Social Pedagogy in the UK today: findings from evaluations of training and development initiatives

Claire Cameron


Since 2007, workplace based social pedagogic intervention has been taking place in the UK. Until that point, social pedagogy was largely unknown within children’s services practice or training. This paper synthesises findings from 10 evaluation studies that examined social pedagogic intervention in the form of training and development activity in children’s residential care, foster care and related services. The findings are presented in relation to four types of impact: on the ‘trainees’; on the learning organisation; on children; and on the wider context. Findings are positive across all four types of impact, but especially so in relation to ‘trainees’ and children. Social pedagogy appears to validate and reframe practice as reflective, relational and enjoyable which helps children to thrive in public care settings. One key factor in the positive impact of social pedagogy training may be the experiential learning style adopted by trainers. 


Social Pedagogy, children’s services, evaluation, UK

Full Text:



Berridge, D, Biehal, N., Lutman, E., Henry, L., & Palomares, M. (2011). Raising the bar? Evaluation of the Social

Pedagogy Pilot Programme in residential children’s homes, Research Report DFE-RR148

Bengtsson, E., Chamberlain, C., Crimmens, D., & Stanley, J. (2008). Introducing social pedagogy into resi- dential child care in England: An evaluation. London: Social Education Trust and National Children’s Bu- reau/National Centre for Excellent in Residential Child Care.

Boddy, J., Statham, J., McQuail, S., Petrie, P. & Owen, C. (2008). Working at the ‘edges’ of care? European mod- els of support for young people and families Final Report, Thomas Coram Research Unit Institute of Edu- cation, University of London

Cameron, C. (2011). Social Pedagogy: What Questions Can We Ask About Its Value and Effectiveness? Chil- dren Australia. 36, 4, 187–198

Cameron, C., & Moss, P. (Eds.) (2011). Social pedagogy and working with children and young people: Where

care and education meet. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Cameron, C., Petrie, P., Wigfall, V., Kleipoedszus, S., & Jasper, A. (2011). Final Report of the Social Pedagogy pilot programme: development and implementation, Thomas Coram Research Unit Institute of Education University of London

Cameron, C. (2007). New Ways of Educating: Pedagogy and Children’s Services, Thomas Coram Research

Unit, Institute of Education University of London

Cameron, C., McQuail, S., & Petrie, P. (2007). Implementing the social pedagogic approach for workforce training and education in England: a preliminary study. Institute of Education, University of London, London.

Courtioux, M., Davies Jones, H., Jones, J., Kalcher, W., Steinhauser, H., & Tuggerer, H. (eds) (1986) The Social

Pedagogue in Europe: Living with others as a profession. Zurich: FICE.

Cross, S., Hubbard, A. & Munro, E. (2010). Reclaiming Social Work: London Borough of Hackney Children and Young People’s Services. Retrieved from loads/2013/08/Eileen-Munro-Review-of-the-Hackney-Model.pdf

Davies Jones, H. (1994). Social workers, or social educators? The international context for developing social care, National Institute for Social Work international centre paper.

Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (2007). Care Matters: Time for change (Cm 7137) The Stationery


Eichsteller, G., & Holthoff, S. (2011). Conceptual foundations of social pedagogy: A transnational perspective from Germany. In C. Cameron & P. Moss (Eds.) Social pedagogy and working with children and young people: Where care and education meet. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Eichsteller, G., & Holthoff, S. (2007). Building a Pedagogic Workforce in Residential Child Care, Retrieved from (20 February 2015)

Eichsteller, G., & Holthoff, S. (2012). The Art of being a Social Pedagogue: Practice examples of cultural change in children’s homes in Essex, Retrieved ftom, (20 February 2015).

European Commission Childcare Network. (1996). Review of services for young Children in the European Community. Brussels: European Commission Equal Opportunities Unit.

Ferguson, I. (2008). Reclaiming Social Work: Challenging Neo-liberalism and Promoting Social Justice. Lon- don, Sage

Goldstein, H., & Woodhouse, G. (2000). School effectiveness research and educational policy. Oxford Review of Education, 26(3–4)

Kornbeck, J. & Jensen, N. R. (Eds.). (2009). The Diversity of Social Pedagogy in Europe. Bremen: Europaeis- cher Hochschulverlag.

Lorenz, W. (2008). Paradigms and politics: Understanding methods paradigms in an historical context: The case of social pedagogy. British Journal of Social Work, 38, 625–644.

McDermid, S., Trivedi, H., Holmes, L., & Boddy, J. (2014). Evaluation of the Head, Heart, Hands Programme: Introducing social pedagogy into UK foster care: Interim Report, unpublished, University of Loughborough

Meijvogel, R., & Petrie, P. (1996). School age childcare in the European Union: A survey, European Commission Network on Childcare and Other Measures to Reconcile Employment and Family Responsibilities of Men and Women. London.

Milligan, I. (2009). Introducing social pedagogy into Scottish residential child care: An evaluation of the Sycamore

Services social pedagogy training programme. Glasgow, Scotland: Scottish Institute for Residential Child


Moore, N., Jakhara, M., Bowie, J., & Marriott, J. (2013). Social Pedagogy: A scoping project for Derbyshire

County Council, International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS). University of Derby

Paget, B., Eagle, G., & Citarella, V. (2007). Social Pedagogy and the Young People’s Workforce, A Report for the Department for Education and Skills, Social Care, Children’s Services and Management Associates


Petrie, P. (2013). Social Pedagogy in the UK: Gaining a firm foothold? Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21, 37, Retrieved from

Roberts, H. (2000). What works in reducing inequalities in child health? – Summary. Retrieved from http://www.

Roesch-Marsh, A., Cooper, S., & Kirkwood, S. (2015). Social Pedagogy Pilot Project Evaluation Report. Edin- burgh: University of Edinburgh. Retrieved from phill_final_version.pdf

Shaw, I., & Bryderup. I. (2008). Visions for social work research. In I. Bryderup (Ed.), Evidence based and knowl- edge based social work. Danish School of Education. Aarhus University Press.

Smith, M., & Whyte, B. (2008). Social education and social pedagogy: reclaiming a Scottish tradition in social work. European Journal of Social Work, vol 11, no 1, 15-28.

Skinner, K., & Smith, M. (2013). Evaluation of Early Adopters SP Project in Suffolk County Council 2012-13, University of Edinburgh

Skinner, K., & Smith, M. (forthcoming). Evaluation of Camphill Glencraig Tearmann Project, University of Ed- inburgh

Stevens, I. (2010). Social Pedagogy and its links to Holding the Space, Action for Children, Retrieved from (February 2015)

Vrouwenfelder, E. (2013). Contextualising the findings - the Orkney Social Pedagogy Evaluation Scottish. Journal of Residential Child Care, 12, 2



  • There are currently no refbacks.

DOI: 10.7179/PSRI



Licencia Creative Commons

Este obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 3.0 España.

ISSN: 1139-1723

DOI: 10.7179/PSRI