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229. IoS Exclusive - After Savile Scandal.

229. IoS Exclusive - After Savile Scandal.

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228. IoS Exclusive - After Savile Scandal
228. IoS Exclusive - After Savile Scandal

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Published by: Cazzac111 on Nov 08, 2012
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Thursday 08 November 2012i Jobs Dating Property Shop
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IoS exclusive: After the Savile scandal, arevolution in child protection
A scheme modelled on Teach First could help restore prestige to the embattledprofession
News>UK>Crime
JANE MERRICK
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JOHN RENTOUL
SUNDAY 28 OCTOBER 2012
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Chris Hughtonsolving moreproblems 
 A revolution in child protection which wouldsee elite graduates fast-tracked into social work has been given the go-ahead by Michael Gove,
The Independent on Sunday
can reveal.The programme, called Frontline, is modelledon Teach First and would create a new movement of social workers to bring leadership,prestige and a sense of "social mission" to one of the least appealing and most widely criticisedprofessions.The Education Secretary gave the green light tothe plan amid growing concern about childprotection in the wake of the Jimmy Savilescandal. The revelations have once again highlighted widespreadproblems with the protection of children and the state of social work inBritain, which has been described as a "national scandal" by Lord Adonis,the former education minister.
Related articlesDJ's relatives tell ofdespair and sadnessclaimsBitter infighting sweepsthe BBCChildren in Need asked toapologise over Savile'sroles in TV appealsThis does not have to beone of Britain's leastappealing careersBBC bosses should beashamed
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Social workers were criticised for failing to act on signs of abuse in the
shocking cases of Baby Peter and Victoria Climbié, and research has shown
that those working in the profession often lack the assertiveness tochallenge parents in problem cases. Earlier this month, Birmingham SocialServices was criticised by Ofsted for continuing "inadequate" protection of children, despite improvements made following the death of Khyra Ishaqin the city in 2008.The profession is in a state of crisis, say experts, with social workersstruggling with increasing workloads, spending cuts by local authorities,and dwindling morale following high-profile cases. Last year there were1,350 vacancies for social workers, while only 5 per cent of people whostarted training in this field last year had been to one of the Russell Groupof leading universities. At the same time, calls relating to child abuse tothe NSPCC helpline have more than doubled in the past two years, withnearly three-quarters of those calls referred to the authorities.The Frontline idea was developed by Josh MacAlister, who underwent theTeach First programme and is a head of department at a secondary schoolin Greater Manchester. Mr MacAlister first suggested the "Teach First forsocial work" in 2010, when it was reported by 
The IoS 
. Lord Adonis, theformer schools minister and ex-adviser on education to Tony Blair, helpedto develop the idea. Last week Lord Adonis and Mr MacAlister held talks with Mr Gove, who ordered a business plan to implement Frontline.Like Teach First, the Frontline programme would involve two-year in- work training for graduates, who would need to show qualities needed forsocial work before starting the course, including compassion, leadershipand a confidence to challenge and use authority. Individuals would start with an intensive summer school of training before being placed in afrontline working role, where they would complete academic study andsocial work training in the first year, leading to a recognised social-work qualification.The second year would involve continued in-job training at the same localauthority. Graduates would have their salaries in the first year paid by Frontline, which would be established as a social enterprise, independentof government and local authorities. The second year would be funded by local authorities.Similar to Teach First, Frontline participants would be committed to only two years, and would then be free to leave the profession. But MrMacAlister argues that because of the rewarding nature of the "socialmission" involved in jobs such as teaching and social work, individuals would feel motivated to stay on. While social work already requires a degree qualification, there has beencriticism that the training is poorly suited to the practical realities of theprofession. A report putting the case for Frontline by Mr MacAlister, for the IPPthink tank, found that of 2,765 people who started a degree in social work last year, only five individuals had been to Oxford or Cambridge,suggesting that social work is not regarded as a high-status profession.Two-thirds of social work students pass their degree the first time round, while only 12 per cent of applicants have three grade As at A-level orequivalent.The idea could be met with resistance by some in the field, especially as being a high-flying graduate would not necessarily equip an individual with the life experience needed to spot abuse or neglect in children. ButMr MacAlister argues that Frontline would be also open to older, moreexperienced graduates who wanted to switch career.Local authorities experience such a high turnover of staff that they frequently have to rely on agency staff to fill gaps. As a result, vulnerablechildren can be seen by several different social workers in one year, which
can lead to oversights in their care. Council budgets have been cut by an
average of 10 per cent this year, further putting the lives of vulnerablechildren at risk, said the IPPR report.The report, published this month, said: "Children's social work is underenormous strain. Chronic funding pressures, a ballooning workload and apoorly trained and supported workforce have all combined to put vulnerable children's lives at risk.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/ios-exclusive-after-the-savile-scandal-a-revolution-in-child-protection-8229458.html Page 2 / 4
 
