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Withdrawn Leader will be removed from the programme. This will include losing access to residentials, online workshops, coaching, the learning platform, and all other elements of the programme.  

Deferred Leader will pause their place on their current programme and return to a future cohort. Leaders should be aware that there are no guarantees on the date or availability of future cohorts. 

Section 1: Overview  

1.1 Self-directed study modules and online workshops 

1.1.1 Frontline and the Department for Education (DfE) want to maximise the impact from each funded place on the programme. As a result, Frontline expects leaders to attend and engage fully with all aspects of the Pathways programme. This policy therefore applies to all leaders across Pathways programme 1 – 4 who have signed their Pathways Cohort Acceptance Form which is sent out via email to leaders to obtain confirmation of their acceptance of a place on the programme. 

1.1.2 The Pathways programme is a government funded programme with a significant financial investment in each leader’s place. There is also a high demand for places on the programme and the expectation is that leaders who have accepted their place will fully engage with all programme activity. Absences can negatively impact a leader’s ability to engage with all elements of the programme and to develop effective social work leadership practice. Frontline monitors leader attendance and engagement for the programme’s duration, so that staff can support and provide early intervention to leaders who may be experiencing difficulties. 

1.1.3 Frontline recognises there may be exceptional circumstances which mean that a leader is unable to attend or complete required elements of the programme. Leaders should use the ‘Contact Us’ button on the Frontline website to raise any concerns or issues. Each occurrence will be considered on a case-by-case basis and the most appropriate approach set out in Section 2 of this policy will be followed.  

1.1.4 In order to complete the Pathways programme, the following minimum attendance requirement must be met:  

1.1.5 For all other elements, a minimum attendance/completion of 80% of each area of programme activity should be achieved to complete the programme as set out in the table below. These areas are: 

Table 1: minimum attendance/completion

1:1 leadership development coaching  
Self-directed study modules and online workshops Deliberate practice or peer led practice sessions Shadowing experiences or experiential visits  
Pathway 1 Minimum attendance at 2 sessions Minimum completion of 3 modules or workshops N/A N/A 
Pathway 2 Minimum attendance at 3 sessions Minimum completion of 7 modules or workshops Minimum attendance at 2 sessions N/A 
Pathway 3 Minimum attendance at 7 sessions (including coaching triads) Minimum completion of 8 modules or workshops Minimum attendance at 2 sessions Attendance compulsory* 
Pathway 4 Minimum attendance at 5 sessions Minimum completion of 8 modules or workshops Minimum attendance at 2 sessions Minimum attendance at one shadowing experience/visit* 
*Unless reasonable exceptional circumstances provided

1.2 Responsibilities

1.2.1 This policy is owned by the Pathways Principal Programme Lead, who is responsible for its implementation.  

1.2.2 Frontline is responsible for:  

1.2.3 Leaders are responsible for:  

Section 2: Procedure  

2.1 Reporting absences 

2.1.1 Absences for residentials and workshops should be reported to the Pathways team via the ‘Contact Us’ button on the Frontline website and should be ahead of the date of delivery where practicable.  

2.1.2 Reasonable cause for absence includes but is not limited to: 

2.1.3 Absences for coaching sessions should be reported to the leader’s coach directly at least one working day prior to the booked session. Should a session be cancelled within one working day, this will be treated as a spent session and will impact a leader’s attendance record. If a coach is absent or cancels a coaching session, this will not impact a leader’s attendance record and should be reported to the Coaching Team via The session will be rescheduled at the next available opportunity.  

2.1.4 If a line manager doesn’t attend a coaching triad for Pathway 3, the session should proceed as a 1:1 and the triad rearranged for the next session where possible. 

2.1.5 If a leader’s intended absence is determined to be without reasonable cause Frontline will contact the leader to discuss the expectations of programme engagement and agree actions for support in relation to the absence. 

2.2 Attendance tracking 

2.2.1 For in-person residentials, Frontline will ask leaders to register their attendance via a QR code that will be provided on the first day and signposted to them. It is the responsibility of the leader to make sure they log their attendance for in-person residentials.  

