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:

New Social Peda-Blogs

For anyone interested in learning more about social pedagogy in practice, check out the following blogs that have been published over the last few weeks:


Spatial social work, social pedagogy and the arrival of COVID-19 in practice: Prospects for new ways of working in uncertain times

By Bianka Lang

Bianka Lang’s practice paper, published in the International Journal of Social Pedagogy, discusses how working with young people in creative ways, can support social workers in understanding how they view and give meaning to the social spaces around them. Further opening up a conversation on how social pedagogical practitioners might practice post Covid-19.

Young people in care: how lockdown provides a haven of security and belonging

By Claire Cameron

In her latest IOE Blog, Prof. Claire Cameron shares examples of how social pedagogical practice is benefitting young people in care amidst the Covid-19 crisis. A reduction of external stressors, a simpler life and closer relationships with carers during lockdown are proving more than just a silver lining.


The art of diamond polishing

By Ed Greenhalgh

In this SPPA blog, Ed Greenhalgh shares his social pedagogy journey, which has taken him to Denmark as part of our EU Leonardo Mobility projects and further to undertaking the BA in Social Pedagogy, Advocacy and Participation and the MA in Social Pedagogy Leadership at UCLan. He outlines how social pedagogy provides a framework for discovering the diamond in every person and helping to make it shine.


The Haltung Hulk

By Dan Arrowsmith

This SPPA blog by Dan Arrowsmith reflects on the deeper meaning of why social workers should be treasured and the core beliefs of why they choose the career in the first place. He poses the key question of how we can create an environment where social workers can harvest their haltung, nourish it, and avoid the outbursts of hulk frustrations.


If you’re interested in writing a blog or a practice paper, please get in touch with SPPA and the International Journal of Social Pedagogy.

Social Pedagogical Leadership – join our next courses

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 three-day 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, 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



1 person (self-funded): £300
1 person (employer-funded): £360



Edinburgh, 4-6 May, 2020

Chelmsford, 8-10 July, 2020


Course Facilitators

Both courses 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.