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Seminar spreads the word on social pedagogy

​St Christopher’s has co-hosted the first of two events with the Social Pedagogy Professional Association (SPPA) about how using social pedagogy in social care settings can improve the wellbeing of both the service users and the staff working there.

The event aimed to show how social pedagogic models were effective in addressing issues of low wellbeing in children and young people, adults in social care, and the workforce in the healthcare, social care and education sectors. Attendees included commissioners of children’s services, policy makers from the Department for Education and Home Office, partners we are working with through our transitions funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and St Christopher’s representatives.

St Christopher’s approach is shaped by social pedagogy’s ‘Head, Heart, Hands’ principles: the head represents the theories underpinning our practice; the heart stands for the relationships we build with children, young people, carers and partners; and the hands show how we empower young people by giving them the chance to make decisions on areas that affect their lives.

The session began with an overview of the ‘Social Pedagogy as a Resource for Government Wellbeing Policy’ paper about the overlap between the aims of government policy and the principles, values and practices of social pedagogy. Not long ago, social pedagogy was mentioned in government papers and formed a key part of their approach, but since then the term itself has been removed even if some of the key concepts remain as a recommendations.

Then there were short presentations on different topics from the following key speakers:

  • Dr Praveetha Patalay from University College London (UCL) Institute of Education – an overview of findings about wellbeing and mental health
  • Nicola Boyce from St Christopher’s Fellowship – a wellbeing approach to social pedagogy and young people in residential care
  • Ingrid Abreu Scherer from the What Works Centre for Wellbeing – what matters about wellbeing and how we measure it
  • Pat Petrie, Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Understanding Social Pedagogy (CUSP) at UCL – introducing professionals to social pedagogy for work with older people
  • Professor Claire Cameron from UCL – the impact of social pedagogy on the workforce​

Finally, the participants split into groups to discuss what had been said so far. They thought about how social pedagogy could apply to their own fields and ways of implementing it.

Running events like this supports St Christopher’s strategic commitment of improved emotional wellbeing​ for the children and young people we work with. By raising awareness of social pedagogy and showing commissioners and policy makers how successful it can be, we can be seen as experts in the field and promote our ways of working, with the aim of developing new services as social pedagogy becomes more known and understood.

Jonathan Whalley, Chief Executive, said: “St Christopher’s specialism in social pedagogy helps to set us apart from other providers of children’s services. Attending this seminar was a fantastic opportunity to hear more about social pedagogy from the experts, particularly in relation to wellbeing and how this differs to mental health. It was great to spread the word a little bit further.”

Learn more about St Christopher’s approach