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Children's services directors to retrain

Date:12 MAR 2009

Children's services directors will be required to retrain to make sure they understand the pressures of frontline social work following the death of Baby P.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls has announced today that he will be extending the remit of the National College for School Leadership to develop a new leadership programme to support future and existing leaders across the whole of children's services. The College will change its title to the National College for School and Children's Leadership.

The announcement of the new training scheme comes on the same day the publication of Lord Laming's nationwide review of child protection measures is due.

Half of the directors will start the first training programme in the coming academic year and half will start the programme by 2009/10.

The programme will involve experienced directors coaching and mentoring less experienced and new directors. There will also be an Executive Leadership programme for experienced and highly effective directors, which would aim to retain and keep them motivated by drawing on their skills and experience to contribute to and improve the whole system.

Lord Laming's report, commissioned following the death of Baby P, will detail the progress of the implementation of reforms introduced after the Victoria Climbié Inquiry in 2003, with proposals for further improvement to accelerate systematic improvement across the country.

Announcing the new leadership programme, Ed Balls said: "Social workers do a vital, but tough job, often under difficult circumstances - but there are real challenges around leadership, retention and career progression.

"It is vital that frontline workers get the support and supervision they need from managers who have the best possible skills and truly understand the challenges on the frontline."