A series of qualifications in social pedagogy, including a level 3 certificate and masters degree, are being developed in the UK.
The certificate is being developed by Norfolk charity Break, in partnership with Norfolk Council’s children’s services, and should be delivered at NVQ Level 3 but is awaiting accreditation. It will be targeted at professionals across the social care workforce and will be ready for piloting in Norfolk in April 2010, with a view to offering it nationally after the first six-month course is completed. Several advanced modules – including those covering early years, family assessment and disabilities – will be available from September 2010.
Social pedagogy has been highlighted by the government as a valuable way of working with children and young people, in a 2005 workforce consultation document and in Care Matters. A three-year Department for Children, Schools and Families pilot with the Thomas Coram Research Unit, funded until 2011, has recruited social pedagogues from Europe to work in children’s homes in England, including those run by Break.
Dame Gillian Pugh, who sits on the advisory board of the Children’s Workforce Development Council, welcomed the development. She said: “We know that there is concern regarding the appropriate training for workers and the social pedagogy approach seems to be particularly well-suited to residential establishments.”
“I am very pleased that Break as a voluntary organisation, is pioneering a qualification at level 3. This is a good place to start and such developments will go towards the beginnings of a framework for training individuals and developing a structure for social pedagogy in the UK,” Pugh said.
The University of East Anglia is also developing a foundation degree with Norfolk Council’s children’s services. It is hoped that the level 3 qualification will constitute a percentage of credits needed to complete the foundation degree.
In addition, the Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU) at the Institute of Education will offer a masters programme in social pedagogy from September 2010.
Claire Cameron, a senior research officer at TCRU who has been developing the masters said: “These qualifications are a move in the right direction and we seek to encourage employers and higher education providers to look at ways of developing social pedagogy in the UK.
“Our comparative research in Germany and Denmark has shown that social pedagogy approaches vastly improve outcomes for children in care, when compared with the UK.