Frontline works to transform the lives of the most vulnerable in society.
We commission and produce practice-focussed research that draws insights from our programmes for the benefit of the social work system. Academics working for Frontline are also engaged in teaching and research at the forefront of social work practice. They have a wide range of expertise which includes reflexive practice, emotional resilience and motivational interviewing through to systemic practice, developmental trauma, and leadership in social work.
On this page you will also find independent research and evaluations which have been used to evidence our impact and support the development of our programmes.
The Centre for Children and Family Research (CCFR) at Loughborough University conducted an independent evaluation of Firstline, a leadership development programme for first-line managers working in children and families social work.
The evaluation reported that those on the programme, known as Firstline Leaders, have given “overwhelmingly positive” feedback, with the majority considering it as “the best training and professional development that they had received as managers and leaders.”
Frontline pilot: independent evaluation
An independent evaluation of the Frontline pilot was conducted by Cardiff University and published in March 2016.
The evaluation compared the practice skills of Frontline participants with those qualifying into social work through other routes. It found that Frontline participants were rated higher than students on mainstream programmes on every one of the ten assessment criteria.
Developing outstanding social workers – what makes great first line leadership?
Frontline conducted extensive research into what constitutes excellent first line leadership in a children’s social work setting. This led to the development of the Firstline curriculum, which is predicated on the insight that enhancing self-awareness is crucial for effective leadership and for creating and sustaining change. The curriculum covers elements such as:
• Creating a personal vision for leadership
• Understanding the internal and external barriers to change
• Influencing others and navigating complex systems
Read the full report into what makes great first line leadership.
Tilda Goldberg: a life in research
Bulletin of the Social Work History Network, 2 (2)
Author: Chris Hemsley
Principal Practice Tutor, Chris Hemsley, gives a brief overview of the life and works of Tilda Goldberg, social work research pioneer.
Read the article in the Bulletin of the Social Work History Network.
Frontline: Improving the children’s social work profession
In 2012, while an Associate Fellow at IPPR, Josh MacAlister developed the case for Frontline, a fast-track programme for children’s social work.
The paper argued that a graduate fast-track programme, drawing on the success of the Teach First scheme, could help to address the problems facing the children’s social work profession. This new programme – Frontline – would help to attract the best people into one of Britain’s toughest professions, and in the long term create a movement of leaders to challenge social disadvantage.
Read the paper in full.
Partners in practice: Developing integrated learning opportunities on the Frontline child and family social work qualifying programme
The first academic paper to be published on Year 1 of the Frontline programme was co-authored by Principal Practice Tutor, Alison Domakin, and Liz Curry, a former consultant social worker. The two worked together over the first two cohorts of the Frontline programme and undertook action research to explore the learning opportunities that arise when academic staff and practitioners work side by side to support student learning using Frontline’s model.
Read more about the key findings from the research in the piece they co-authored for Community Care.
Putting practice at the heart of social work education: can practice skills be reliably graded by different markers in child and family social work contexts?
This paper investigates the reliability of grading of direct practice between different markers on the Frontline programme. It reports findings for 30 recordings of direct observations of practice that were graded during the first cohort.
Overall, the research found that marking was reliable, suggesting that it is possible to agree on marks for students, which points to the potential for grading of practice to be more widely used in social work education.
Frontline partners with Tavistock and Portman
Frontline is partnering with The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust to support in the delivery of new research which will contribute to the knowledge base for the Frontline programme and social work education more broadly.
Drawing on Tavistock and Portman’s extensive experience in clinical research and practice, the partnership will support members of our Academic team to complete a professional doctorate, assist with the design and delivery of internal research, and promote research-mindedness across the charity.
Frontline social work training: an evaluation
Dartington Social Research Unit conducted a study, which sought to measure outcomes for children and families who have social workers.
While the study didn’t meet its initial objectives, it has resulted in a number of useful findings that could lay the foundations for future research. We are committed to embedding children and family outcome measurement into our programmes by 2020.