Thomas John Barnardo (‘the doctor’) and his work with children and young people

Thomas John Barnardo (‘the doctor’). Dr. Thomas John Barnardo was what we might now call an extraordinary ‘social entrepreneur’. But who was he and what did he achieve? He was well known for his homes and training schemes, but what was his contribution to the development of youth work and social work practice? contents: introduction […]

Leonard Barnett and the church youth club

Leonard Barnett and the church youth club. Leonard P. Barnett was a key figure in the development of youth work within the Methodist Church. He also wrote two classic texts on youth clubs that provide workers with a coherent and informed basis for their work fostering learning, fellowship and the more abundant life. contents: introduction […]

Leonard Barnett – Responsible people

Leonard Barnett explores the importance of fellowship, association and self-government in the church youth club. Chapter 6 of Adventures with Youth, London: Methodist Association of Youth Clubs, 1962. contents: preface · introduction · basic needs · the need for fellowship · responsible people · questions Leonard P. Barnett was a key figure in the development […]

St. John Bosco – An exhortation to educators

Letter from St. John Bosco to his Salesians, from Rome, May 10, 1884 outlining the place of friendship, relationship and recreation in his ‘preventative’ approach. contents: preface · an exhortation to educators · how to cite this piece Don Bosco (1815-1888) was a talented educator and animateur. He was particularly concerned with the needs of […]

James (Jimmy) Butterworth, Christian youth work and Clubland

  James (Jimmy) Butterworth, Christian youth work and Clubland. The Rev. James Butterworth (1897-1977) made a very significant contribution to thinking and practice around youth work in the church. He pioneered a more youth-oriented approach within the Methodist Church and established a lasting Christian institution – Clubland – in Walworth, London. contents: introduction · james […]

Calling and informal education

Calling and informal education. The notion of calling, once rather unfashionable, has re-emerged as an organizing idea within education. Michele Erina Doyle examines calling and vocation, and sets them in particular within Christian discourse. She argues that fulfilling our calling as informal educators means we work with others for the processes of knowing, testing, naming, […]

Christian youth work and youth ministry

featured Educational settlements. Mark Freeman explores their development and the role that Quakerism played. [See, also, our feature on educational settlements]. in the archives: Robert A. Woods (1912) The recovery of the parish. This important piece makes the case for neighbourhood fellowship and association and looks to role that churches play in their cultivation. history […]

Christian youth work: evangelism or social action?

Carole Pugh raises questions about evangelical approaches to youth work and argues for informal education practice. contents: emerging themes · motivation · purpose · conversion as purpose · a broader approach · christian relational care · spiritual development · an informal education approach ·  case studies · conclusions · references · acknowledgements  ·how to cite this […]

Church and club

In this chapter taken from Leonard P. Barnett’s (1951) The Church Youth Club, some key debates and questions around the relationship of church youth club work and the wider Church are explored.   Leonard P. Barnett was a key figure in the development of youth work within the Methodist Church. He was  National Secretary of the […]

Detached, street-based and project work with young people

Detached, street-based and project work with young people. Detached youth work has been around for more than a century. How did it begin, and how has it developed? What is the current state of detached and project work? Contents: introduction · early work · the emergence of detached youth work · detached work today · […]

Developing youth work: Informal education, mutual aid and popular practice

Developing Youth Work (1988) was an attempt to construct a coherent and distinctive understanding of youth work. It looked to informal education and association (mutual aid) as the core of the work, and argued that the youth service was in terminal decline. We publish the complete book. Contents preface introduction chapter 1: enter youth workers […]

Developing youth work: Preface

This book began life in 1982 as an attempt to construct a coherent and distinctive understanding of youth work. While it would be nice to claim that the thinking reported in these pages has matured and developed through constant reflection over the intervening years, the truth is that it has had a stuttering existence, competing […]

Developing youth work: Introduction

So much of what is said about youth work either seeks to conceal or is the product of lazy or rhetorical thinking. The ahistorical, apolitical and anti-intellectual attitude of many in this area has meant that practice is peculiarly prone to influence by moral panics, fads and fashions. As such, the work is further threatened […]

