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Finding the diamond

Social pedagogy: finding a young person’s full potential

Social pedagogy is St Christopher’s core philosophy of care. Put simply, this is a holistic approach that centres around building positive relationships with young people to bring out their full potential and find their “inner diamond”.

We have been evolving our use of social pedagogy over a number of years – from developing homes using a socially pedagogic approach to training staff and foster carers across all of our services.

Staff have always been there. They don't take stuff personal and just keep trying to show me how I am good and help me achieve stuff.
Carly, young person living with St Christopher's

What is social pedagogy?

Our practice is based on the head, heart and hands approach:


We learn and develop as equals alongside our young people. Our pioneering work on attachment with the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS) at Middlesex University means we can design bespoke care plans for every young person we work with.


We use our emotional intelligence and relational skills in our reflective practice to help us develop relationships with young people, their families and our colleagues. Young people say that staff now understand them better, which means they can trust them more.


Creative, practical activities empower young people to learn, develop and heal from previous trauma. Young people are allowed to do things for themselves and learn from the experience, even if that means making mistakes along the way.

The members of the excellent staff team are consistently encouraging, warm and nurturing in their routine interactions with young people. Social workers note the staff's skill and tenacity in building positive relationships and supporting young people. One said, 'The staff have been really good at building a relationship with him and supporting him. They worked really hard at engaging him; it wasn't easy but they stuck with it.
Ofsted report