Our Projects in the UK
Over the last few years we have been developing projects aimed at a holistic and
sustainable implementation of social pedagogy into organisations. For this purpose we
have worked in partnership with the following organisations:
'Head, Heart, Hands Programme', The Fostering Network
As part of a Social Pedagogy Consortium with Jacaranda Development and Prof. Pat Petrie from the Institute of Education, we are involved in The Fostering Network's demonstration programme around social pedagogy called 'Head, Heart, and Hands'. Click here to read more
The programme, which will take place across four demonstration sites in England and two in Scotland, will be independently evaluated. ThemPra will support the fostering services at Aberlour Fostering and Orkney Islands Council ( which are a joint demonstration site), Edinburgh City Council, Staffordshire County Council, as well as Capstone Foster Care (South West) Ltd. The programme is currently well under way and is already inspiring many foster carers and social workers in the sites. You can find out more about the programme on the official Head, Heart, Hands website and also read The Fostering Network's summary paper.
Aberlour Sycamore Services, Kirkcaldy
As the first Scottish organisation to show an interest in social pedagogy, we have been working together with Sycamore since autumn 2008. Click here to read more
This has included 9-day social pedagogy courses for professionals across the entire organisation, regular recall days for course participants, 3-day social pedagogical leadership courses for existing and potential leaders at Sycamore and Aberlour, a joint EU Youth in Action project, and involvement in ThemPra's EU Leonardo Mobility project. Aberlour's Fostering Service, 'Sycamore Families', is also working closely together with us as part of the Fostering Network's 'Head, Heart, and Hands Project'. For a new early intervention project in Dundee, run collaboratively by Aberlour in partnership with three other Scottish charities, we facilitated a 9-day social pedagogy course for the entire team.
That social pedagogy has had a profound effect on the culture at Sycamore is undeniable. Stevie Rogers, one of our course participants, summed up what social pedagogy means to him: 'Eureka, I think I have got it. Is Social Pedagogy going to your place of work, or indeed, approaching everyday-life with a passion, a sense of adventure and, despite the difficulties, HAVE FUN doing it. That's my latest guess but I will continue to explore and spread the word'. Another course participant and now a social pedagogy champion in the service, Malcolm Christie, recently submitted 'Social Pedagogy - recapture the joy of what we do' as an idea at the SSSC/IRISS Workforce of the Future Challenge - it made its way into the top 12 ideas! The impact of the initial course was independently evaluated by Ian Milligan from SIRCC, and his insightful report can be found here ...
Kibble Education and Care Centre, Paisley
In partnership with the University of the West of Scotland, Kibble are currently developing university-accredited modules in social pedagogy, and we're part of this project. Click here to read more
Our contribution so far has been to facilitate the introductory module on social pedagogy, a 6-day experiential learning course. We are in the process of supporting internal trainers towards delivering this module on their own. This is also complemented by further modules currently under development, which will lead towards a BA qualification. For further details please read Kibble's workshop presentation at the CELCIS conference 2012.
Staffordshire County Council
In spring 2010 we started to work with Staffordshire County Council on a social pedagogy implementation strategy for their Residential Service. Click here to read more
The project aimed to create a hybrid between the whole-systems approach we developed for Essex and the DfE pilot projects managed by TCRU, in which Staffordshire was involved as a pilot site. Since then we've been providing 9-day courses for staff, team development days, a leadership course and strategic development work. You can find out more about the project's success in an article by The Guardian.
Essex County Council
From September 2008 to October 2011 we were co-operating with Essex's Residential Service to make social pedagogy part of every element of how children in Essex are being looked after. Click here to read more and download our Essex report.
Edinburgh City Council
In early 2012 we began work with Edinburgh City Council's residential services by facilitating a 9-day course on social pedagogy. Click here to read more
With several of its residential managers having participated in our previous courses for SIRCC and senior managers keen interest in developing social pedagogy within a Scottish context, we're really excited about this project and hope to continue the partnership with residential services. Michael Greig, one of the course participants, has recently published a great example of how he used social pedagogy in practice. You can access it here. Together with a few other colleagues, Michael has set up Edinburgh Momentum as an initiative to keep promoting social pedagogy within and outwith Edinburgh.
Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care/CELCIS
We have also undertaken a course programme for CELCIS (formerly SIRCC) to introduce organisations in Scotland to social pedagogy through awareness-raising seminars and 9-day courses. Click here to read more
So far we have facilitated two awareness-raising seminars and two 9-day courses with participants from a range of organisations. CELCIS also part-funded and evaluated our 9-day course with Orkney Islands Council. The interest in Scotland has been overwhelming, and we're hoping to contribute to developing a Scottish social pedagogy that builds on similar existing traditions.
