New online course – Social Pedagogical Leadership 2021

We’re excited to announce new dates for our social pedagogical leadership course – the introductory module of the MA in Social Pedagogy Leadership.

Why it’s important:

Leadership is seen as vital to realising aspirations, achieving high-performing teams and creating positive cultures of care. The challenge, however, lies in how we can practice leadership in ways that are authentic and draw out our own and others’ potential. Just as with geese flying in V formation, leadership isn’t just about the people in the top positions – it’s essential to develop each person’s leadership potential.

With its strong emphasis on more equal relationships, learning processes, a shared life-space and ethics as first practice, social pedagogy has important implications for leadership at every level of an organisation. For the development of a social pedagogical culture within your service, it is vital that you and other leaders (such as senior managers, team leaders and other key people) know how to encourage teams to navigate complexity and are able to make situated judgments.

This course provides an excellent opportunity for you as a leader to explore how key principles in social pedagogy translate into leadership, what this means for you, your team, the wider organisation and, most importantly, how social pedagogical leadership can benefit the individuals, families or groups supported by your organisation.

In facilitating the course we will draw on a variety of learning methods that make social pedagogical leadership come to life – through experiential learning activities, group discussions, theoretical inputs, reflection and action planning on how you can develop your own leadership.

This course is endorsed by the Social Pedagogy Professional Association and forms the introductory module of the MA in Social Pedagogy Leadership at the University of Central Lancashire. You therefore have the option to gain accreditation and join the MA programme, usually delivered as a combination of block modules and distance learning modules either full- or part-time.


Learning Aims:

By connecting social pedagogical concepts and principles to practice, we aim to:

  1. provide you with an enduring understanding of:
    • Social pedagogy as an ethical orientation based on recognition that human beings are intrinsically rich, have unique value and potential
    • How to convey this belief in everyday interactions and relationships through your social pedagogical leadership
    • How you can create and develop social pedagogical teams and organisations within a positive culture of care
  2. ensure you know and are able to apply:
    • Relevant social pedagogical theories and principles for everyday leadership practice
    • How you can initiate and sustain change within a complex practice environment
  3. make you further familiar with:
    • The role of communication and empathic listening in social pedagogical leadership
    • Ideas and activities for future team development, supervision and your personal leadership style development



  • Core concepts in social pedagogy and their implications for leadership
  • Introduction to and perspectives on social pedagogical leadership
  • Leadership as pedagogy
  • The notion of Haltung and ethics as foundational for social pedagogical practice
  • The pedagogy of listening and recognition for leaders
  • Nurturing motivation
  • Creating, developing and sustaining a social pedagogical culture of care
  • Myths and mechanisms of scaling and diffusion


Course Facilitators:

The course will be facilitated by Alexandra Priver and Charlotte Firing. We’re both internationally experienced practitioners in social pedagogical settings and have longstanding facilitation and leadership expertise. We’ve led on a number of ThemPra’s pioneering projects in England and Scotland, including Head, Heart, Hands, Dundee Early Intervention Team, St Christopher’s Fellowship, and our EU Leonardo Mobility funded projects exploring social pedagogy in Danish care settings. We’re also co-delivering the MA in Social Pedagogy Leadership in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire.



This course forms the introductory module of the MA in Social Pedagogy Leadership, which we co-deliver with the University of Central Lancashire. Course participants can get their learning accredited for an additional fee and then go on to complete the MA online at a reduced rate. Please contact the programme leader Lowis Charfe for further details about the accreditation process.


Video conferencing platform:

The six 3-hour sessions will be facilitated using Zoom to allow participants from a wide range of organisations to engage. We operate the upgraded Zoom package with end-to-end encryption and the highest security settings available for video conferencing. No confidential information will be shared as part of the course, and both hosts are ICO registered.



The pricing is set at £295.00 (ex. VAT) per participant. 10% discount per place will be offered for the purchase of 5+ places and 15% discount per place will be offered for purchase of 10+ places. Payment can be made either by bank transfer or invoice and must be received by 1st May.



The 6 sessions will take place over 3 blocks with 2 consecutive mornings each to provide an in-depth learning experience: 9:30am – 12:30pm on 18+19 May, 2021, 8+9 June, 2021 and 29+30 June, 2021.



To register, please complete our booking form below. Please note that places are limited to 20 participants.

Participants will receive a certificate for the CPD hours completed.

Further questions:

If you have any further questions please email Gabriel.

International online conference: Creating Hope in Dystopia

For the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has starkly exposed the huge social inequalities and ruptures threatening to tear apart the social fabric in many countries and across the globe. The onslaught of social media has deepened divisions within societies and is increasingly leading to violent clashes reminiscent of dystopian storylines in film and fiction novels.

