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Happy New Year! To continue to support your social pedagogy journey in 2024, we’re delighted to share with you a few upcoming events over the coming months. With all our online courses, we’ve decided to delay our fee increase – sadly inevitable given the high inflation levels over the past few years. You can register by the end of January to pay just the current rate.

Developing Relationship-Centred Practice

New online cohort starts 26 January 6 x 3-hr sessions – £300 (until 31 January)

There’s still time to join our online course for anyone in social care, social work, education and other settings where relationships matter. We’ll introduce you to many of the key concepts in social pedagogy to explore how you can centre your practice around meaningful authentic relationships and ensure your values are at the heart of your work. Find out more and register now via this link.

Making Co-Production Meaningful

New online cohort starts 25 February 5 x 3-hr sessions – £250 (until 31 January)

Co-production has become a popular term, yet it can be challenging to make it a meaningful process for everyone involved. Designed for anyone working in public service, such as social workers, educators, health professionals, community workers, managers, and leaders, our course will introduce you to the key principles of social pedagogy and Human Learning Systems to help you to co-create change together with the people you support. Interested? Then click here to find out more and register.

Relational Leadership

New online cohort starts 24 April 9 x 3-hr sessions – £450 (until 31 January)

Whether you’re planning to progress your career in 2024 or already an experienced leader, our Relational Leadership course could be just what you need. It’s one of the first courses to draw on Human Learning Systems, exploring how HLS can enable purpose-driven leadership in complex environments across organisations and local systems. Learn how you can be an authentic leader who inspires curiosity, connection and creativity. You can find all relevant details about the course here.

As a social enterprise, we will also continue to run free learning events open to anyone, in particular our new monthly opportunity to join Learning Out Loud.

Interested in cultivating your learning mindset within a supportive group? Then join us any second Friday of the month from 1pm-1.50pm (UK times). In Learning Out Loud we use both narrative and structured methods to reflect on a recent learning experience. Participants in our first session were amazed by how effective and appreciative it was to learn out loud with like-minded people. Join us for free by clicking here.

Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Social Pedagogy – Open Course


Join our brand new qualification

We’re pleased to announce the first open course forming part of our new Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Social Pedagogy. This is an excellent personal and professional development opportunity for anyone interested in social pedagogy. The 47-credit qualification is regulated by Ofqual and divided into 7 units:

(Unit 1) Key theories and principles in social pedagogy
This unit will explore key theories and principles of social pedagogy. A brief overview of its history, the key thinkers who have shaped its European/UK development and social pedagogy’s relationship with social justice will enable you to understand social pedagogy today and how it can be applied across different fields of practice and across the life course.
(Unit 2) Learning perspectives on human development
This unit will introduce you to key learning theories and principles around holistic learning and human development. Using experiential learning activities, this unit will enable you to develop an understanding of how relationships and well-being affect learning processes, and vice versa, and how they can create learning opportunities in everyday practice.
(Unit 3) Communication and understanding lifeworlds
In this unit you will explore how verbal and non-verbal communication can impact on our relationships, information sharing and perception of each other as individuals and professionals. It will introduce you to key communication theories, link these to practice and emphasise the importance of giving and receiving authentic feedback.
(Unit 4) Building meaningful relationships
This unit will focus on establishing, maintaining and promoting meaningful relationships with people and within inter-professional practice. Drawing on care ethics, you will explore various theories and principles, such as reciprocity, authenticity, empathy, trust and equality, that seek to include individuals in wider society and ensure that their diversity is recognised as valuable.
(Unit 5) Creativity in working with individuals, groups, and communities
The unit will introduce you to the power of creativity when working with individuals, groups and communities. It takes a broad definition of creativity, which similarly to multiple intelligences considers every individual as having unique creative potential.
(Unit 6) Safer practice from a social pedagogical perspective
Through this unit you will gain social pedagogical perspectives on safer practice. You will explore how you can best balance safe practice with the need to develop risk competence in other people – their ability to understand, assess and manage risks themselves. You will also learn about the role of children’s and human rights in framing safer practice by considering in particular the right to the best interest of the child/adult, their right to be involved in decisions that affect them, their right not to be discriminated against and their right to survival and development.
(Unit 7) Observation and reflective practice within a social pedagogical culture
In this unit you will explore the role of reflection within social pedagogy, highlighting the importance of making observations that avoid interpretations or judgments. By engaging with different reflection and appreciative inquiry methods, you will become familiar with practical and thorough reflective processes that are solution-oriented and thus enable you to develop your practice further.

