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Design of a training programme to accompany the April 2011 regulations and guidance for looked after children and care leavers


  • Consultancy/research
  • Face to face
  • Blended

The Department for Education (DfE) commissioned Walkgrove to develop a set of training and learning materials to accompany the 2011 regulations and guidance which aimed to streamline social work for looked after children and care leavers. This training was designed to help to communicate the key messages and support changes to practice.

The training need

Practitioners and managers were often confused by the lack of clarity around the regulations, statutory and practice guidance relating to looked after children. Many felt that the existing framework was hard to access and use, complicated and, in some areas, outdated. The Department rationalised and clarified both the core and the additional regulations and guidance to make them easier to understand and implement.

The overall business purpose of the training materials was to improve the quality and consistency of frontline practice. Any services and planning to meet the needs of looked after children must be based on practitioners’ sound understanding of the new legal framework and statutory guidance. The five outcomes from the ‘Every Child Matters Outcomes Framework were to be addressed. Practitioners and managers can then use their powers, duties and professional judgement to collaborate confidently in ensuring safe, constructive and sensitive solutions for children.

Our bespoke learning solution

Walkgrove developed course materials to reflect the core values and key messages of the regulations and guidance. The main values and messages were:

  • Putting children at the centre and hearing their voices
  • Working together to provide everything that a good parent would
  • Ensuring that a child’s accommodation and other needs are met
  • Enabling parents, as far as possible, to retain their responsibilities and remain closely involved

We developed the materials in three tranches, reflecting the client’s production priorities and the state of readiness of the regulations. Materials comprised:

  • A trainer led session with PowerPoint presentation and discussion topics and an accompanying learner pack
  • A structured one-day workshop for looked-after children social workers with trainer notes and participant packs. Materials could also be used for self study or as preparation for (or follow-up of) a facilitated workshop.


  • A ‘pick and mix’ of materials including handouts, PowerPoint slides, case studies with appropriate questions, quizzes with open questions, quizzes with multiple-choice questions, myth-busting exercises, brief vignettes or scenarios with quick questions, what would you do or say in the following situations? And matching or sorting exercises to develop knowledge of the regulations.

Key to the success of this project was consultation with a huge range of key stakeholder groups including; local authorities, The Fostering Network, BAAF, VOICE, NCAS, NCH, Barnardos, Who Cares Trust and a range of experts who had already researched or consulted in relevant areas.