Social pedagogy Keys to Life pilot projectType: Briefings
Topic: Social pedagogy
Introduction to social pedagogy
Social pedagogy is a relationship-based approach to working with people. It encourages us to really get to know people, so that we can work with them to improve their wellbeing and development by considering all aspects of their life and who they are (commonly referred to as head, heart and hands). It emphasises creativity and shared activity as a means of supporting and developing the individual.
Social pedagogy fits neatly with the Camphill ethos, which is based upon the unique value of the individual, and where people live and work alongside others. Many people within Camphill communities have worked consciously with social pedagogy for many years.
In the UK, social pedagogy is most commonly used in work with children, but elsewhere in Europe it is used by those working with individuals and groups across all ages and with a wide range of care and support needs. Camphill Scotland has been at the forefront of attempts to have social pedagogy more widely recognised in Scotland.
The Keys to Life social pedagogy pilot project
As part of the 2013 learning disability strategy ”˜The Keys to Life’ the Scottish Government funded Camphill Scotland to pilot the use of social pedagogy in supporting young people and adults. Between February 2014 and April 2015 a group of staff from two Camphill communities in Scotland (Blair Drummond and Tiphereth) received training in social pedagogy from Thempra and were supported to build on their previously-accumulated skills and knowledge in developing their relationship-based practice.
In September 2015 we held an event with the University of Edinburgh to tell others about the project. The event was well attended by practitioners and decision makers from a range of local authorities, voluntary organisations and government. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for social pedagogy at the event, and in particular a wish to see further pilots run in the use of social pedagogy in a range of care settings, including local authority adult social work departments. Presentations were made at the event by Kate Skinner, former Chair of Camphill Scotland; Autumn Roesch-Marsh from the University of Edinburgh and Pauline MacDonald from the Scottish Government learning disability and autism team. The most powerful inputs of the day came from staff from Camphill Blair Drummond, who shared their very thoughtful and moving stories of the impact that social pedagogy had had on their practice, and the people they work with.
The pilot project was evaluated by a team from the University of Edinburgh. The report found that the social pedagogy training had had a transformative effect on participants, who had increased their confidence, reflected more purposefully on their practice and focused more on the power of their relationships with colleagues and service users.
We were delighted that the pilot project was featured in the Care Inspectorate’s Care News publication (Summer 2016, p5) and included as podcast on Iriss FM (the internet radio for social services in Scotland).
This graphic illustrates some of the social pedagogy models which participants in the pilot found most useful. As part of the ongoing dissemination of the project findings, we are happy for you to download and use this graphic as you wish. If you would like a larger version of the image, please contact us.