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Independent charity Frontline is to receive government backing to see over 3000 of “the best and the brightest graduates” across England trained as children’s social workers over the next five years. 

Set up in 2013, Frontline is hoped to recruit high-calibre graduates into social work in the same way that Teach First has for the teaching profession. After being piloted in the South East and Manchester, Frontline has already trained 220 recruits and will now be working towards the government’s target of having 750 graduates fast-tracked into social work within the next year. 

The government’s investment was announced by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan today during a visit to meet social workers of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. She said: 

“Schemes like Teach First have helped transform teaching into one of the most prestigious and high status professions in the country, and we must now do the same for social work.

“Frontline mirrors that approach by attracting the brightest and the best graduates into social work - giving them fast-track, top quality training in children’s social work... Don’t just take it from me. Take it from the local authorities working with these programmes, who have told us the quality of students is consistently very high.” 

Ms Morgan continued: “I can announce today we will be investing a further £100m into Frontline, and into our specialist course - Step Up.” 

Andrew Williamson CBE, Chairman of Sanctuary Social Care, said: 

“It’s very good news to see this investment in the social work profession. I am particularly pleased to see that the government acknowledges the highly skilled work of those working with vulnerable children.”

In addressing social work as “one of the most demanding professions in the world”, Ms Morgan sympathised with the “huge task” of reforming the system, which she said needs to include improvements to working environments for social workers as well as transforming services. 

In her speech, she also discussed plans in partnership with the Secretary of State for Health for a new body to improve standards in the profession. It will focus on raising the quality of social work education, training and practice in both children’s and adults’ services and eventually take over from the Health and Care Professions Council.

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