Camphill Scotland staff energised and inspired by social pedagogy

Social pedagogy is an approach to working with people which focuses on relationships.  It is widely used across Europe and there is a small but growing group of organisations working with social pedagogy in Scotland. 

CamphillUntil now, most of this work has been with children and young people but Camphill Scotland received funding through The Keys to Life, the Scottish Government’s learning disability strategy, to pilot the use of social pedagogy with adults.

Staff from two Camphill communities, Camphill Blair Drummond near Stirling and Tiphereth in Edinburgh, received intensive social pedagogy training.  The project evaluation, by the University of Edinburgh, found that social pedagogy had a ‘transformative’ effect on the workforce.

  • Staff felt more confident in their practice.
  • Social pedagogy gave staff ‘the words to use’ to talk about their practice with others.
  • Staff reflected on their work and made changes to their practice as a result of that.
  • Staff took more managed risks.
  • There was more of a focus on learning, for both staff and the people they support.

This combination of positive impacts on staff led to them feeling energised about their work and gave them new ideas about how they could use their relationships with the people they support to help them to develop. One staff member said:

‘I think it has made me more courageous to try new techniques.  It has also made me focus on relationship building as a way to help people engage.  I am more relaxed about failures.  I am just more confident.’

For more information on the project, visit

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