Developing youth work: Chapter 1 – Enter youth workers

contents: introduction · little ladies at home · the making of modern leisure · threats from within and without · psychology – the final piece of the jigsaw · the new provision · there will be drill · ennobling their class · bourgeois youth work · further reading and references This chapter has a strong focus […]

Developing youth work: Chapter 2 – The making of popular youth work

In this, the second chapter of Developing Youth Work, Mark Smith explores the emergence of working class and more community-based forms of youth work. In particular he looks at the development of work within chapels and other associations in the nineteenth century, and the development of practice in the 1930s and 1940s. contents:  introduction · […]

Developing youth work: Chapter 3 – Definition, tradition and change in youth work

In this the third chapter of Developing Youth Work, Mark Smith explores the clusters of key ideas that appear to inform the ways in which youth workers see their tasks. Six broad bodies of customs, thoughts and practices are identified – and the power of tradition explored. contents: introduction · traditions in youth work · […]

Developing youth work: Chapter 4 – The demise of the youth service?

In chapter 4 of developing youth work Mark Smith explores the situation facing youth work and the youth service in the late 1980s. He argues that the youth service will whither away, but that youth work in different forms will develop, but not necessarily grow. contents: introduction · growing inequality and a new social condition […]

Developing youth work: Chapter 5 – Beyond social education

This chapter (5) from Developing Youth Work (1988) explores the notion of social education – and how it came into usage in the British youth work tradition. Mark Smith argues that there are particular problems around the personalist orientation that it involves, and the extent to which the idea of selfhood involved is ethnocentric. He […]

Developing youth work: Chapter 6 – Good purpose

Here Mark Smith, in chapter 6 of Developing Youth Work, explores what might lie at the heart of youth work. He underlines the educational nature of the work. He also returns to notions of human well-being and suggests that educators are concerned with enlarging people’s appreciation of it, and developing their ability to act. Smith […]

Developing youth work: Chapter 7 – Informal education

In Chapter 7 of Developing Youth Work (1988) Mark Smith argues for the rehabilitation of the notion of informal education. He critiques dominant, administrative definitions and instead looks to process. contents: introduction · informal education and its alternatives · what is informal education? · critical dialogue · informal education and problems with curriculum · in […]

Developing youth work: Chapter 8 – Developing popular practice

In chapter 8 of Developing Youth Work (1988) Mark K. Smith explores the possibilities of popular practice. He sets out some of the elements that will need to be attended to if work that looks to mutual aid, conversation and informal education are to be realized. contents: introduction · the potential of popular practice · […]

Developing youth work: Bibliography

The complete bibliography for Mark Smith (1988) Developing Youth Work Abercrombie, A. and Turner, B.S. (1982). ‘The Dominant Ideology Thesis’, in Giddens, A. and Held, D. (eds). Classes, Power and Conflict. London, Macmillan. Adams, R. (1988). ‘Finding a way in. Youth workers and juvenile justice’, in Jeffs. T. and Smith, M. (eds). Welfare and Youth […]

Facilitating learning and change in groups and group sessions

Facilitating learning and change in groups and group sessions. Just what is facilitation, and what does it involve? We explore the theory and practice of facilitation, and some key issues around facilitating group sessions. Contents: introduction · what is group facilitation? · core conditions and the facilitator · the facilitator’s role · core values ·  […]

Using focus groups in evaluation and research

Using focus groups in evaluation and research. Focus groups have been part of market research for many years. Their popularity in advertising and marketing – and their use to find new ways of getting us to buy particular products or ideas – puts off a lot of people. However, they are a very useful tool […]

What is a group?

