What is action research and how do we do it?

Action research. In this article we explore the development of some different traditions of action research and provide an introductory guide to the literature. contents: what is action research? · origins · the decline and rediscovery of action research · undertaking action research · conclusion · further reading · how to cite this article. see, also: […]

The Albemarle Report: the youth service yesterday and today

The Albemarle Report (1960) provided youth work in England and Wales with a very influential rationale and framework – and was a key element in substantially increasing funding for youth work. Here we reproduce Chapter 1 of the report. contents: preface · history · present machinery · what it costs · present aims · assessment […]

the albemarle report: justification and aims of the youth service

The Albemarle Report (1960) provided youth work in England and Wales with a very influential rationale and framework – and was a key element in substantially increasing funding for youth work. Here we reproduce Chapter 3 of the report. contents: preface · introduction · justification · aims and ideals · principles and practice The Committee […]

The Albemarle Report: activities and facilities

The Albemarle Report (1960) provided youth work in England and Wales with a very influential rationale and framework – and was a key element in substantially increasing funding for youth work. Here we reproduce Chapter 5 of the report. contents: preface · introduction · activities · association · training · challenge · facilities · premises […]

The Albemarle Report: recommendations and priorities

The Albemarle Report (1960) provided youth work in England and Wales with a very influential rationale and framework – and was a key element in substantially increasing funding for youth work. Here we reproduce the report’s main recommendations and priorities (originally Chapter 10 of the report). The Committee responsible for this report was chaired by […]

Seeking out the gift of authenticity

Seeking out the gift of authenticity: Heather Smith argues that developments in youth work are undermining authentic relationship. She suggests that if we do prize relationships over targets and do truly care about the people we encounter, it is possible to take personal responsibility to seek out the gift of authenticity. contents: introduction · the […]

Robert Baden-Powell as an educational innovator

Robert Baden-Powell as an educational innovator. Famous for his contribution to the development of Scouting, Robert Baden-Powell was also able to make several educational innovations. His interest in adventure, association and leadership still repay attention today. contents: introduction ·the early development of scouting · Robert Baden-Powell and ‘doing good’ · citizenship, taking responsibility and participation […]

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 J. Barnes and youth work

Leonard J. Barnes and youth work. L. J. Barnes championed experimentation, facilitation and spontaneity in youth work – and criticized inculcation. We explore his thinking and impact. contents: introduction · leonard barnes – life and work · leonard barnes on the purpose of youth work · youth work and spontaneity · character-building or growing personality? […]

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 […]

Josephine Macalister Brew, youth work and informal education

One of the most ‘able, wise and sympathetic educationalists of her generation’, Josephine Macalister Brew made a profound contribution to the development of thinking about, and practice of, youth work and informal education. contents: introduction · life ·  in the service of youth · informal education · innovations in practice· final days · references · […]

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 […]

Leslie Button and developmental group work

Leslie Button and developmental group work. The ideas of Leslie Button were influential in youth work practice and training for over 30 years. He developed a method for both training youth workers and working with young people that became known as developmental group work. He also made a significant contribution to the development of active […]

Camping, summer camps, camp counselors and informal education

Summer camps, camp counselors and informal education. Summer camps are part of the lives of many middle class young people in the United States. In Britain camps have been associated with Scouting and Guiding, but more recently there is discussion about offering more 16 year olds the chance to take part. Here we explore the […]

Too few, too many: The retreat from vocation and calling

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash Tony Jeffs examines some of the uncomfortable questions raised by Victoria Climbie’s murder and subsequent policy responses around the training, recruitment and management of welfare professionals including informal educators such as youth workers and community educators. In particular he argues that face-to-face work has been devalued and constrained; policymakers […]

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 […]

Citizenship, youth work and democratic renewal

Citizenship, youth work and democratic renewal. Tony Jeffs examines current and historic concerns with citizenship within British youth work and the direction of government policy. He argues that informal educators must be wary of pseudo-democracy and work to cultivate small pockets of genuine deliberate democracy wherein citizenship survives and from which it will range forth. […]

