Overview of Social Pedagogy in the UK

Developments of social pedagogy in the UK to date

Unlike in many European countries, developments around social pedagogy are relatively new in the UK. Whilst there has been over 20 years of research into social pedagogy, the first pilot project aimed at developing social pedagogy in residential child care practice was set up in 2007. Since then more and more children’s homes in England and Scotland have begun using social pedagogy as an overarching conceptual framework. Yet, from early on, there has been recognition that social pedagogy should not just be limited to residential settings and could help raise the status of residential child care by being applied more widely. In 2013, The Fostering Network launched the Head, Heart, Hands demonstration programme introducing social pedagogy into foster care. More recently there has also been interest in early intervention and family support services, a government-funded pilot with two Camphill communities for adults with disabilities, creative arts projects drawing on social pedagogy, and an emerging curiosity within social work more widely, early years, schools, youth work and youth offending.

At the same time as these pioneering efforts have started to illustrate the potential of social pedagogy, various universities have developed course modules in social pedagogy as part of degree programmes in youth and community work, social work or working with families. There are also currently two existing BA qualifications in social pedagogy, with more under development.

Importantly, from 2017 there is a new Social Pedagogy Professional Association, which offers a professional home for social pedagogy in the UK. You can find out more about this membership organisation at www.sppa-uk.org.

The graphic below lists organisations that have so far been actively involved in social pedagogy. Whilst it does not show the depth and scale of organisations’ involvement, it illustrates that there is now substantial and widespread interest in social pedagogy.

We acknowledge that there are likely more organisations which should be included on the map and which we aren’t aware of. If you would like us to include your organisation, please email us.