The qualification consists of our 8-day, face-to-face course, which draws on experiential, active and reflective learning methods to:

  • Develop practice by integrating social pedagogical theories and principles
  • Practice with greater confidence, intention and creativity
  • Enhance important interpersonal skills such as communication, relational and reflective skills

You will have access to our Moodle virtual learning environment and be supported in your learning and assessment through a variety of tasks, including some written and reflective work, presentation, and a creative scrapbook.

The qualification is approved by the Social Pedagogy Professional Association and meets its Standards of Proficiency in Social Pedagogy. As a graduate you may carry the title of Social Pedagogy Practitioner. The qualification is also accepted as an entry requirement by the University of Central Lancashire for their BA in Social Pedagogy, Advocacy and Participation.


Dates and Location

The open course will be offered by ThemPra and hosted by the University of Central Lancashire at their campus in Preston. The dates are:

  • 4th to 6th July, 2018
  • 25th and 26th July, 2018
  • 3rd to 5th September, 2018

All days are 9.30am to 4.30pm, and we ask you to take part in all dates.



The cost for the whole qualification is £2,400 (no VAT applicable), which you can pay in two instalments – one upon registration and the other upon commencing the assessment process. The fee includes the £350 learner registration fee, which we pay to the awarding organisation Crossfields Institute. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further details.


Next Steps

If you’re interested in finding out more, please get in touch with us. We’re happy to answer any further questions. You can also download the application pack here.

Recognising Potential – the Social Pedagogy Diamond

‘A child has a hundred possibilities:
A child has a hundred languages,
A hundred hands,
A hundred thoughts.
S/he has a hundred ways of thinking,
A hundred ways of playing,
A hundred ways of talking.’

(Loris Malaguzzi, Italian pedagogue and founder of Reggio Emilia)


The Diamond Model is one of the most powerful concepts in social pedagogy and highlights that each person has a wealth of resources to offer which professionals can draw upon in order to empower people to create meaningful change in their lives. The model is a constant reminder that, as practitioners, we can only facilitate change in another person if we focus on uncovering and nurturing their potential, and support them in bringing out their inner diamonds.

ThemPra’s Social Pedagogy Diamond course outlines the overarching aims and aspirations of social pedagogy and illustrates the role of social pedagogical practitioners to help children, young people or other individuals across the age range to discover their innate potential and resources. As an introductory 3-day course aiming to raise awareness and create further interest in social pedagogy, the course will enable you to experientially engage with core social pedagogical concepts and to explore the relevance of social pedagogy for your practice. Following the Diamond Model, we will explore how you can enhance children’s/adults’ well-being and happiness, create holistic learning opportunities and further strengthen their relationships in ways that empower the people you support in your practice.

The Diamond course is facilitated over 3 consecutive days using a variety of learning methods to make social pedagogy become real – through experiential learning activities, group discussions, theoretical inputs, reflection and action planning on how you can help other people shine. If you’re interested in the course, please download our brochure, which includes the registration form for our next Social Pedagogy Diamond course in Glasgow on 21-23 March. Alternatively, you can stay informed by joining our emailing list, liking us on our Facebook page or getting in touch with any questions via email.