Amidst the deteriorating climate catastrophe, rising income inequalities, the resurgence of mainstream populism, and the accelerating replacement of human insight with technological advances through artificial intelligence, staying positive can be a challenge.

Social pedagogy and social education are about providing educational solutions to social issues, so how can we meaningfully respond during such turbulent times? How can we create hope, not just for those most affected by these challenges, but also for ourselves as social pedagogues and social educators? How can we recognise new opportunities amidst issues that seem increasingly insurmountable? It seems crucial that we face these uncertainties with a sense of resilience, hopefulness and energy, clearer insights into the complex conditions, and inspirational ideas of how we can contribute to positive change.

Join us for this important international conference to engage in the kind of dialogue that creates hope in dystopia.

Taking place online via Zoom, the 3-day conference combines live sessions and pre-recorded materials to create an engaging learning environment irrespective of your geographical location. You can contribute in a variety of ways:

  • Live interactive workshops are 60-90 minute sessions with a small group of participants and focused on exploring a specific theme relevant to the conference (see list below). Facilitators must ensure that participants are actively involved throughout the workshop session.

  • Live roundtable conversations are chaired 60-90 minute sessions with a panel of contributors initiating a conversation about a clearly defined theme. As live sessions, they must be designed to elicit contributions from conference participants, giving them a ‘seat around the table’.

  • Pre-recorded presentations are 5-20 minute videos sharing relevant insights from practice, projects or research. The videos will premiere at the conference, with exclusive access available to delegates after the conference too. There will be several opportunities over the 3 conference days to lead informal discussions of these videos or contribute to a live roundtable conversation. Presenters must ensure that high quality recordings are uploaded by 31/05/21 together with a full transcript for closed captioning and translation purposes.

  • Impromptu open space conversations will create opportunities for conference participants to explore emerging themes with others in ways that aren’t scripted or predetermined.

  • Meet-ups in the virtual gardens will provide informal spaces for networking throughout the conference, which can be used to continue conversations arising from conference contributions, reconnecting with other delegates or forming new alliances with like-minded participants.

Submit Your Proposal

We’re interested in contributions that address contemporary challenges from a social pedagogical/educational perspective and chart possible ways forward for practice. If your work can help illuminate our understanding of social issues and provide inspiration for how we can meaningfully respond to social inequalities, then please send us your proposal, clearly outlining how it reflects the conference theme.

Proposals should be submitted via the conference proposal Google form and are due no later than March 15, 2021. Accepted proposals will be notified via email by May 1, 2021.

Questions or concerns should be sent to: with the subject heading: Here and Now Online Conference 2021/Inquiry.

Conference Proceedings:

Presenters who would like to submit a paper for a post-conference publication after receiving feedback on their conference presentations will have until 1 August, 2021 (one month and a week after the end of the conference). Papers should not exceed 3,500 words (excluding references). This is optional and is not a requirement to present at the conference.

Next Social Pedagogy Development Network event

Join us at our next virtual SPDN event

27 November, 2020, 10am-1pm (GMT)

We warmly invite you to join our next Social Pedagogy Development Network event. As we’re nowhere nearer to holding face-to-face events and given the success of the virtual SPDN event in July, we’ll continue to run this via Zoom. Click here to register for your free place at the SPDN on 27 November, 2020.

The event will broadly follow a similar format to our previous face-to-face events, focussing focus on participatory methods that foster connection, dialogue and shared meaning-making. We’ll be adapting this even more to an online environment and share further details with you after registration.

The SPDN is a grassroots movement for nurturing change in education and social care through social pedagogy. It’s a forum for practitioners, students, service managers and academics alike to find out how organisations are developing social pedagogy within their services, to share ideas and to connect with other professionals who have a similar passion for their practice. We hold two free events each year, which aim to increase our collective understandings of social pedagogy in ways that are inspiring, practice-relevant and reflective of social pedagogical principles and values. We aim to stimulate reflection on how you can further develop your practice and thus make an even greater difference to the individuals, groups or communities you engage with.

Thanks to the diversity of participants, the SPDN offers you a real flavour of what social pedagogical practice looks like in children’s homes, fostering services, family support services, communities for adults with disabilities, residential schools and many other settings.

Who can come? If you’re curious about social pedagogy, interested in making connections or eager to improve your practice, then this is the right place for you. Most SPDN participants work with children, young people, families or other adult groups in a care, health or educational setting, but we’re not limited to these practice fields. Anybody is welcome to join us, and we generally have a broad mix of practitioners, senior managers, policy-makers, students, researchers and academics with a variety of backgrounds participating in the SPDN.

