The Frontline programme begins with the Summer Institute – the first opportunity for participants to meet their whole cohort and start their journey together.

Overview and curriculum


During this intensive five-week residential programme you will be taught the knowledge and skills of good social work by leading academics from social work and related fields. As part of the curriculum you will be introduced to:

  • Key concepts and foundational knowledge in social work. This includes the place of values and ethics in the profession, social justice, human and family development, trauma, and the construction of help and protection.
  • Evidence-based approaches and methods for supporting change in families featuring systemic approaches to social work practice, motivational interviewing and parenting interventions.
  • The importance of reflexivity in the development of practice skills.
  • Skills-based work in which you apply your developing knowledge and techniques using case studies and role plays.
  • Social work as a leadership profession.

Ultimately, you will begin to learn how to bring about change in people’s behaviour. The Summer Institute is an immersive learning experience and the curriculum is delivered in varied and innovative ways. These include traditional lectures, action learning and role plays, as well as interactive sessions with prominent guest speakers, practising social workers and people with experience of care.

After completing the Summer Institute, your practice tutor and consultant social worker will formally assess you to ensure that you are ready to start your practice learning experience in a local authority.


Summer Institute – week by week example


Each week we will introduce you to different themes and topics. An example of what this could look like is below:

Week one: The importance of context and self-awareness in navigating the tensions inherent in social work – balancing the protection and control functions of the state alongside the lived experiences of children and families.

Week two: Social work as a relational and socially constructed profession. An introduction to development across the life span, including the family life cycle, parenting, and the pathways and effects of relational trauma, abuse and neglect on children.

Week three: Making sense of risk, resilience and uncertainty – practice focus on domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Week four: Making connections and talking with families – practice focus on mental health and adults.

Week five: Helping children: integrating skills and practice – practice focus on children, learning disability, neglect and substance misuse.

The teaching at the summer institute was second to none. The fact that so many prominent voices in the social work discourse were visible and present really gave me confidence in the Frontline programme.

Jordan, 2015 Cohort