Civil society

Civil society. Civil society is much talked about, but rarely understood. Michael Edwards explores the practical and theoretical significance of civil society – and suggests some ways through the issues surrounding its use. Contents: introduction · the civil society puzzle · civil society – gaining some clarity · civil society as associational life · civil […]

Club work

  On this page we explore the nature of clubs and how they came to be a key site of informal education activity. Focusing on developments in Britain, we examine their benefits and some of the issues that face those that work in, and with, them. To be completed contents: introduction · philanthropy · parish […]

Offering community to children and young people in schools and local organizations

Mark K Smith explores how, in the context of the ‘new normal’, educators, pedagogues and practitioners need to offer community to children and young people. This article is part of a series: dealing with the new normal • offering sanctuary • offering community • offering hope] contents: introduction • friendship • social capital • associational life […]

Explore the theory and practice of community education

What actually is community education? How does it differ from education in the community, or education for community? We explore the theory of community education and some examples of practice using resources from The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. In England, and many other countries, ‘community education’ has tended to be wrapped up with […]

Social exclusion, joined-up thinking and individualization – new Labour’s Connexions strategy

Tony Jeffs and Mark K. Smith explore some of the key themes and ideas that run through the British government’s Connexions Strategy for young people in England. Five of these are explicit: social exclusion, ‘the knowledge economy’, ‘joined up thinking’, transition, and targets; and two, individualization and surveillance, are not. However, all seven are central […]

Contactpoint – because every child matters?

Server farm by sugree on flickr ContactPoint is an online database which contains basic information about every child and young person in England from birth to their 18th birthday. David Hoyle explores the nature of the system – and the critisicisms made of it. He asks is the scale of the threat to children and […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Rediscovering social education

Written by Mark Smith, Creators not Consumers first appeared in 1980. We reproduce the complete text Two main themes run through Creators not Consumers. First, there is a concern to encourage young people to get involved in organizing things for themselves. This flows from a belief in the benefits of associational life both for the […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Introduction

The introduction to Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). This booklet has been written to promote discussion about social education. In the twenty years or so since the term first came into common usage there have been a number of developments in youth work […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Chapter 1 – The ice skating trip

Chapter 1 of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and informal education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982) Just after club had finished Neil came into the office and asked if we could organise an ice skating trip. He thought we could easily fill a coach if we charged £1.50 per person. How […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Chapter 2 – What the workers did

Chapter 2 of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). contents: · breaking down events ·  opportunism ·  learning by experience ·  being participative ·  the social context ·  conclusion · [page 12] The skating trip gives us a flavour of what social education might mean […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Chapter 3- Rediscovering social education

Chapter 3 of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education –  Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). contents: · developmental needs · values · conclusion · [page 24] So far we have been looking at a form of youth work that puts learning first. In this chapter I want to ask what makes […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Chapter 4: Social education and politics

Chapter 4 of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). contents: the politics of developmental needs· what should workers do?· conclusion [page 34] Whilst many of the young people we work with face incredible injustices, are ignorant of their rights and are racist and sexist, our […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Afterword – Towards a critical social education?

The conclusion  of Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). [page 55] Looking back over the last chapter one word seems to spring out from the pages — the word critical. Its arrival is no accident. Three meanings of the word join together and make […]

Mark Smith: Creators not consumers. Further reading

From Mark Smith’s exploration of youth work and social education – Creators not Consumers. Rediscovering social education (1982). [page 57] I have only listed books or articles that I feel are particularly helpful. Anybody who wants detailed references should contact me c/o NAYC Publications. 1. Bernard Davies : Part-time Youth Work in an Industrial Community […]

Bernard Davies, social education, group work and youth work

Bernard Davies, social education, group work and youth work. Bernard Davies is a, perhaps the, key figure in the development of youth work in Britain in last forty years of the twentieth century. His work, initially with Alan Gibson, was central to social education becoming a defining feature of youth work in the 1960s and […]

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 · […]

Alan Rogers: Starting out in detached work

  Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash Starting work as a detached worker can be an isolating experience; although there may be co-workers and managers willing to offer support and a community to relate to, workers are essentially on their own. Alan Rogers explores the experience in this classic booklet dating from 1981. contents: introducing […]

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 […]