Skip to main content

BASW responds to appointment of Donald Forrester to lead new Frontline Academy

BASW has responded to the choice of higher education partners for the Frontline social work training scheme, which will see Donald Forrester become Lead Professor for a new Frontline Academy. Based at the Tilda Goldberg Centre, Bedfordshire University, Professor Forrester will head a group of academics including figures from the Institute of Family Therapy and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.

BASW's Chief Executive Bridget Robb commented:

"The decision to appoint Donald Forrester to this role is clearly an important further step for this developing initiative. BASW will work with Mr Forrester and the higher education institutions that are to be involved in the programme in identifying areas of concern and opportunities for improvement to a programme that has understandably prompted significant concerns from many social workers and social work academics.

"BASW remains of the view that while we are willing to explore the potential this initiative offers for attracting new talent into the profession, this must not be at the expense of the placement opportunities for social work trainees on undergraduate and masters programmes, and must also be cognisant of the need for qualifications to be recognised throughout the UK and not simply in England.

"It is important to recognise that the Frontline pilots will involve an initial cohort of just 200 trainees in the pilot period, so will for some time represent only a fraction of those entering social work practice. The fact that Frontline's developers have already shown a willingness to respond to some issues is positive and BASW will continue to work with all involved to raise the ongoing concerns of our members."

Details of the Frontline concept were revealed earlier this year. Based on the Teach First model used in schools, where candidates are paid the same rates as unqualified teachers for their first year, Frontline is billed as a fast-track training model for “high-flying” graduates.

Recruitment to the Frontline programme will commence later this year. An initial cohort of 100 graduates are expected to start training in September 2014, with a further 100 to follow in 2015. The 200 graduates will attend an intensive summer school to receive initial social work training, before being placed with a frontline local authority team.

The current aim is for all candidates to then complete an intensive 12 months of on-the-job training, supplemented with academic learning. Following successful completion of this initial year the trainees will be certified to practise. This will be followed by work in year two to achieve a master’s degree in leadership in social work.