Southampton Children and Learning are a family and a team which is rooted in learning, creativity and positivity, with children at the centre of every decision we make, and we would love for you to join us. Our values are also based on kindness, compassion and creating a society based on social justice.

Rob Henderson
Robert Henderson
Executive Director Wellbeing
(Children & Learning)

Let’s change lives together

Thanks for your interest in children’s social worker opportunities with Southampton City Council. Here we want every child to be loved, be happy, healthy and thrive! We need your help to do this.

We are a good service with an outstanding leadership and management team. We are securely and confidently building a brilliant child-centred service which is making a sustainable difference to the lives of children, families and communities.

We are a family. We celebrate our diversity and values of inclusion where everybody feels valued and heard. We want children and young people to be at the heart and pulse of our city.

With significant council commitment and an excellent practice framework, including substantial pathways in systemic family therapy, trauma-based approaches and motivational interviewing, we have established a skilled, dynamic and almost fully permanent, workforce, confident and energised to make a difference and be the difference. Ofsted have recently told us that we have, ‘embedded a culture of learning and development across the organisation’.

A significant feature of the changes that leaders have delivered has been the lifting of the morale of the workforce and creating a culture in which staff work compassionately and collaboratively with families - Ofsted July 2023

Our almost fully permanent leadership and management team provide the right balance of challenge and nurture to enable you to practice at your very best.

We are keeping what is already great about the service, but we are also doing things differently, especially providing the right support quickly for children and young people to truly understand their lives, help keep them safe and support them to achieve their dreams. We have an ambitious and cutting-edge multi-agency Young People’s Service, and we are leading the way in practice in relation to contextual safeguarding. We are one of three local authorities piloting new approaches under the expert guidance of Carlene Firmin, Durham University and the Department for Education. We were also one of the Local Authorities who took part in the Social Care Reform Review, and we are leading the way in response to the recommendations about early and family help.

We know social work is challenging and carries huge responsibility. It requires stamina, resilience and determination. And it is a career that enriches and transforms the lives of children and families. We want you to come and help us be the best we can be. We promise to grow and develop with you and help achieve your ambitions.

We will continue to improve because we want all our services to be outstanding.

Impressive strategic and operational leadership, aligned with corporate and political commitment, has provided a clear vision, ambition and energy which has garnered the confidence and commitment of key partners. There is a collective momentum to continue to improve services and outcomes for children across the city - Ofsted July 2023
Steph Murray
Steph Murray
Deputy Director
Children’s Social Care and Early Help

It’s a great time to join us - we would love you to be part of the Southampton family.

It’s a tough job. In my social work career I have been inspired, challenged and held by colleagues, managers and leaders who have believed in me and helped me to practice at my best.

We have built a strong ‘family’ culture where social workers and managers feel safe and supported to develop enduring relationships with children and families, and where their views about the environment in which they work are listened to and acted upon.

Ofsted have told us we are Good with Outstanding Leadership. This is testament to the love, care and unbelievable commitment, right across the service, shown by our practitioners and managers to children, families and each other every day.

A strong team is the bedrock of a thriving service. This is how we are, together, providing the most vulnerable children of Southampton with consistency, warmth and an uncompromising focus on their safety and wellbeing - Steph Murray, Deputy Director, Children’s Social Care and Early Help

Led by our Principal Social Worker, our Practice Development Team provides excellent wrap-around support to our whole workforce, including our ASYEs and NQSWs. We are putting a huge amount of energy into being better for our children, so we are investing in a comprehensive Systemic, Restorative Practice, and Motivational Interviewing training pathways for practitioners, managers and leaders across the whole service.

Children are supported by practitioners who have the capacity to visit them regularly and to listen to what they say about their lives - Ofsted July 2023

Children and young people tell us they want workers who listen and hear them, respect them, follow through on what they say, and provide them with opportunities that will enrich their lives.

They want the professionals who help them to make and feel like an individual, and that someone is always there for them. They want their social workers, support workers and personal advisers to be their difference. To do this our social workers need manageable workloads, supportive and transparent relationships with managers and the opportunity to continually grow in experience, knowledge and confidence. It’s all about trusting relationships with each other and our children.

In Southampton, leaders and managers are cared for and stretched in equal measure. We all need managers and leaders who listen to us, inspire us, support us and provide a safe environment for us to practice at our very best. I know how important this was, and still is, to me, and I believe it matters immeasurably in this amazing and challenging career we have chosen.

Karen Biddle, Principal Social Worker
Karen Biddle
Head of Practice & Principal Social Worker

We have a strong focus on enabling you to become the best practitioner that you can be and offer great career development opportunities.

Following our recent inspection, Ofsted said this about us:

Staff across children’s services like working in Southampton. They value the fact that they are listened to and they enjoy the easy access they have to senior leaders. They told inspectors about the way in which leaders celebrate their achievements, as well as holding them to account - Ofsted July 2023

We have developed an unrivalled training offer which is delivered through our Children and Learning Academy and are embedding our Making the Difference Practice Framework. We are hugely proud of both and delighted to receive feedback from Ofsted that a learning culture is embedded in our service and that our training offer is commented on enthusiastically by all, including our most experienced practitioners. We will provide you with a context in which your practice and you as a professional will flourish. We are an organisation that is increasingly relational, reflective, and focused on positive outcomes for children and their families.

We are a community with a passion for learning which is articulated through our career pathway offer, which includes access to fully accredited systemic training. We take responsibility and we are hugely aware that we are accountable, but we don’t do blame – we learn, support and challenge. We understand the relationship between creating the best outcomes for you as a professional and the best outcomes for our children and their families.

See our latest vacancies