Social Pedagogy from a Scottish Perspective
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There is growing interest across the UK around whether European models of social pedagogy might offer a conceptual framework within which to locate social care and social welfare work. Pilot programmes that seek to introduce and apply social pedagogical principles in practice settings are emerging, including in Scotland, where a joint BA run by The University of Aberdeen in conjunction with Camphill Schools was the first qualifying programme in social pedagogy in the UK. Many of these pockets of interest can seem only loosely connected to one another. ‘Scottish Conversations’, an initiative based around The University of Edinburgh, was conceived of to bring together practitioners, academics and policy makers with an interest in social pedagogy, to explore the possibilities and implications of introducing social pedagogical ways of working in Scotland. Considerable work has already been undertaken on this by the children’s charity ‘Children in Scotland’, supported by The Scottish Government. Our intention in this paper is to draw upon existing work and to encapsulate, within one document, key themes from the literature on social pedagogy, and to consider its relevance and possible application in a Scottish context. Specifically, we suggest that social pedagogy offers a means through which distinctively Scottish ideas around social welfare and education might be reframed in a way that resonates with current concerns about the role and direction of social work and social care more broadly. In this sense, we do not restrict our focus to areas of practice such as residential child care with which social pedagogy is most often associated, but consider its features to have relevance across a broad range of provision and professional groupings.