Please note that, for purposes of managing registrations and communications, we will transfer your registration details to the SPDN distribution list. You will only receive relevant updates on the SPDN and social pedagogy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

If you would like to join us at any future SPDN events, please sign up to our SPDN distribution list via this link. We will send you regular updates about the Social Pedagogy Development Network and relevant activities around social pedagogy, and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Join the Social Pedagogy Reading Club with Janet Grauberg

The wonderful Janet Grauberg has recently launched the Social Pedagogy Reading Club, the latest amazing learning opportunity in the social pedagogy world.

Journal clubs are a regular cycle of meetings. In each session, the participants summarise the findings of an article, critically discuss them, work in pairs to plan how they will incorporate them into their practice, and choose the next article. The Social Pedagogy Reading Club meets virtually at 7pm on the first Monday of every month (unless that’s a UK bank holiday), and you’re invited to join us for as many sessions as you’d like. Register here to become part of the Reading Club!

So far we’ve read the following articles:

  • October 2020: Charfe, L., & Gardner, A. (2020). ‘Does My Haltung Look Big In This?”: The Use of Social Pedagogical Theory for the Development of Ethical and Value Led Practice. International Journal of Social Pedagogy.
  • November 2020: Harbo, L. J., & Kemp, R. (2020). Social pedagogical perspectives on fidelity to a manual: Professional principles and dilemmas in everyday expertise. International Journal of Social Pedagogy.
  • December 2020: Winman, T. (2020). The Role of Social Pedagogy in a Digitalized Society. The Educational Review, USA, 4(3), 81-92.
  • January 2021: Andrews, N., Gabbay, J., Le-May, A., Miller, E., Petch, A., & O’Neill, M. (2020). Story, dialogue and caring about what matters to people: progress towards evidence-enriched policy and practice. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice.
  • February 2021: Smith, M. (2020). It really does depend: Towards an epistemology (and ontology) for everyday social pedagogical practice. International Journal of Social Pedagogy, 9(1), 1-18.
  • March 2021: Leadbeater, C. (2020). Love Meets Power. The Australian Centre for Social Innovation.

Our next session will discuss the following article:

  • April 2021: Brighton & Hove City Council (2017). ‘Empathy, tenacity and compassion’: An evaluation of relationship-based practice in Brighton & Hove.


New degree programme: BA (Hons) Early Childhood in Society (Graduate Practitioner)

It’s great to see a new degree programme launch with a strong social pedagogical foundation, as the School of Education at the University of Worcester is starting its new, innovative BA (Hons) Early Childhood in Society (Graduate Practitioner) in September 2020. 

For many young children life is magical; their early years are carefree and full of wonder. For a significant minority of children, however, life is not so great. These children and their families need professionals who use their personal warmth to help children develop self-efficacy skills; the ability to make positive changes within their own lives. This may be an informed teacher, an understanding practitioner, a committed family support worker, a visionary charity worker, a skilled play worker/therapist, an effective welfare officer, a reflective SEND teacher, an ethical business owner or a courageous NGO/aid worker.


About the course

The course is structured to enable students to follow their own pathway. Mandatory modules focus on key skills and knowledge, enhancing understanding of how children learn, develop and think and the range of factors that can influence these. The choice of optional modules provides opportunity for further specialisation.

Students will spend 210 hours per year in practice to help prepare them for graduate employment. The Graduate Practitioner pathway of the degree is recognised by the Department for Education as being “Full and Relevant” which means students can be counted in ratios in early years settings (provided they have passed GCSE maths and English (or equivalent) and the practice modules). Practice is assessed through the meeting of Graduate Level Competencies underpinned by the Early Years Educator and QAA benchmarks; or if students choose to select the Early Childhood in Society pathway practice is assessed against the requirements of the Social Pedagogy Standards.


Where is the course taught?

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood in Society is taught face to face and is delivered over three years, full-time study.  

You will also have the opportunity to undertake a placement abroad.


What award will the course lead to?

The BA (Hons) Early Childhood in Society (ECIS) degree will lead to one of the following awards:

  • ECIS (Graduate Practitioner) (assessed practice in an Ofsted registered in years one and two leading to “full and relevant” status. Practice in any regulated setting in year three)
  • ECIS (assessed practice in an Ofsted registered setting in year one, then in any regulated setting in years two and three)


For further information please visit the university’s website. Alternatively, contact Nicola Stobbs at: or Sue Baylis at: