New online course dates – Developing Relationship-Centred Practice 2021

We’re pleased to announce new course dates for our online course on developing relationship-centred practice, offered with Ali Gardner, co-author of Social Pedagogy and Social Work. This is a facilitated 18-hour online course for practitioners and managers working in the field of social care.


Course Outline:

Over the course sessions, participants will be introduced to a number of tools to develop relational approaches in their practice when working within complex and challenging environments. Drawing on Social Pedagogy theory and principles, this interactive course will focus on the central role of relationships within teams, organisations and working with individuals and families in the community. Our course will be highly relevant for individuals who seek to bring passion, compassion, integrity and creativity to strength-based practice.

We know that individuals accessing social care place the highest value on good relationships. The recent challenges of COVID-19 have reinforced the urgency of relationships and humanity in our work together and with the community. This timely course therefore seeks to build individual resilience and leadership through strengthening the role of relationships at a practice and organisational level as we move forward.


Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the online course, participants will be able to:

  1. Apply relational approaches to support strength-based practice.
  2. Understand the role of learning in facilitating well-being, resilience and empowerment.
  3. Develop relational leadership skills supporting professional practice in complex environments.
  4. Adopt a range of reflective tools to enhance relational practice
  5. Look forward to future practice with a renewed focus on the values, key purpose and goals of their work.



The course will be delivered by Ali Gardner (Head, Hearts, Hands in Practice) and Gabriel Eichsteller (ThemPra, a social enterprise leading social pedagogy developments in the UK). With their experience in social work practice, policy, education, training, publishing and international projects in the field of social pedagogy, Ali and Gabriel are well placed to support learning in this area, enabling participants to further strengthen their practice through greater theoretical insight and clear commitment to ethical action.


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 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 31st August. Please note that VAT is not applicable.



The 6 sessions will take place on the following mornings from 9.30am -12.30pm: 20th September, 27th September, 4th October, 18th October, 25th October, 1st November, 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 or Ali.

Human Learning Systems – e-book launch and webinar

Human Learning Systems: Public Service for the Real World

In association with Dr Toby Lowe and the wider Human Learning Systems Collaborative, we have come together to write and launch a new e-book Human Learning Systems: Public Service for the Real World, a resource and guide for organisations or teams working in public service who feel they want to change the current way they’re working. Human Learning Systems offers an alternative approach to funding, leading and managing all forms of social intervention and public service and features nearly 50 case studies from across the world.

If you design, deliver or work with people and are dissatisfied with the current processes and ways of working, HLS offers an alternative approach to public management based on being human, continuously learning and nurturing healthy systems. It fits really well with social pedagogy and, as the case studies by Empowerment and Lighthouse show, HLS can create the organisational conditions for social pedagogical practice to thrive.

Ahead of the e-book launch, you can sign up to join us for an exclusive webinar on the 17th June. At the webinar, you will hear from practitioners on how they have been using the Human Learning Systems approach to transform the way in which they work. Click here to register.

Creating Hope in Dystopia – a sneak peek at the programme

‘Creating Hope in Dystopia’ is the conference for you if you are concerned or even overwhelmed by the increasing social inequalities and divisions we’re all confronted with in day-to-day practice. How can we create hope, not just for the people who are most affected by these challenges, but also for ourselves? And how can we face these seemingly insurmountable issues 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? To help us explore meaningful answers to these questions, we’re bringing together an excellent line-up of keynote presenters:

  • Towards a Planetary Social Pedagogy: Arto Salonen (Professor for Social Pedagogy, University of Eastern Finland) on extending our perspective to encompass the ecosystem that we’re part of (see details).
  • Social Pedagogy and Social Education: Karla Villaseñor (Autonomous University of Puebla) on what we can learn from the current situation in Mexico.
  • Play in an Anxious World: Carrie Lobman (Rutgers University) on the role of creativity and playfulness in thriving amidst uncertainty (see details).
  • Rehumanising Public Service through Human Learning Systems: Toby Lowe (Centre for Public Impact) on the paradigm shift away from New Public Management to create space for social pedagogy (see details).
  • Working with Complexity and Gut Instinct: Lotte Harbo and Charlotte Vange Løvstad (VIA University College Aarhus) on the role of intuition and evidence-based manuals (see details).

Add to that a broad range of interactive workshops, roundtable conversations and presentation sessions, as well as lots of interaction and networking opportunities, and you’ll find yourself in highly stimulating surroundings!

If you know us, you’ll be aware that we want to make a genuine positive difference in the world – we’re a social enterprise for a reason. That’s why many of our learning resources are free and why we try hard to keep any charges for longer learning events as low as we can. As a member of the SPDN, you get $25 off the full conference fee. And until the end of May, you can still receive the early bird rate of just $110 for the full 3-day programme (including all recordings). Best of all, if your organisation won’t be funding your conference fee, you only pay the $65 self-funder rate (that’s just over £45). So there’s every reason to join us!

virtual Social Pedagogy Development Network – 23/06/21

The SPDN is back with a free virtual open space event as part of the international online conference ‘Creating Hope in Dystopia’

We warmly invite you to join our next virtual Social Pedagogy Development Network event on June 23rd, 2021 from 10.00am-12.00pm. The virtual gathering offers 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. For us it’s about enabling a thousand flowers to bloom – so instead of the conformity of monocultures you’ll get a flavour of the rich diversity in which social pedagogy is growing in different practice settings.

The virtual gathering offers an open space for you to talk about what matters most to you with people who share your interest and thus help shape the social pedagogy discourse. If you’re interested in learning a lot more about social pedagogy, then join one of our experiential online courses or register for the international online conference ‘Creating Hope in Dystopia’, which this event is part of.


Creating Hope in Dystopia – join the global dialogue on social pedagogy and social education

Creating Hope in Dystopia – the international online conference co-hosted by the Social Pedagogy Association, ThemPra and UCLan – is drawing nearer. The conference programme is coming together nicely, with a growing range of keynote presentations exploring complexity-informed practice, play and imagination in an anxious world, and how we can expand our social pedagogical perspective to the entire ecosystem.

We would love to have an even greater variety of contributions and hope you’ll be interested in sending us your proposal for interactive workshops, roundtable conversations, formal presentations (live or pre-recorded) or any other contributions (in English or Spanish). 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 by 30th April. (We will accept late submissions subject to remaining availability.)

Just click one of the buttons below to make sure you’re part of the global conversation on social pedagogy and social education.



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We look forward to seeing you at the conference!