05 SES 12, Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
In 2012 an evaluation of the care approach of an English local authority children’s home in the East Midlands was completed (Bannerman, 2012a). The evaluation, prompted by the children’s home manager, suggested that change is required, as advocated by Clough et al (2006 in Smith, 2009), to develop leadership, agreement of objectives across the staff team and a culture which is focussed on the care of the young people. The case study then is concerned with the design of a curriculum for a programme of continuous professional development for residential care workers. Social pedagogy is the theoretical framework on which the learning and development for managers and residential care workers is to be based to enhance the quality of care. The evidence of success of a social pedagogic approach in residential care is demonstrated by outcomes in Denmark and Germany and the findings of the pilot conducted by Cameron et al (2011) as well as wider literature, present persuasive arguments.
Berridge et al (2010:4) concede that residential care has become ‘a second-best option’ with little recognition that it can be the best option for some young people; Colton and Roberts (2006:135) go further, stating that residential care is perceived ‘as a placement of last resort’, a sentiment echoed by others (Houston, 2010; Smith, 2005). The Children’s Homes National Minimum Standards issued under s.23 Care Standards Act 2000 and underpinned by regulations, provide that existing care staff in England are required to have attained a level 3 qualification in a related field and staff employed after April 2011 must hold a Children and Young People’s Workforce Diploma which is at level 3, up to 65 credits (Standard 18.5). Managers of children’s homes must attain a level 4 minimum (DfE, 2012) and staff can progress to a level 5 Diploma to develop leadership skills. Davidson (2010) criticised the minimal qualifications required of residential care workers considering the complexity and challenges of the environment.
The experience of designing a programme of continuous professional development at higher education level to meet the specific needs of the children’s home and to create a sustainable model is explored in this paper. Curriculum in higher education has, according to Barnett and Coate (2005), become more about developing skills and delivering on employability rather than a vehicle to enable critical thinking and self-actualisation. When developing a vocationally based course in higher education there is the additional issue that work based learning can be viewed as inferior to purely academic programmes.
Therefore, the challenge presented was to create a continuous professional development programme to raise the professional status of residential care and address the specific needs of the children’s home to enhance the care experience of the young people, whilst promoting the academic rigour of practice based learning and designing a programme for wider utilisation. The case study questions therefore were:
- What is the process of developing CPD in a work based learning context?
- Building on the foundations of the evaluation, what do managers, staff and academics including the researcher agree the content of the programme should be?
- How can the bespoke CPD programme be marketable, feasible and transferable to other similar contexts and settings for sustainability?
Boud and Soloman, N. (eds.) Work based learning: a new higher education? Buckingham: Open University Press Cameron, C., Petrie, P., Wigfall, V., Kleipoedszuz, S. and Jasper, A. (2011) Final report of the social pedagogy pilot: development and implementation London: Thomas Coram Research Unit Cameron, R.J. (S.) and Maginn, C. (2009) Achieving positive outcomes for children in care. London: Sage Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2011) Research methods in education 7th ed. London: Routledge Colton, M. and Roberts, S. (2007) Factors that contribute to high turnover among residential child care staff. Child and Family Social Work. 12 133-142 Cousee, F., Bradt, L., Roose, R. and Bouverne-De Bie, M. (2010) The emerging social pedagogical paradigm in UK child and youth care: deus ex machina or walking the beaten path? British Journal of Social Work 40, 789-805 Davidson, J.C. (2010) Residential care for children and young people: priority areas for change. Child Abuse Review. 19 405-422 DfE (2012) Report of the expert group on the quality of children’s homes. [online] Available from: http://www.education.gov.uk/a00224323/quality-child-homes-report Accessed 20.01.2013 Gharabaghi, K., and Grosleg, R. (2010) A social pedagogy approach to residential care: balancing education and placement in the development of an innovative child welfare residential program in Ontario, Canada. Child Welfare. 89 (2) 97-115 Hicks, L., Gibbs, I., Weatherly, H. and Byford, S. (2009) Management, leadership and resources in children’s homes: what influences outcomes in residential child-care settings? British Journal of Social Work. 39 828-845 Houston, S. (2010) Building resilience in a children’s home: results from an action research project. Child and Family Social Work. 15 357-368 Langemeyer and Nissen (2011) Activity theory.In: Somekh, B. and Lewin, C. (ed.s) Theory and methods in social research. 2nd ed. London: Sage pp 182-189 Murray, R., Caulier-Grice, J. and Mulgan, G. (2010) The open book of social innovation. s.l. :NESTA/Young Foundation Patton, M.Q. (1986) Utilization-focused evaluation. 2nd ed. London: Sage Saxe, L. and Fine, M. (1981) Social experiments: methods for design and evaluation. London: Sage Smith, M. (2009) Rethinking residential child care: positive perspectives. Bristol: Policy Press Vrouwenfelder, E., Milligan, I. and Merrell, M. (2012) Social pedagogy and inter-professional practice. Glasgow: Centre for Excellence for looked after children in Scotland (CELCIS), University of Strathclyde
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