have a community of over 4,000 Frontline fellows based across the country. They will continue the work that Josh started – working together to develop practice, input into policy, and build their own innovations with a goal to bring about change for children and families.

On stepping down as chief executive in 2021, Josh continues to contribute to social change and radically improve the support that hundreds of thousands of children and families receive who have a social worker.

“Starting and growing Frontline has been deeply rewarding. To have an idea, gather backers and then spend years making it become a reality has been a highlight of my life. I want to thank all those who believed in and supported me along the way, and of course the aspiring social workers who enrolled on the Frontline programme, and social work managers who have benefitted from the Firstline programme so far. Collectively, these professionals have worked with tens of thousands of children and families across England, and I am proud of the growing impact they are having in creating social change.” – Josh MacAlister