Unique partnership enables University of Aberdeen to launch Scotland’s first degree in social pedago

The University will launch the first degree programme in Scotland in social pedagogy today (Monday September 6) through a unique partnership with the Camphill School Aberdeen.

Social pedagogy is a holistic professional activity integrating elements of care, education, therapeutic and creative activities in the work with children and adults with complex needs, acknowledging the importance of relationship and social interaction in promoting healthy development and life.

The new BA in Social Pedagogy has grown out of the curative education programme at the University and will enable students to combine their academic studies with practical experience at Camphill.

Camphill School Aberdeen, in Bieldside, Aberdeen, offers an inclusive, comprehensive and holistic approach to education, care and therapy for 88 pupils with complex special needs ranging from deprivation to autism from the age of three to 19 years.

Thirteen students, from 12 different countries, will embark on the new BA and most will work as volunteer co-workers in Camphill.

Norma Hart, senior lecturer in the School of Education, University of Aberdeen, said the unique partnership between the University and Camphill will provide a rich and varied learning environment for students.

 “Students will live and work at Camphill while they are learning – the programme is based on the apprenticeship model but with a sound academic background.

“This enhances the experience for students and enables them to put their knowledge into practice, benefiting from both the Camphill and University experience.

“The residential community setting means students are very well supported, generally, and receive a lot of one-on-one attention.”

The BA in Social Pedagogy draws on social care, but also incorporates aspects of the knowledge skills values and attitudes of teaching, therapeutic work and craft work. 

Mrs Hart added: “This integrated holistic approach to working with vulnerable individuals is a particular strength of the programme.

“While preparing students for relevant professional qualifications in the UK, its significance also extends beyond the UK as it allows students to enter into worldwide network of practitioners in the field of work with vulnerable individuals who are trying to approach their practice from a holistic perspective.”

The launch of the new course comes as Camphill is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its foundation in Aberdeen. The Camphill pioneers, who had been planning a community providing education and support for children with special needs, were welcomed into Aberdeen as refugees.

The links with the University of Aberdeen go back to those early days, as the university principal Sir William Hamilton Fyfe was one of the first trustees. From Aberdeen, Camphill has extended internationally to encompass 100 centres in 23 countries.

For further details of the course visit www.abdn.ac.uk/education/courses/basp