2.2.2 For coaching sessions and coaching triads (Pathway 3), Frontline will track attendance via Calendly. 

2.2.3 For online workshops and self-study modules, Frontline will ask leaders to register their attendance via a QR code or attendance link that will be provided during the workshop or within the self-study module.  

2.2.4 For deliberate practice and peer-led practice sessions, Frontline will ask leaders to register their attendance via a QR code or attendance link that will be provided in the deliberate practice or peer-led practice session page of the online learning platform.  

2.2.5 For experiential visits and shadowing experiences (Pathways 3 and 4), leaders will sign up to attend a particular visit; Frontline will collect and record attendance. Local authorities and other partners will be leading these days so it’s vital that leaders attend what they sign up for or let Frontline know in advance if they cannot attend their visit. 

2.2.6 For all attendance tracked via the QR code or attendance link. It is the responsibility of the leader to make sure they log their attendance via this form and to contact the Pathways team if they have not been able to do so. 

2.3 Catching up on missed learning.  

2.3.1 Where leaders are at risk of falling under 80% attendance for the elements listed in section 1.1.4, other than coaching, they must catch up on missed learning. They should do this via the resources available on the learning platform. 

2.3.2 This will usually include reviewing the slides and notes available from a session and then submitting a short reflective log to confirm completion of catch up. This will be sent out when relevant by the Programme Officer to the leader. 

2.4 Managing absence and engagement concerns. 

2.4.1 A leader may be subject to several steps of intervention, within which attendance and engagement concerns will be explored alongside possible mechanisms of support under the following circumstances: 

2.4.2 Where a singular unexplained absence has occurred for a compulsory programme element, leaders will be contacted by Frontline for an explanation. If a leader does not provide a satisfactory explanation for the absence, Frontline may progress the matter to the below stages.  

2.4.3 Where there is more than one instance of non-engagement or absence from programme activity, leaders be contacted again by the Pathway Programme Officer, reminding them of Frontline’s expectations and to ascertain whether there are any reasons for this change, and to offer support. 

2.4.4 If there is no response to this offer of support, this will be escalated to the Pathways Programme Manager who will request a call with the leader to discuss any barriers to engagement and agree a support plan. 

2.4.5 If the situation does not improve sufficiently or there is no response to communications from the Pathways team, the Pathways Programme manager will contact the leader’s line manager to confirm if there are any extenuating circumstances or reasons for non-engagement. The Pathways Programme manager will inform the leader that this is their next step prior to contacting the manager. 

2.4.6 If there is no response from either line manager or leader, the leader will be withdrawn from the programme and confirmation of this will be sent via email to the leader and their line manager. This will also be shared with Frontline Partnerships Team who will update the project sponsor in the leader’s Local Authority     

2.4.7 Where a leader, without reasonable explanation and in the absence of exceptional circumstances does one or more of the following, the leader will be at risk of automatic withdrawal: 

2.4.8 The decision to deem a leader withdrawn must be agreed by the Principal Programme Lead, in consultation with the Programme Manager, Partnership and Placements Manager or Account Development Manager. 

2.4.9 There may be some instances where a leader’s circumstances indicate a need for a deferred place (see definitions) this will be decided by Frontline staff on a case-by-case basis. In general, when withdrawing from a pathway, that place will be considered spent, and a future place on the programme would be dependent on reapplication and availability of places.  

2.4.9 Where there have been concerns with engagement which have led to withdrawal, this may impact on the leader’s opportunity to have a place on future programmes (for reasons outlined in 1.1.2).

2.4.10 If a leader wishes to appeal the decision, they can do this through the ‘Contact Us’ button on the website, through which a meeting with the Principal Programme Lead will be arranged. If not satisfactorily resolved, a complaint can be issued in line with our complaints policy

2.4.11 We will be tracking and monitoring the number of withdrawals across local authorities. Frontline reserves the right to limit the number of places available to a local authority where there are repeated instances of withdrawal, low completion, or engagement on the programme, without good reason.