The Strengthening Practice Programme is designed to support your social care practitioners to improve the lives of children, young people and families by applying evidence-informed best practice in their work. We’ll help your team put their new knowledge into practice, promoting critical thinking and analysis, good decision making and working in partnership. The Strengthening Practice programme aligns with the KSS and PCF frameworks and all the modules support your practitioners to track and provide evidence as their skills progress.
The Strengthening Practice programme gives your team the tools to excel in their practice and make helpful, confident and defensible decisions to empower children, young people and their families.
Tools and Learning Formats
The programme is completely flexible – we’ll work closely with senior management to design the courses so that the skills staff will gain directly address the needs of your organisation. The programme consists of seven customisable modules, each delivered through Seminars, Workshops and individual Action Learning Sets, supported by high-quality learning and reference materials.
Practical and focussed on ‘what works’ according to the latest evidence-based research, the programme accommodates multiple learning styles so none of your team will be left behind. Ideally, the programme runs over an extended period of 12-18 months to allow your staff to learn, rehearse, do, review and do again in the workplace – ensuring the knowledge is retained and leads to tangible improvements in their work.
Content and Structure of the Programme
Designed for audiences of up to 60 people, our Seminars bring together the leaders of your organisation with national knowledge leaders. Together, we highlight the latest developments in evidence-based research nationally and put this in context locally in a way that resonates with people on the front lines in your organisation. The Seminars help your team understand why you’ve commissioned the training and what is expected of them, building mutual respect and trust so that they leave enthusiastic and inspired to put their new skills to work.
Workshops are a space for smaller groups to reflect on what they’ve learnt in the seminars and how it can inform their work. We ensure your team understands the relevance of everything they’ve learnt – and how to apply it to their casework to improve children’s lives. Participants share knowledge and research with our trainers and acquire new skills and toolkits they can apply to their own practice. It’s a safe environment where your staff can plan and rehearse the improvements they’ll be putting into practice.
Action Learning Sets
Once your team clearly understand what they’ll be doing differently, we track improvements in their practice through personal learning diaries. None of your staff are left behind – trainers regularly check in to support participants as they integrate their new knowledge into their practice. Participants also access high-quality learning resources and reference materials to reinforce their knowledge and make sure it results in lasting changes in your organisation. Our individual focus builds up the self-confidence required to process criticism and the trust required to address any individual issues – so everyone feels safe to put their new skills into practice.
Strengthening Assessment -Two Days
Helps your frontline staff to use critical thinking, defensible decision making and hypothesising as tools to help them apply evidence-based research and knowledge to their assessment work. Your team will be better equipped to identify and manage risk and ‘show their working out’ to help trainers and supervisors understand their decision-making process and keep records you’ll find useful.
The workshops introduce evidence-based tools such as the Risk and Resilience Matrix, the Graded Care Profile, the Hypothesis Tree and the Impact on the Child Chart to help your practitioners make confident and sound judgements in their assessment work.
Strengthening Planning- Two Days
Helps your social workers and support staff to plan meaningful short, medium and long term interventions for all children and young people including those in need, in care and leaving care. When your team identifies risk, they’ll have an evidence-based toolkit they can draw on to confidently design helpful interventions that can make a positive difference. The interventions are based on SMART planning, focussed on the repair and restoration of children, young people and their families. The module includes work on building the Secure Base described by Schofield, and use of the NSPCC Reunification Framework.
Strengthening Parenting Capacity – Two Days
Helps your team to work well with parents to increase parenting responsibility and responsiveness to their children. Your practitioners will enhance their understanding of capability to parent and the importance of making changes within the child’s timeframe. Rehearsing and strengthening their skills in observing parent-child interactions and planning how to use this to drive improvements in their practice, participants learn about the latest evidence-based research about ‘what works’ to support parents. Your workers will gain useful new tools including motivational interviewing techniques, a strengths-based approach to working with families and using the Galinsky model of parenting.
Strengthening Communication – Two Days
Helps your team communicate successfully with children, young people and their families. Better communication is key to strengthening every aspect of your team’s practice. They’ll learn to practice mindfully, measure their words and build a relationship through communication. What are we offering in return for a child’s words, feelings and fears? Children need to understand where their words will end up – where their world will end up as a result of the difficult conversations we ask them to have. Stronger communication skills will make your team more confident and effective in every aspect of their work.
Strengthening Recording – One or Two Days
Helps your practitioners and support staff to implement best practice in recording including guidance from research and peak bodies like Ofsted. We’ll help your team to deeply understand the importance of accurate and compliant records to the children and young people they work with, to them, and to your organisation. Participants will look at the ethics and the importance of recording as well as the legislative requirements for record keeping and data protection. Different versions of the module are available for specific audiences (such as foster carers, for example).
Strengthening Attachment. – Two Days
By better understanding the theory of attachment and recognising relevant behaviours in children, young people and adults, your team will strengthen their strategies for improving attachment behaviour and building strong relationships. They’ll also learn about the Attachment Regulation and Competency model in parenting, providing them with an evidence-based framework for understanding attachment and making a real difference in cases where it is a factor.
Strengthening Supervision for Managers – Two Days
Helps support managers to consider the purpose of supervision, identify their strengths and difficulties and reflect on their role within the organisation and their team. Managers will learn new strategies to manage poor or under-performance of staff and how to get the most out of their own supervision. This course is informed by work carried out by Jo Fox on the Research in Practice (RiP) Supervision Change Project – to help managers understand how their work can most effectively make a difference to children’s lives.
Strengthening supervision for Supervisees – One Day
This module accompanies Strengthening Supervision for Managers and helps your team to get the most out of their supervision and to increase responsiveness to, and responsibility for, supervision.
Through every step of the process, you’ll have a detailed view of what your team is learning, and how successfully it’s being applied to drive improvements in practice. Following each module, we obtain detailed feedback from participants and facilitators, and we encourage organisations to discuss this with us throughout the training. We’ll also help you to notice any barriers to change and support you to overcome these.
- Pre- and post-course questionnaires allowing self-assessment of change in knowledge, skills and confidence.
- Feedback from participants via session evaluation forms;
- Feedback from facilitators and examples from coaching
- Six-month internal Council review of impact.
Independent evaluation of the programme is also available, supported by a week of targeted focus group workshops with your team. This gives you a detailed report summarising and analysing the positives and negatives, how well the programme appears to be meeting your objectives and goals, and areas for future improvement – producing detailed and authoritative evidence of the impact of the training on your organisation.