Independent review of social work education endorses Frontline as a “worthwhile initiative”

13th February 2014

An independent review of social work education for the government has today welcomed Frontline as a “worthwhile initiative.” Sir Martin Narey’s report points to the success Frontline has had in attracting high quality applicants. He also recognises that the curriculum is sensitive to the skills required in preparing people for children’s social work, and highlights the ample time spent in practice before qualifying. 

The report also shares Frontline’s view that social workers should be rigorously selected, taught the knowledge and skills needed to work with complexity and risk, and that the best learning takes place in practice. 
Josh MacAlister, Frontline’s Chief Executive commented: 

“It is welcome news that Sir Martin Narey has endorsed Frontline as a worthwhile initiative. Social work is one of Britain’s toughest and most rewarding jobs and that’s why we have a rigorous approach to selecting and developing new social workers to be leaders who can transform the lives of children and families.”

Frontline attracts and selects candidates who demonstrate a long term commitment to transform the lives of vulnerable children. Frontline is able to attract people into social work, with the aim that the majority stay, by demonstrating that social work is a demanding profession that develops leadership skills and opens career doors. As Sir Martin Narey highlights, Teach First has been successful in attracting those that would not have otherwise considered teaching, with 65% of participants continuing in schools beyond the two-year programme. This is in the context of only 39% of social work graduates going in to practice (Prospects, 2011). 

Frontline was set up as an independent organisation with cross-party support in 2013. The rationale for the launch of Frontline was outlined in a report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research that outlined the challenges facing social work in recruitment, quality of practice and status (IPPR, 2012). In particular, Frontline was influenced by the findings from Eileen Munro’s review of social work practice that outlined the need to improve the knowledge, skills and expertise of those undertaking child protection (Munro, 2011).