Step 3

Step 3 of Darlington Academy supports experienced staff into Leadership and Management and/or to become ‘Experts in Practice’.


Progression for Experienced Social Workers 

There are specific training and learning opportunities staff can take in order to prepare for Grade Progression (see diagram below for an idea of grade progression).

Some of these options are to become a Practice Educator, Complete a Leader and Management Course, or to become an 'Expert in Practice'. 

More information about training courses can be found in the Training Directory [external link].


Progression diagram - coming soon!

Practice Education 


Social Workers who have been qualified for 2 years or more can become Practice Educators. Most Practice Educator (PE) courses are split in a Level 1 and a Level 2 and teach about supporting the learning and growth of Social Work Students whilst on their placements. As requirement of the PE course is to support a student with on the job learning and regular, reflective supervision. 

Darlington Borough Council offer peer and mentor support to all of their Practice Educators, as well as monthly support sessions. Practice Educators also get a one off payment once their student has completed their placement. 


Leadership and Management 

Darlington Borough Council support various routes into leadership and management as part of our 'Grow Our Own' ethos. 

Some of the routes include:

  • North East Leadership & Management - Social Worker to First Line Managers
    Programme. (provided by ADASS and ADCS)
  • Level 5 Leadership and Management Apprenticeship (provided by Learning & Skills)

Darlington Borough Council have ongoing training and support for leader and managers, including finance and PDRs. 

Experts in Practice

We know that not everyone wants to move into leadership and management, but feel strongly that everyone should be supported to develop and grow. 

A new partnership with Newcastle University has created an opportunity for 6 members of staff to become researchers in a particular area of interest. As part of this journey, our staff will become experts in their area of interest and will share their knowledge and understanding with the rest of the workforce. 

The areas of expertise will be:

  • Trauma Informed Practice
  • Harm Away from Home/Contextualised Safeguarding
  • Creative Life Story Work
  • Autism
  • Loneliness/Self Isolation
  • Self-Neglect

Our Experts in Practice will also be creating some video diaries, so keep a look out for those!