"Despite the importance of an effective workforce, social work hasstruggled to recruit and train enough high-calibre staff; it has sufferedfrom a perception of low prestige, and been criticised for offering degreecourses that provide inadequate training."Earlier this month, Lord Adonis, who was in care as a child, wrote: "Thestatus of the social work profession is frankly a national scandal. The statusquo is similar to comprehensive school teaching a decade ago: high vacancy rates and far too few good young graduates with burningmotivation or excellent training and support. For tens of thousands of children each year social workers not only make a profound difference totheir life chances; they are often the difference between danger and safety in a child's life."Teach First, which was implemented by Lord Adonis as Mr Blair's adviserin 2002 to improve teaching in "challenging" comprehensives, hasattracted more than 3,000 elite graduates to the teaching profession overthe past decade and is regarded as a success. Although the graduates arecommitted to only two years of teaching, more than half have remained inthe profession.
'It used to be more about the person. Now it's about figures andtime and budgets'
 Sonia Simpson has been on the front-line of social work for the past 10 years. Yesterday she welcomed government moves to bring in a Teach First-style scheme for social workers. "I think it's a good thing that theGovernment is trying to raise standards," Ms Simpson said. "At least it istrying to communicate to people that social work isn't the easy option."Ms Simpson, 50, said the move was in contrast to what often appeared to be a complete lack of government interest in the increasing pressure beingput on social workers.She added that in recent years morale among many of her colleagues hasplummeted, as budget cuts and public criticism take their toll: "It has become all about doing more with less. It used to be more about theperson and now it's about figures and time and budgets."As soon as you mention the word social worker, the perception isnegative. They think you're either putting old people in homes or you'reputting people in care."Ms Simpson admitted that she did have reservation about the scheme. "Itcould mean that we go back to what it was in the 1970s, when a lot of social workers were white middle-class do-gooders," she said."It's great to be academic, but does that mean you'll be a good practisingsocial worker, and will know how to deal with people whose lives are incrisis?"Sanchez Manning
The cases that went wrong
 
Peter Connelly
 Baby P died aged 17 months in August 2007 at the hands of his mother,Tracey Connelly, her abusive boyfriend and their lodger. The toddler, whosuffered more than 50 injuries, was on the at-risk register and was visited60 times by social workers, doctors and police.
Victoria Climbie
 Tortured to death by her great-aunt, Marie-Therese Kouao, and Kouao'slover, Carl Manning, in 2000, eight-year-old Victoria, could have beensaved if had it not been for a lack of communication between social workers, nurses, doctors and police officers.
Khyra Ishaq
 The seven-year-old from Handsworth, Birmingham, died weighing 2st 9lbin 2008 after mistreatment at the hands of her stepfather Junaid Abuhamza and mother Angela Gordon. A serious case review found social
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/ios-exclusive-after-the-savile-scandal-a-revolution-in-child-protection-8229458.html Page 3 / 4

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