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Tessa Godfrey

Tessa qualified as a social worker in 1985, following the publication of the Barclay Report on social work. The report argued that social workers should have a strong focus on the neighbourhoods and communities in which they worked, rather than solely working with individuals or families. Tessa took a job as a community worker in north Wales and then worked in a community social work project in Leicester for nine years.

She went on to work as a children and families’ social worker in a duty and assessment team. The Sure Start initiative gave her a new opportunity to move back in to working in a community based way and she worked as a link social worker on in a large council estate in Leicester. This ignited her interest in early years and early intervention with vulnerable families and gave her the opportunity to train in video interaction guidance, an intervention that uses video to support positive interactions and attachment between carers and children.

Following this she spent many years in the voluntary sector. She worked for Action for Children and then Family Action, working in an anti-social behaviour project and then moving on to manage services including three children’s centres, a young carers project, and a project for mothers with poor mental health.

Undertaking a part-time masters in 2013 revitalised her interest in learning and research and she applied for a research position at the University of Bedfordshire’s Tilda Goldberg Centre. Tessa worked on an evaluation of the ‘Reclaiming Social Work’ model in five different local authorities, as an ‘embedded’ researcher in Southwark and oversaw the collection of data in Derbyshire and Hull. This was an amazing opportunity to get close to current social work practice, and Tessa saw at close hand the difference that systemic ideas and tools can make to practice.

Research interests

The impact of group supervision on social work practice

Selected publications

Scaling and deepening the Reclaiming Social Work model: evaluation report, Department of Education (pending) ‘What is the impact of supervision on direct practice with families?’ (pending)

Conference Presentations

Understanding group supervision: Reflective practice, sharing risk and making a difference? ‘It’s against the rights of the family’: negotiating access to service users within local authority social work services: 6th European Conference for Social Work Research.


Tessa has been teaching on the Frontline programme since August 2016.

Location: London

1 Rosebery Avenue,