Social Pedagogy in the UK: Gaining a firm foothold?

Pat Petrie, UCL · IOE, 2013


paper asks why, unlike much of Europe, the UK has until recently taken
very little interest in social pedagogy. It looks at the meanings of
social pedagogy, including the importance of both ‘social’ and
‘pedagogy’ in understanding the term and argues that social pedagogy
policy, practice, and theory are interlinked and develop out of specific
national contexts. There is an account of the fairly new UK interest in
the subject, including some interest from government and some higher
education institutions. The paper argues that this interest springs
largely from concerns about the welfare of disadvantaged children,
especially those that are in care, and an aspiration to improve the
practice of people who work with them. There has been much less interest
in social pedagogic theory. The paper concludes that unless theory,
grounded in a UK context, is given equal prominence to practice,
together with education and qualifications in the subject, social
pedagogy will not achieve a firm footing in the UK.

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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