Pedagogy of Social Work
Increasingly the United Kingdom is looking to its European neighbours and their approaches to social work and social care, in particularly Germany, Flanders and Scandinavia.
From 2009 the Department for Children, Schools and Families is funding a 3 year pilot project assessing the use of Social Pedagogy in residential childcare in England. The project is run by the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education and Jacaranda is the official recruitment partner for the project.
What is Social Pedagogy?
Social Pedagogy is an academic discipline that takes theories from education, sociology, psychology and philosophy. It deals with human learning, well-being and individuals’ inclusion in society.
European Social Pedagogues work with all age groups in a variety of settings e.g. residential child care, social services, nurseries, schools, youth services, youth clubs, play settings. They also work with disadvantaged and vulnerable adults and older people.
Whatever the setting, across continental Europe, Social Pedagogues have much in common. They share similar ways of thinking about their work with people and its underlying philosophy and ethical base.
Social Pedagogy is not a method but a field for social policy, theory and practice. It emerges to address culturally specific social problems. The meaning of Social Pedagogy is specific to the context, culture and the time in which it is practiced.
Principles of Social Pedagogy
- A holistic approach
- Reflective practice
- Unconditional regard for the individual
- A relational approach
- Staff and children (e.g. in residential care) inhabit the same life-space
- Human and Children’s Rights underpin practice
- Fosters group life
- Strong team-working and cooperation with families, other agencies and
- Encourages practical and creative skills
Are pedagogues care workers or qualified social workers?
European qualifications in Social Pedagogy include:
- 3 year vocational trainings incorporating a high level of practical experience as well as the underpinning theory
- 3 or 4 year university of applied science degrees, incorporating practical placements
- 5 year university qualifications, including practical placements
Social Pedagogues can register with the GSCC and work as qualified Social Workers. They also often chose to do more direct work with clients.
European practice does not distinguish between qualified and unqualified work in the same way that we do in the UK.
The majority of staff working in European social care settings are qualified, often to degree level. Understanding Social Pedagogy requires an understanding of a different cultural and social context.
Jacaranda Recruitment has placed Social Pedagogues in the UK in the following areas:
- All areas of Social Services
- Children’s Services
- Physical and Sensory Disabilities
- Learning Disabilities
- Mental Health
- Older People’s Services
- Residential Childcare
- Secure Units
- Independent Living
- Support Work
- Older People’s residential care