Teach First scheme for Children’s Social Work

Published on Friday, 05 October 2012 10:31
Posted by Scott Buckler

The successful Teach First model should be used to meet the growing need for quality graduates in children's social work, according to a new report published by the think tank IPPR today

The report recommends establishing an independent social enterprise - called Frontline - to attract the best people into one of Britain's toughest professions.

Last year only five Oxbridge graduates started training as social workers, compared to the eight percent of Oxford graduates who applied for Teach First.

Children's social work currently faces significant reputational challenges, high vacancy rates and difficulties attracting the brightest graduates. Now more than ever the profession needs an innovative plan to raise the quality of applicants, improve standards on the frontline and help stem the staffing crisis.

Josh MacAlister, report author and Teach First ambassador, said:

"This is a call for change to the profession and the government. It is not inevitable that social work remains one of Britain's least appealing careers when it is in fact one of the most demanding and important. A scheme like this could transform perceptions of social work and contribute to the huge task of tackling social disadvantage."

Lord Andrew Adonis, former Schools Minister and Downing Street policy adviser, who chairs the steering group for the project, said:

"I was in care as a youngster and I owe a huge amount to brilliant social workers.  For tens of thousands of children each year social workers not only make a profound difference to their life chances; they are often the single bridge between danger and safety in a child's life.  Yet too many of the most vulnerable children in society – those in care or at serious risk of harm – are getting neither the protection nor the opportunities they deserve.

"When Teach First was launched the sceptics were all about. Teach First confounded the sceptics and I believe Frontline will too."

Mike Livingstone, Manchester's Director of Children's Services, said

"Social work is a vital role which, when done well,  does help to protect the lives of the most vulnerable children in society. I very much welcome and support the proposals for Frontline. This seems a really positive step forward in attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining high calibre people into the vital profession of Social Work at a very important time. Whilst we have made good progress in Manchester we are keen to learn the lessons from the fast-track training programme Teach First and apply them to Social Work.  Frontline provides the opportunity for this and I look forward to working with colleagues to make this a reality."

Source: ©IPPR

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