In mid-February 2011 we were far north supporting the development of social pedagogy with an 11-day implementation programme involving professionals from residential child care, field work, and schools. Click here to read more
The course was independently evaluated by Evelyn Vrouwenfelder from CELCIS. The report, available here, shows a great insight into how participants have developed social pedagogy within their practice. One participant stated: 'I am working with a boy who has attention difficulties in the classroom and he talked to me for a good half an hour and showing me web pages of boats and saying he’s a skipper and
what you have to wear, how you have to move etc... And I said to him, ‘You’ve got other people’s lives in your hands and its very important.’ And I use that in talking to other people, teachers - who tend to talk very negatively about him - and explain a bit more about who he is and what he does. And they are really surprised but it changes their perspective on him.' (p.2)
The report also highlighted the quality of the social pedagogy course: 'We can conclude that the training has had a significant and substantial impact on every participant. Each person interviewed or observed during the evaluation process was able to indicate how the training had influenced their practice and their inter-agency working - albeit in different ways and at different levels - and was able to give evidence for this.' (p.39).
In partnership with the Thomas Coram Research Unit we were involved in a pilot programme for three of Walsall's residential homes. The project intended to bring together the strengths and experiences of all partners in an innovative way. Click here to read more
Independent long-term research by Kate Skinner and Mark Smith is due to be published later in 2012. In the meantime we've been continuing to support Walsall through ongoing reflective development session for the teams. Walsall will also take part in our 2013 Leonardo Mobility project.
Belfast Health & Social Care Trust
In summer 2009 we started a 7-day course with 2 residential teams in Belfast, which was very well received and brought social pedagogy to Northern Ireland. Click here to read more
In the winter 2010/2011 we ran another course for Belfast with 2 new homes, and their short-term residential homes undertook two 6-day courses the following year. We are also continuing to be in dialogue to support the systemic development of social pedagogy within the organisation, for instance through regular team development sessions.
EU Leonardo Mobility project
As part of our work to help organisations explore the potential of social pedagogy, we've secured funding to enable practitioners to undertake a 2-week practice placement in two different Danish organisations. The 2012 project included Care Visions and Lancashire County Council as our partner organisations, with our Danish co-ordination partner Common View facilitating the two 4-day placements. Click here to read more and download our participants' reports.
EU Youth in Action project
Whilst there is increasing evidence of why professionals find social pedagogy beneficial for their practice, we've been wanting for a long time to start a project enabling children in care in the UK to experience what it's like to be in care in Denmark and be cared for by social pedagogues. Click here to read more
In early 2012 we facilitated a feasibility visit between a Danish, Scottish, and English children's home, with 2 young people from each home participating to flesh out ideas for a Youth in Action project. During a sunny weekend in late January, the participants came together in Oxfordshire to get to know each other and develop ideas for future intercultural dialogue. To get to know each other we undertook outdoor group challenges (for example an obstacle course, experiential learning activities, a night walk and a bonfire) as well as some indoor acticities that had a stronger focus on teasing out the children's ideas about getting in contact with each other and what a potential youth exchange and its creative evaluation could look like. The style of all activities was largely underpinned by an informal character, which was very much appreciated by the participants. Apart from presenting the idea of the project, proposing the programme of the meeting and leading the activities, the group was constantly involved in shaping the process of the visit and thoroughly enjoyed the get-together. We are hoping to build on this by securing further funding for a youth exchange.
NCERCC Social Pedagogy pilot
As our first major project, the NCERCC social pedagogy pilots in 2007 put social pedagogy in the limelight. As part of the pilots we developed a 6-day course, in which practitioners from 6 children's homes from the Together Trust and Lancashire County Council participated. Click here to read our report on the course content.
Portsmouth City Council
With Portsmouth we piloted a short course of 3 days focussing on creativity and well-being as core elements of a social pedagogic approach. We ran two courses: one with residential care workers and foster carers, and one with a group of youth workers and social work students. Both courses were independently evaluated by the University of Portsmouth.
In addition to social pedagogy courses, we are also active in co-ordinating the Social Pedagogy Development Network. The network has been set up in partnership with other key organisations, notably the Thomas Coram Research Unit and Jacaranda Development, in order to connect the various minor and major activities around the country with regards to social pedagogy. As increasingly more organisations are exploring the relevance of social pedagogy for their practice, we want to provide a democratic platform for exchange and the cohesive construction of a UK tradition of social pedagogy. The start-off event for the Social Pedagogy Development Network was in Colchester on November 27, 2009, and the next event took place in Staffordshire on June 18, 2010. Future meetings were held in Derbyshire on November 5, 2010, at Camphill Community Glencraig on April 1, 2011, in Paisley on October 7, 2011, at IT Sligo on May 25, 2012, and at Camphill Community Aberdeen on October 19, 2012. More information about the network and how to participate can be found here ...