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Image DfE 2009 -2011, pilot in English residential child care homes

The Fostering Network - Head, Heart, Hands


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Practice & Development

 Social Pedagogy is practiced widely in continental Europe. In the UK, our understanding of Social Pedagogy is growing and thereby a construction of UK Social Pedagogy is taking place. There are a number of developments you can read about here, for example the DfE funded a pilot project that started in 2009 and was evaluated in 2011. Essex County Council developed a social pedagogic approach to practice in residential care. During 2010, Derbyshire County Council started a journey in developing social pedagogic practice in residential care and contract care services and in 2013 have opted for Social Pedagogy as the underpinning framework for all work with children in care. The London Borough of Hackney has recruited Social Pedagogues to Social Pedagogy roles within its virtual school. Suffolk County Council are training staff teams in children's centres and residential homes. Staffordshire County Council are training residential staff teams and in Spring of 2013 have supported this development by recruitment Social Pedagogues. 


A grass roots movement, the Social Pedagogy Development Network, connects organisations and professionals who are actively interested in or developing Social Pedagogy. Click here for more information


 This map shows some of the Social Pedagogy projects across the UK.  

See the National Projects page for information on the Head, Heart and Hands programme, led by the Fostering Network

This is to name but a few examples of Social Pedagogy development; below you will find more detail on each of these developments, as well as some shared stories from individuals and organisations. 

If you would like to contribute to this section, please contact us at (please use the @ sign, we've typed this out to prevent us from receiving spam mail - thanks!)


Uploaded 20.01.17 Social Pedagogy Standards and Charter

Together with Jacaranda, ThemPra and UCL Institute of Eduction we have developed the SPPA Standards in Social Pedagogy Proficiency.

The Social Pedagogy Charter outlines our values and aspirations and forms the foundation that informs Social Pedagogy in practice in the UK.


 Uploaded 01.06.16

Nationwide Head, Heart, Hands newsletter

This e-newsletter focuses on how foster carers and social work practitioners use Social Pedagogy. It features latest developments in Social Pedagogy, narratives on how theory links to practice, events, book reviews, links and other useful information.

Please click here for the tenth edition

Please click here for the ninth edition 

Please click here for the eighth edition

Please click here for the seventh edition

Please click here for the sixth edition

Please click here for the fith edition

Please click here for the fourth edition

 Please click here for the third edition

Please click here for the second edition

Please click here for the first edition


Uploaded 25.02.16

Starting Shot for Social Pedagogy Professional Association (SPAA)

Scaling up Social Pedagogy has received major grant funding to set up a Social Pedagogy Professional Association. The main aim of this UK wide professional membership organisation is to develop standards and qualifications in social pedagogy and hence shaping and contributing to high quality social pedagogical practice and theory.  

Find more information and contact details here . _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

Uploaded 02.06.15

Social pedagogic youth academy in Gloucestershire

Oldland Parish Council has started a new and exciting youth academy initiative underpinned by social pedagogic principles and theory. The main aim is to improve quality of life by helping to bring out the rich qualities in young people. The youth academy offers a broad range of fun and engaging practical activities for young people from year six.

You can find the youth academy information booklet here .

Click here for a 3 months progress report.


Uploaded 25.11.14

Head, Heart, Hands- positive signs at the half-way point

After 2 years of introducing Social Pedagogy into foster care in seven different sites in England and Scotland, this briefing summarises the findings from the programme at the halfway point. The data that has been collected so far suggests that Social Pedagogy is beginning to have an impact on how foster carers approach their work.

Access the briefing here


 Uploaded 04.11.14

 Social Pedagogy Momentum Bulletin

Nicola Hill, a foster carer and participant of the Head, Heart, Hands programme, published a monthly nationwide bulletin on Social Pedagogy. This newsletter was a forum for everybody to share ideas about Social Pedagogy, feedback on training, book reviews, events, activities etc. The eleventh issue is the final issue of the bulletin as the Fostering Network has agreed to publish a bi-monthly newsletter from now on.