What is a group? How are we to approach groups? In this article we review the development of theory about groups. We look at some different definitions of groups, and some of the key dimensions to bear in mind when thinking about them. contents: introduction · the development of thinking about groups · defining ‘group’ […]

Luther Halsey Gulick: recreation, physical education and the YMCA

Luther Halsey Gulick physical education and the YMCA. Luther Halsey Gulick (1865-1918) was an expert and prolific writer on physical education, folk dance education and recreation. In this article Thomas Winter examines his contribution and his work with the YMCA, Campfire Girls and other organizations. Contents: biography · key ideas · contributions to education · […]

Innovation in youth work. Thinking in practice

Download pdf version This book aims to offer reflections for youth workers to stimulate their thinking, dialogue and practice. Some of the sections include suggested activities that can be used with young people directly; others are for use with staff and volunteers to prompt discussion about youth work in the current context that practitioners find […]

Exploring social action: Grace Kimmins and playwork

Grace Kimmins nee Hannam (1871-1954) is probably best known for her contribution to the development of specialist education provision for children with disabilities – in particular, at Chailey Heritage in Sussex (see Black 2017). However, she also made a considerable contribution to the development of playwork and of settlement work and social action – first […]

Jiddu Krishnamurti and his insights into education

The Valley School’s birthday celebration. Established in 1978, itis one of the five schools of the Krishnamurti Foundation India Jiddu Krishnamurti and his insights into education. Scott H. Forbes explores Jiddu Krishnamurti’s (1895-1986) emphasis on education as a religious activity. (From a presentation at the first Holistic Education Conference, Toronto, Canada, 1997) contents: human nature […]

‘Leadership and spirituality…minus the loaves and fishes’

When you hear the word ‘leadership’ you may find yourself bombarded with images of the likes of Shackleton or Hunt battling against the odds, men of great achievements and, undoubtedly, great examples of good leadership. However, is this what we mean by leadership in today’s society? Is leadership meant only for those on adventurous endeavours? […]

Shared leadership

Shared leadership. Leadership can be explored as a social process – something that happens between people. It is not so much what leaders do, as something that arises out of social relationships. As such it does not depend on one person, but on how people act together to make sense of the situations that face […]

John Scott Lidgett and Bermondsey Settlement

Bermondsey Settlement – Southwark Local History Library and Archive Rev. John Scott Lidgett (1854-1953) established Bermondsey Settlement in 1891. It was to be the only Methodist settlement and provided an opportunity for better-off Methodists to live in a deprived area and to share the lives of people there. John Scott Lidgett had a vision of […]

Methodism and youth work

In this feature we explore the outstanding contribution of Methodist workers to the development of youth work contents: introduction · early efforts · the club · social groupwork · the challenge today · how to cite this article In Britain youth work emerged largely out of the activities of evangelical Christians during the first half […]

Fred Milson: developing the practice of youth and community work

Fred Milson: developing the practice of youth and community work. Fred Milson was an influential writer and trainer who did much to develop youth and community work practice within the Methodist church and the Youth Service generally. He was also an important contributor to national policy debates. Here we assess his contribution. contents: introduction · […]

Fred Milson: Why am I a youth worker? An examination of the goals and motives of youth workers

Fred Milson (1972) argues that youth workers properly have several goals and motives, and that a hierarchy of purposes appears. The motive and goal that should be given first priority is for individual personality development – but this has to be fulfilled in social relationships and community involvement. contents: preface · i. the purpose · […]

Hannah More: Sunday schools, education and youth work

Hannah More: Sunday schools, education and youth work. Hannah More was initially famous for her play writing and involvement in ‘blue stocking’ circles. Later her evangelicalism led her to philanthropy, writing popular religious tracts and to pioneering work in Sunday Schools. Here we examine her contribution and her involvement in the development of youth work. […]

Muscular Christianity

The notion of Muscular Christianity was an important feature of some key discourses around work with boys and men in the second half of the nineteenth century. Here Clifford Putney explores the origin and use of the term. contents: muscular christianity · bibliography · how to cite this article Muscular Christianity can be defined as […]

Oxford in Bermondsey: Fraternity and social change

134 Abbey Street, Bermondsey – and early home of the Mission and the Oxford and Bermondsey Club A group of ‘Oxford men’ who were to have a significant impact on youth work, social policy more generally, and the church. We introduce some key figures. John Stansfeld  (‘The Doctor’) founded the Oxford Medical Mission in Bermondsey […]