The Diamond Model explained:

ThemPra’s Diamond Model (Eichsteller & Holthoff, 2012) symbolizes one of the most fundamental underpinning principles of social pedagogy: there is a diamond within all of us. As human beings we are all precious and have a rich variety of knowledge, skills and abilities. Not all diamonds are polished and sparkly, but all have the potential to be. Similarly, every person has the potential to shine out – and social pedagogy is about supporting them in this. Therefore, social pedagogy has four core aims that are closely linked: well-being and happiness, holistic learning, relationship, and empowerment.


Well-being and happiness:

The overarching aim of all social pedagogic practice is to provide well-being and happiness, not on a short-term needs-focused basis, but sustainably, through a rights-based approach. While the terms ‘well-being’ and ‘happiness’ are sometimes seen as one and the same, in our understanding they are notionally different: happiness describes a present state whereas well-being describes a long-lasting sense of physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. In combination we can get a holistic view of a person’s well-being and happiness. Importantly, well-being and happiness are very individual and subjective: what causes happiness is highly individual. As a result social pedagogical practice is very context-specific and highly responsive to the individual rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.


Holistic learning:

‘Learning is the pleasant anticipation of one’s self’, according to the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk. In this sense, holistic learning mirrors the aim of well-being and happiness – it must be seen as contributing to, or enhancing, our well-being. Learning is more than what happens at school, it is a holistic process of realizing our own potential for learning and growth, which can take place in every situation that offers a learning opportunity. Holistic learning is a life-long process involving ‘head, heart, and hands’ (Pestalozzi). Social pedagogy is about creating learning opportunities, so that people get a sense of their own potential and how they have developed. As we are all unique, so is our potential for learning and our way of learning and development.



Central to achieving these two aims is the pedagogic relationship. Through the supportive relationship with the social pedagogue a person can experience that someone cares for and about them, that they can trust somebody. This is about giving them the social skills to be able to build strong positive relationships with others. Therefore the pedagogic relationship must be a personal relationship between human beings – social pedagogues make use of their personality and have to be authentic in the relationship, which is not the same as sharing private matters. So the pedagogic relationship is professional and personal at the same time, thus requiring from the social pedagogue to be constantly reflective.



Alongside the relationship, empowerment is crucial in order to ensure that an individual experiences a sense of control over their life, feels involved in decisions affecting them, and is able to make sense of their own universe. Empowerment also means that the individual is able to take on ownership and responsibility for their own learning and their own well-being and happiness, as well as their relationship with the community. Social pedagogy is therefore about supporting people’s empowerment, their independence as well as interdependence.


Positive Experiences:

In order to realize these core aims, social pedagogy has to be about providing positive experiences. The power of experiencing something positive – something that makes someone happy, something they have achieved, a new skill they have learned, the caring support from someone else – has a double impact: it raises the individuals self-confidence and feeling of self-worth, so it reinforces their sense of well-being, of learning, of being able to form a strong relationship, or of feeling empowered; and by strengthening their positives the person also improves their weak sides so that negative notions about their self fade away.



Due to its inter-disciplinary roots, social pedagogy offers a conceptual framework that can help guide holistic practice. As an academic discipline, social pedagogy uses related research, theories and concepts from other sciences to ensure a holistic perspective. This means that in realizing those core aims there is a lot of inspiration to be taken from what research and concepts tell us about related areas. All four aims point at the fact that social pedagogy is about process. Well-being and happiness, holistic learning, relationship, empowerment – none of these are a product that, once achieved, can be forgotten. This is why it is important to perceive them as fundamental human rights that we all constantly need to work on if we want to ensure that nobody’s rights are violated or neglected.

This perspective of social pedagogy means that it is dynamic, creative, and process-orientated rather than mechanical, procedural, and automated. It demands from social pedagogues to be a whole person, not just a pair of hands. It is therefore not surprising that many professionals in the UK and elsewhere have taken a keen interest in social pedagogy and have found it possible to relate both at a personal and professional level to its ethical orientation and ambition to provide children and young people with the best possible life experiences.