 Access the 11th issue here

Access the 10th issue here

 Access the 9th issue here

Access the 8th issue here

Access the 7th issue here

Access the 6th issue here

Access the 5th issue here

Access the 4th issue here

 Access the 3rd issue here

Access the 2nd issue here

The 1st issue is unfortunately not available online at present.


 Uploaded 20.09.14

Derbyshire: Unifi project and Social Pedagogy

Derbyshire’s Unifi parenting project seeks to create parenting model for the children in the local authority’s care that is as close as possible to normal parenting. As part of a wider culture of change within the council, that included training in Social Pedagogy for staff members, the Unifi project has so far been a great success. Please read a Guardian article or access Derbyshire’s website for more information and a video on Social Pedagogy training.


Uploaded 26.07.14

Children’s services directors endorse a social pedagogical approach

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) stated in their 2013 report that the British care sector has a poor track record of meeting the needs of adolescents. They specifically mentioned Social Pedagogy as an underpinning conceptual framework that can improve outcomes for looked after children and increase job satisfaction of staff members. Please find the article and ADCS reports here


Updated May, 2013
  •  Watch this amazing video from Derbyshire . Staff and young people talk about Social Pedagogy developments and what it means to them.

  • See here for more information on the Head, Heart, Hands programme , led by the Fostering Network. Professor Pat Petrie, ThemPra Social Pedagogy and Jacaranda Development/Recruitment are proud to be collaborating as the Social Pedagogy Consortium, working with the Fostering Network and seven organisations in England and Scotland.  

      Updated February, 2013

  • Developing Social Pedagogy with Children's Centre staff teams in Suffolk - read more here and here .

  • Read about ThemPra's EU funded mobility project here

  • As part of Radio EDUtalk's weekly features on a range of educational themes, hear a discussion on Social Pedagogy, "social pedagogy: Scottish reflections on Danish child care practice". Broadcast April, 2012. Listen here.

  • The CELCIS evaluation of Social Pedagogy development at Orkney Islands Council. 

  • Time to reflect

Updated 05.03.12 - an article submitted to Community Care by Professor Claire Cameron provides a reflection on the development of social pedagogic practice in the UK in recent years . Read the unabridged article here


Social Pedagogy Development in Derbyshire

Updated February 2012

Head, Heart and Hands - Improving Outcomes for Children and Young People in Care in Derbyshire

Following research by the Commissioning Improvement Manager for Children in Care into the social pedagogic approach and associated improved outcomes for children in care, evidenced by research from the TCRU, Derbyshire started on their journey of discovery and developmenent. Read more about Social Pedagogy in Derbyshire here 

Sing Up

Updated February 2012

Read about Sing Up and its social pedagogic base, here

 Centre for Understanding Social Pedagogy (CUSP)

The CUSP study group is a post-graduate study group that meets at the IOE to discuss Social Pedagogy theory and research, at 5 30 on the first Monday of the month.

 Practice Example - Edinburgh

 Updated February 2012

Read a practice example , including Background, Intervention and Reflections from a practitioner from Edinburgh.

Practice Presentation - Quarriers

Updated February 2012

Piloting Social Pedagogy at Quarriers , Claire Cameron, ARU and Chris Chart, Quarriers

Reflections from Field Trips

Read reflections on observing Social Pedagogy in Denmark April 2011 , by Jonathan Stanleyof NCERCC

Read reflections from the Jacaranda field trip to Freiburg in March 2011 , by Gabriell Gerome of Core Assets

Updated November 2010 

In October 2010 Jacaranda ran a field trip to Germany, "Social Pedagogy in Action". Read the unmediated report from Charlotte Levene, NCB Associate, here

Sleeping on the edge of a cliff

 This image was taken by Snake Team during an experiential educational trip. Experiential Education is a goal- and process-oriented holistic intervention using a medium that is very different from the participants' everyday life. Snake Team presented and facilitated sessions during the Jacaranda field trip in October 2011.

