Essex Launches Social Pedagogy System

Essex County Council has introduced a social pedagogy system in its residential children’s homes – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Social pedagogy is a system of theory, practice and training that supports the overall development of the whole child. It is often described as education in its broadest sense.

Residential services in Essex are at the beginning of a three-year programme to implement social pedagogy across all the county’s children’s homes.

All residential staff will participate in introductory training, with smaller groups going on to complete more in depth training enabling them to lead change in their homes.

Peter Martin, deputy leader and lead member for children’s services at Essex County Council, said that research had shown that countries which use the model, such as Germany, have better outcomes for children around school attendance and achievement, teenage pregnancy and crime.

Care Matters, the government’s white paper on improving outcomes for looked after young people, set out plans to explore the benefits of social pedagogy in residential care through pilots.

Maureen Caton, head of residential and placement provision at Essex County Council, said that the county’s work built on a lot of existing practices.

“The DCSF pilots are very short-term focused and we wanted to make sure that anything brought into our children’s homes had a long-term focus,” she said. “We wanted to create a philosophy across the homes that we are consistent. If we want to create a change in culture it needed to have a long time spent on it, which is why we have a three year training programme.”