IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE launches first professional membership organisation for social pedagogy in UK

22 February 2017

SPPA launch

The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) launched the Social Pedagogy Professional Association (SPPA) yesterday (21 February). Its aim is to build a world where social pedagogy contributes to each individual realising their potential.

The event took place at the British Academy, where Professor Becky Francis, Director of the IOE, interviewed British poet and actor Lemn Sissay MBE about his experiences in care and discussed the power of education in the face of social injustice.

Social pedagogy is a relationship-based approach to caring for children and families and is sometimes referred to as 'education in the broadest sense'. It is based in an ethos that fosters equality and respect and values relationships, dialogue, joint activity and team work. The launch assessed the impact of social pedagogy in children's services to date and discussed its future.

The SPPA aims to develop excellence in and raise the profile of social pedagogy in the UK through building an active professional community for social pedagogy and supporting the development of qualifications in social pedagogy.

During the launch, guest speakers from St Christopher's Fellowship and the London Borough of Hackney's Virtual School for Looked-After Children shared their experiences of the positive impact of a social pedagogic approach to looked-after children, and their hopes for how social pedagogy will be adopted by more organisations in the future.

Speaking at the event, Professor Claire Cameron, from the IOE's Centre for Understanding Social Pedagogy, said:

"We were delighted to welcome Lemn Sissay and Becky Francis to join us in marking the start of the Social Pedagogy Professional Association. Having a professional association is new step in establishing this continental European approach to care and education built on humanitarian values of relationship and solidarity.

"We've heard such inspiring stories about the impact of social pedagogy on practice today. With the SPPA up and running, we can accelerate our learning and networking. That's why we're looking for anyone who shares our interest to join SPPA and make it a real professional home for social pedagogy in the UK."

Professor Pat Petrie, also from the Centre, said:

"Social pedagogy has really developed in the UK, ever since the first government-funded studies of social pedagogy were led by the Thomas Coram Research Unit, nearly 20 years ago. Their impact, plus other international research and British demonstration projects, led to many learning opportunities and a lively social pedagogy network.

"As a membership organisation, the SPPA will build on these and maintain the values and practice standards of social pedagogy. Today is another big step in expanding social pedagogy further."

The SPPA was founded though a project based at the IOE, in partnership with ThemPra and Jacaranda. Founding membership will be available for those who join by 31 December 2017. 

Watch the launch event

The SPPA launch event was streamed live on YouTube and is available to watch again on-demand.

Media contact

James Russell
Tel: 020 3108 8516
Email: james.russell@ucl.ac.uk


To find out more about the SPPA and SPPA membership, please email sppa@ucl.ac.uk or join the SPPA mailing list.

One year founding membership costs £70, and concessions for full-time students and non-wage earners are available at £25. Group discounts are available.

To find out more about the social pedagogy qualifications, please email Gulsh Khatun: g.khatun@ucl.ac.uk.