A social pedagogical intervention to support children in care: Back on Track

Angie Hart, Buket Kara, Rochelle Morris, Barbara Mezes, Sharon Butler, Craig McKenzie , Rosie Gordon, Josh Cameron, Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on an intervention project, Back on Track (BoT), implemented as a part of the Resilience Revolution: HeadStart Blackpool (RR:HS) programme in the UK. Whilst it is a famous family holiday resort, Blackpool is also one of the most deprived towns in England. This makes life challenging for young people (YP) to maintain wellbeing and reach their potential. Blackpool also has an above average and growing proportion of children in care. They are at a higher risk of developing mental health difficulties and of being permanently excluded from school. BoT aimed to support fostered children who have been referred by schools or social workers to the project for having emotional and behavioural struggles. As a consequence of their difficulties, they were at risk of permanent exclusion from the school. The intervention was grounded in a social pedagogical approach and Resilient Therapy. Resilience Coaches (i.e., wellbeing practitioners) had the role of enhancing communication between YP, family, social care, and school, whilst working with YP to co-produce coping strategies. Between November 2016 and June 2021, 39 YP (61.5% male) aged 10 to 15 (M = 12.74, SD = 1.60) received BoT support over a period lasting between 4 months to 2.5 years (M = 14 months, SD = 6.8 months). Using a mixed-methods design, this paper explored the BoT implementation. YP completed questionnaires before and after BoT. Triangulation interviews were conducted with a randomly selected YP, foster parent and the Resilience Coach. Results showed the benefit of equipping YP with ‘resilient moves’ and joining up systems to work together and better support YP and families. YP reported reduced difficulties, improved strengths (i.e., prosocial behaviour) and educational outcomes. This helped build resilience and reduce the risk of permanent exclusions from school. Policy and practice implications for children in care are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages14
JournalPedagogía Social. Revista Interuniversitaria
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2022


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