The picture ‘Flickr contacts’ is by Kevin Dooley. Sourced from Flickr, it is reproduced under a Creative Commons  Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence.

We specialize in the theory and practice of informal education, social pedagogy, lifelong learning, social action, and community learning and development.

Click to see all the main index or browse below through the different areas.


Key concepts and theories in education, learning, and community. Click for a full listing of articles.

Featured: what is community development? The idea of community development grew, in large part, out of the activities of colonial administrators. We examine this legacy and the theory and practice that emerged. We also look to the body of overlapping ideas, including community participation, community organization and community work. In this piece we suggest that community development is perhaps best used to describe those approaches which use a mix of informal education, collective action and organizational development and focus on cultivating social justice, mutual aid, local networks and communal coherence.

Featured: caring in education. In this article Nel Noddings explores the nature of caring relations and encounters in education and some of the difficulties educators have with them. She also looks at caring relations as the foundation for pedagogical activity.

thinkers and innovators:

Exploring thinkers and innovators central to the development of the theory and practice of lifelong learning, social action, pedagogy and informal education. Click for a full listing of articles.

Featured: bell hooks on education. Barry Burke assesses the contribution that bell hooks has made to thinking about education and sets this within the context of her biography and work.

Featured John Ruskin on education. John Ruskin altered the way we look at art and architecture, and was an influential social critic and advocate of economic change and reform. His desire to advance reform and to deepen people’s appreciation of art inevitably brought him to teaching and to education. His work was to have lasting significance. But what did Ruskin advocate? What was special about his approach? Sara E. Atwood explores his contribution.


Developments within different areas of work. Click to explore.

Updated: Extended schools and services: theory, practice and issues. In an attempt to emulate full-service schooling initiatives in the USA an English scheme looked to develop extended schools providing a range of activities and services often beyond the school day, ‘to help meet the needs of its pupils, their families and the wider community’. We explore the reality – the theory and practice – and the issues around extended schooling and services.


Materials that illuminate the development of informal education, community learning and development, lifelong learning and social pedagogy. Click for the full archive collection

Feautred: Charles Dickens – A sleep to startle us: An article on ragged schooling that appeared in Household Words in 1852.

Featured: Octavia Hill – Space for the people. This article by Octavia Hill, included in Homes of the London Poor (1883), outlines her case for the need for all people to be able to access space: places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in, and places to spend a day in.

Featured: James Hole – Social education: Chapter 8 of James Hole’s (1860) “Light, More Light!”On the present state of education amongst the working classes of Leeds – exploring the power of popular forms.

Featured: Fred Milson – Growing with the Job: In this popular pamphlet from 1968, Fred Milson makes the case for attending to the growth and development of workers – and the special setting in which they are working.

Acknowledgements: The picture ‘Flickr contacts’ is by Kevin Dooley. Sourced from Flickr, it is reproduced under a Creative Commons  Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence.

The picture of Charles Dickens is believed to be in the public domain and was sourced from Wikimedia Commons. Picture: community by Brendan Murphy. Sourced from Flickr and reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) licence.