Joan Matthews: Professional skill

Subtitled ‘Notes written for the guidance of area organizers and supervisors but which may also serve as an introduction to social group work for youth leaders’, this 1968 pamphlet by Joan E. Matthews was a popular introduction to the area. contents: preface · professional skill · how to cite this piece Joan E. Matthews was […]

Ragged schools and the development of youth work and informal education

One of the great movements of Victorian philanthropy, ragged schools provided for children and young people who were excluded by virtue of their poverty from other forms of schooling. A key feature of their work was that they moved significantly beyond the simple provision of educational opportunity – and as such both provided an example […]

Robert Raikes and Sunday schools

Robert Raikes – Wikipedia – pd Known as the founder of the Sunday Schools movement, Raikes used his position as editor and proprietor of the Gloucester Journal to publicize the cause. However, many Sunday schools (and chapel and church communities) became crucial working class institutions and centres for mutual aid and association. There is some […]

Ellen Ranyard (“LNR”), Bible women and informal education

Ellen Ranyard (“LNR”), Bible women and informal education. Known for using innovative methods, Ellen Raynard brought about the first group of paid social workers in England and pioneered the first district nursing programme in London. Contents: introduction · Bible women · Bible nurses · management and organization · conclusion · further reading and references Let […]

Will Reason: Settlements and education

Will Reason – pictured on the cover of the issue of Social Service Monthly that contained his obituary Will Reason: Settlements and education. This piece first appeared in Reason, W. (ed.). (1898). University and Social Settlements. London: Methuen and Co.   Will Reason (1865-1926) was a Congregational minister who worked and campaigned for social justice. He […]

Bryan H. Reed, informal religious education and youth work

Bryan H. Reed, informal religious education and youth work. The Rev. Bryan Reed was a key figure in the development of youth work within the Methodist Church, and made a seminal contribution to our understanding of youth work in post-war Britain through his research. Contents: introduction · eighty thousand adolescents · informal religious education · […]

William Alexander Smith – the founder of the Boys’ Brigade as a youth worker

William Alexander Smith – the founder of the Boys’ Brigade as a youth worker. Jonathan Roberts examines the William Alexander Smith’s contribution to the founding, character and development of the Boys’ Brigade. He seeks to get behind many of the mistaken images of the work that those outside it have. Contents: introduction · William Alexander […]

Maude Stanley, girls’ clubs and district visiting

Maude Stanley, girls’ clubs and district visiting. A youth work pioneer who produced an early comprehensive youth work text – and helped to found the London Union of Girls Clubs. Contents: introduction · work around the Five Dials · the Soho Club · clubs for girls · conclusion · further reading and references · how […]

Maude Stanley: Night schools

Maude Stanley 2862 by Camille Silvy. Wikipedia pd. This piece provides an insight into the way in which parish visitors approached their tasks – in particular, how they related schooling and club work to outreach. Taken from Chapter IX of Maude Stanley’s (1878) Work About The Five Dials, London: Macmillan. Maude Stanley, the third daughter […]

Maude Stanley: The way to start and manage a girls’ club

Maude Stanley 2862 by Camille Silvy. Wikipedia pd. Maude Stanley’s (1890) handbook Clubs for Working Girls was the first substantial exploration of what was involved in girls’ club work. Here we reproduce Chapter II. In it Stanley sets out her view of some of the key characteristics of such work. Maude Stanley began working as […]

John Stansfeld (“the Doctor”) and ‘Oxford in Bermondsey’

John Stansfeld (“the Doctor”) and ‘Oxford in Bermondsey’. John Stansfeld (“The Doctor”) gathered together a remarkable group to work with boys and young men in Bermondsey. Their work and subsequent contribution helped to define the shape of modern boys’ club work and social policy more widely. They were also a significant force in the Church […]

Arthur Sweatman and the idea of the club

Arthur Sweatman and the idea of the club. Known as an early advocate of specific youth provision, the Most Rev. Arthur Sweatman also contributed to thinking around the development of working men’s clubs. Arthur Sweatman (1834-1909) was the son of a doctor on the staff of the Middlesex Hospital, and was educated at University College […]