SPDN confirmation

Thank you for registering your place at the next Social Pedagogy Development Network event

Your registration has been completed, and we look forward to seeing you at the event. We will email you with all relevant and final details just before the SPDN. In the meantime you can find out more about social pedagogy and the SPDN below.

What is social pedagogy?

Originally developed in Germany and other European countries, social pedagogy has at its heart a task that is both simple and complex: to help children and young people unfold their potential. The professional’s task is to recognise the unique inner richness and potential in others and help them discover this too. This requires strong and authentic relationships which enable social pedagogues to create learning situations in which children can experience their resourcefulness and develop new abilities.

The appeal of social pedagogy lies in the fact that it is more than just an approach to practice – it is also an ethical orientation that can be applied to whole organisations and in the wider socio-political context. Its holistic orientation gives attention to social issues: promoting human welfare, addressing social inequality and creating conditions in which every person can unfold their potential. As a result, social pedagogy is not just confined to work with children and young people but can apply equally to adult education and social care.

What is the SPDN about?

In 2009, we founded the Social Pedagogy Development Network (SPDN) together with key partners from the Thomas Coram Research Unit, the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care, and Jacaranda Recruitment as a way to connect different developments around social pedagogy in the UK. We wanted to provide a platform for dialogue and learning from each other, sharing experiences and creating further momentum. Very quickly the SPDN has become a grassroots movement for people and organisations who are interested in social pedagogy and want to nurture its development locally and nationally.

The network is underpinned by social pedagogical principles about engaging in open dialogue, of valuing people and their experiences, of connecting with others in a democratic way. As facilitators, our focus lies on providing the conditions for all participants to engage with each other and with those themes or issues that they feel most passionate about, thus laying the ownership for the SPDN in their hands. The SPDN is based on the idea that change happens through people, and their passion to pursue what matters to them is fundamental and therefore worth nurturing. Following Margaret Mead’s words, the SPDN aims to bring together small groups of thoughtful, committed citizens in order to do no less than change the world by developing a better understanding of social pedagogy. You can find out more about our vision for the SPDN here.

What has happened at previous SPDN events?

To give you a flavour of what Social Pedagogy Development Network events are like, we’ve included a section with summaries of previous SPDN events. We have also drawn together a map outlining the developments of social pedagogy in the UK.

Who organises the SPDN?

The Social Pedagogy Development Network is co-ordinated by ThemPra in partnership with Jacaranda Development, the Centre for Understanding Social Pedagogy at the UCL Institute of Education and the Social Pedagogy Professional Association (SPPA). Since 2008, ThemPra, Jacaranda and CUSP have been working together on developing a stronger identity of social pedagogy in the UK and have more recently formed the Social Pedagogy Consortium in order to jointly deliver the learning and development programme on the Head, Heart, Hands programme (led by the Fostering Network). We have also been working together on developing standards in social pedagogy and setting up SPPA. We aim to work collaboratively where possible as we share a vision for social pedagogy in the UK and want to demonstrate the synergies and strength that come from working together.

How is the SPDN funded?

From the very beginning we’ve been keen to keep the SPDN a free forum for anyone interested in social pedagogy. We don’t have external funding and have so far been fortunate to have found organisations that have been happy to host individual events, providing a free venue and refreshments for participants. Our time in organising, co-ordinating and facilitating the SPDN is effectively self-funded – we’re doing this because we believe in the value and importance of creating positive change from the grassroots, with the help of people like you! That’s why we’re looking forward to seeing you at this SPDN event.