There are significant synergies between a social pedagogic approach and the fundamental goals of the Troubled Families agenda, the Munro recommendations for children’s Social Work, person-centred approaches in adult social care and desired ways of working in Early Years. In April 2013 the Association of Directors of Children’s Services suggested considering Social Pedagogy as a consistent and holistic approach to all work with children in care, in its position statement, “What is Care For?”
Social Pedagogy provides an ethical, theoretically underpinned framework that leads to a change in practice that is consistent with an organisation’s strategic and ethical priorities.
In February 2014, Ofsted reported in their inspection of Derbyshire’s Children and Young Adults service,
“The Local Authority is committed to further improving outcomes for children through the use of systemic practice across frontline teams and the social pedagogy model within residential care. This is already having a positive impact on outcomes for children. For example, the social pedagogy model has resulted in reductions in the need for restraint and a reduction in the numbers of children missing education. It has also been effective in improving staff morale and reducing sickness levels.”
In developing Social Pedagogy in a multi-layered manner, an organisation stands to achieve the benefits of strengthening staff teams, improving organisational communication and (re-)igniting a passion to continue personal and professional development, both guided and self-guided, to the benefit of service users. The process highlights values and sees them aligned to strategic priorities; practice is in turn aligned to those values and strategic priorities.
Some organisations with which we have worked report perceptible improved wellbeing amongst service users, increased engagement in activities and education, increased morale of staff, reduced damage (children’s homes) and thereby reduced costs, reduced staff sickness and thereby reduced cost of staff cover.
“They [Jacaranda] have provided value for money at a far higher level than we ever expected, and through their support and enthusiasm have helped us to develop a real change of culture. One of the main impacts of the work that Jacaranda has done with us in developing social pedagogy, has been a marked improvement in staff morale and enthusiasm. Staff are finding more creative ways of working with children and involving the young people in a range of ways. ‘I’ve seen a real change and I’ve been very impressed with the impact that I’ve noticed. Things like the art work, interior decoration, the gardens, the involvement of children, the humour and friendliness I encounter – it all feels so different from a few years ago.’”
Senior Manager, Derbyshire County Council, June 2011
Full reference is available on request