  • The Institute of Childcare and Social Education (ICSE)

Updated August 2011

The Institute of Childcare and Social Education (ICSE) has opened its doors to members.The aim is to raise the profile of a social pedagogic approach to work with children and to make international links to maximise best practice. Read more here

  • London Borough of Hackney - and Social Pedagogy

Updated March 2010

  • Essex County Council 

  • Updated August 2011 - Essex County Council have been undertaking a social pedagogy pilot for the last 3 years. Despite a recent Cabinet decision to become a commissioning local authority and therefore close all of their mainstream children’s homes for strategic purposes, the pilot has led to significant improvements in the care culture within the Essex homes. A recent article in the GoodEnoughCaring Journal highlights some of the developments described by Viki Bird, a residential care worker in one of the homes. You can read the full article here

  • Overview: Residential Services Social Pedagogy Project

  • Social Pedagogy from the perspective of practitioners

    This is a collation of extracts from Essex participants' course assignments. They offer an excellent insight into what Social Pedagogy means for frontline practitioners in the children's homes, how they make sense of its theories and concepts in their practice, and how Social Pedagogy has become central to their way of thinking, feeling, and acting.

  • "Go Outdoors!"

Updated August 2010

‘Go Outdoors!’ is a joint publication of the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care (SIRCC), Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, and the Scottish Government. More importantly for UK-wide practitioners, the guidance has been endorsed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW), and RoSPA. Therefore it should also be a helpful guiding tool for good practice beyond Scotland.

From a social pedagogic perspective, taking risks is important to children’s well-being in many aspects: It helps them keep healthy and enhances their resilience, enables them to develop and learn, influences their perception of themselves and their self-esteem, and provides excitement and pleasure. For this, children need to have free space and opportunities to be actively exploring their environment; they need to be allowed to take risks in order to develop ‘risk competence’. What social pedagogues mean by this is the process of becoming knowledgeable and skilled in assessing risks, thus acquiring the competence to take risks more safely.

Children who have had opportunities to develop their physical abilities and motor skills, a good sense of balance and rhythm, and to experience their bodily limits will be more ‘risk competent’ in activities like climbing a tree than children who have little or no sense of coordination, of gravity, of how much weight their arms will hold. This makes it not only unsafe to climb a tree, it affects the entire everyday life: research suggests that accidents are more likely to have serious consequences for those children who are not used to taking risks and have not developed ‘risk competence’ than for those who have learned how to run without losing control, how to land when jumping, how to fall without hurting themselves.

‘Go Outdoors!’ is a new document bringing together guidance and good practice to help practitioners carry out their duty of care safely and responsibly. It aims to tackle the risk-averse culture that sees children miss out on outdoor activities because staff fear being sued or blamed if an accident occurs. Covering outdoor activities such as short outings, bike rides, visiting parks, the beach or the countryside, the guidance helps understand the legal requirements and demystifies commonly held beliefs.

‘When children spend time in the great outdoors, getting muddy, getting wet, getting stung by nettles, they learn important lessons – what hurts, what is slippery, what you can trip over or fall from’, Peter Cornall is quoted as saying. The fact that he is the Head of Leisure Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is noteworthy.

  • An evaluation of a Social Pedagogy training programme offered to a cross-section of Sycamore services staff, including residential workers, foster-carers and education staff. The evaluation found that they all found it highly relevant to their work. One of the key conclusions of the evaluation was that; this training programme has developed the reflective capacity of the participants; it has enabled them to think about different ways of working with young people and of drawing on theories to inform their work.

  • Hugh Morgan from Break Charity wrote an article that gives some insight into their attempts to get to grips with the concept of Social Pedagogy, which lead to the employment of 6 Social Pedagogues, read full article.

  • Phillip Craig discusses how Hammersmith & Fulham Children’s Residential Adolescent Service is aiming to implement Social Pedagogy,  read more

  • Stefan Kleipoedszus, Social Pedagogue from Germany who has worked for 2.5 years in the UK and is now involved in consultancy work on Social Pedagogy, reflects on the differences between Social Pedagogic practice and practice in the UK. He states that it is the small and subtle interactions between the Social Pedagogue and the service user in the everyday life that makes the difference … he questions: Is Social Pedagogy just a new label for something we already do in Residential Child Care?

  •  Reflections from Lotte Harbo, a Danish pedagogue on the use of the "Personal Pedagogue" in professional practice in the UK