Meet the team
SPPA is officially registered as a Charity with the Charity Commission. SPPA Trustees have a crucial role to play in shaping the organisation on behalf of members. Currently, our Board of Trustees is made up of ten amazing members who are passionate about social pedagogy and work hard, voluntarily, to keep SPPA functioning.
ROBYN KEMP, Chair
Robyn started working in children’s social care in the 1980s, qualified as a social worker in the 1990s, came to social pedagogy in the 2000s, and attained a U.K. master’s degree (distinction) in social pedagogy in 2011. She has experience in a variety of practice, management and academic positions over her career, specialising in children in and on the edge of care. For the past 15 years, she has worked as a consultant and facilitator in social pedagogy in practice and leadership and organisational development, also acting as a reflection facilitator and partner for individuals and groups. She has written several articles and papers on social pedagogy and children in and on the edges of care.
As social pedagogy is her raison d’etre, her garden and her song, Robyn became a trustee and member of SPPA from its inception and took over the role of chair shortly before the pandemic. The science, art and craft of social pedagogy are what has kept her going through difficult times, along with developing relationships with a wide range of experts by experience, carers, practitioners, professionals and sector leaders, believing strongly that empowering relationships are the catalysts for change, and that social pedagogy is the best way to support this way of working and caring.
CECILE REMY, Vice-Chair
Cecile is a social pedagogue working with young people in care, and as such, she is always interested in the interaction between learning processes and social change. She expands on this in a blog: https://www.mypedagogicalblog.com/
Cecile has experimented with forms of communal living, a very personal form of social pedagogy, and she is currently living in a housing co-operative in London. By living there, she is trying to create a different sense of community, to experience and work with the importance of group processes and to move away from individualistic thinking. Cecile carries some of those themes forward in her PhD, where she explores the attitudes and beliefs professionals working in children’s homes have of the young people they work with. As a Trustee for SPPA, Cecile hopes to bring some of those ideas to stimulate the debate around social pedagogy in the UK.
Cecile also coordinates the Membership group at SPPA.
TANYA ALDER, Treasurer
Tanya is a semi-retired accountant and foster carer. She trained as a Certified Accountant in the 60s and 70s, and for several years, worked for a variety of companies and sectors. She has been the Treasurer of the Staffordshire Foster Carers Association (SFCA) since it was formed and has experience in management accounts, control accounts, budgeting, costing and completion of VAT returns – ensuring that monies owed to a company were recovered which gave her experience of using legal frameworks.
In line with Staffordshire’s commitment to pedagogy, Tanya is a part of the team training other carers and social workers in the pedagogy doctrine.
BIANKA LANG, Trustee
Bianka holds an MA in Pedagogy from the University of Cologne and a BA (Hons) in Specialised Social Work, Children and Families from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.
Bianka is a Service Manager for the Family Support and Protection Teams, the Family Centre and the Family Time and Support Service. She has many years of experience in the field of social work within the UK and has worked for Essex County Council for 18 years in front-line social work. She has been in her current role of Service Manager since 2020 and before her current role, she was a Team Manager in an Assessment and Intervention Team between 2013 – 2020. Bianka also worked as a Social Worker and then Senior Practitioner from 2004 until 2013.
Bianka received the Team Manager of the Year Award and the Overall Social Worker of the Year Award in November 2016.
ELAINE HAMILTON, Trustee
Elaine has a MA in Psychology from the University of Glasgow and is currently undertaking the Master’s in Advanced Residential Child Care at the University of Strathclyde. Alongside qualifications in Health and Social Care, Elaine has a PDA in Management and Leadership with 10 years of experience managing and leading services within the Residential Child Care Sector.
Elaine is currently working as the Service Manager for Nether Johnstone House – a residential child care home in Scotland. With experience in counselling, residential child care, social work fieldwork services, community youth work and Educational psychological services. She has 16 years of practice experience working with vulnerable children, young people and their families, parents, carers and other agencies.
Elaine’s philosophy of care and support is embedded within a social pedagogical approach, ensuring that the child/young person is central to all aspects of their care and development. Elaine is passionate about supporting children and young people to explore their life stories in a way which creates clarity, curiosity and enhances their own personal growth.
HANNAH SEVERN, Trustee
Hannah has a Level 5 Diploma in Social Pedagogy as well as a degree in Developmental Psychology. She currently manages a Children’s Home for the charity Lighthouse Pedagogy Trust. Hannah is very passionate about bringing theories based on pedagogical values to life and seeing both the children and staff she interacts with reap the benefits. She has always worked alongside children; initially alongside those diagnosed with ASD and now channelling her energies into learning about children in care. Throughout all that she does runs the underlying belief that the most important skill you can harness is the ability to make meaningful and genuine relationships. She has a particular passion for conflict resolution utilising restorative skills to both, prevent a breakdown in relationships, but also in promoting the skills needed to maintain and repair them when things inevitably do not go according to plan.
Outside of her professional role, she has welcomed Charlie, our pedagogy puppy into her world who features in her blog.
KELLY GITTENS, Trustee
Kelly is a registered social worker with over 15 years of experience. He previously worked in the Caribbean, before working in the UK in Local Authority Child Protection Teams. He is a lecturer at Kingston University in the Department of Social Work and Social Care.
Kelly specialises in working with men and is a Caring Dads facilitator. He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the Frontline Fellowship and holds a diploma in Social Pedagogy. Kelly also wears another hat; he is a videographer and producer with broadcast experience in Barbados and has produced social awareness documentaries and training materials for various UK Local Authorities.
LEONI HAGEMANN, Trustee
Leoni has a degree in Social Pedagogy, a PGC in Systemic Family Therapy and Level 3 in Therapeutic Childcare. Leoni worked 12 years for a charity that provides supported housing for young people in care and care leavers. Most of her experience stems from working in children’s residential homes where she worked as a team leader before managing a semi-independent home. Leoni has worked with many unaccompanied minors and young people who have experienced trauma and/or neglect at some point in their lives. Her emphasis is on trauma-informed practice embedded in a social pedagogical approach to create a nurturing environment and trusting relationships.
MAIREAD NEVIN, Trustee
Mairead has a diploma in both Youth and Community Work and Drug and Alcohol Studies. She has a diverse work history and has worked with a variety of community based groups. Mairead has worked with Compass Child and Family Services in Ireland since 2018, employed initially as a pedagogue in a residential home for children and now as Aftercare Manager, developing a new Aftercare Service for young people leaving care.
Mairead is passionate about human rights, she believes in recognising the value and potential of everyone.
SIMON JOHR, Trustee
Simon qualified as a social pedagogue in 2009. After working with adults with autism in Washington DC, he completed his Master’s degree in Intercultural Conflict Management in 2012. For over 5 years, he worked at the Fostering Service of Staffordshire County Council, implementing social pedagogy as part of the Head, Heart, and Hands programme. From 2018 until 2021, Simon led the specialised fostering scheme of Coventry City Council. In 2021, Simon moved back to his home country Germany where he was working for a Fostering and Adoption Team in Schleswig-Holstein. Since late 2022, he has been teaching social pedagogy at a vocational college in Bremerhaven.
ADRIANA BURCIAGA, Executive Assitant & Project Manager
Adriana holds a PhD in Sociology of Education from University College London, an MA in Early Childhood Education and Care and a BA in Psychology (Hons). Adriana has over 7 years of experience working in international environments with multicultural teams in the education, hospitality and not-for-profit sectors. As SPPA’s Executive Assistant and Project Manager she works closely with the Chair and Vice-chair to steer the direction of SPPA by providing strategic guidance. She is involved in all areas of SPPA, from planning to execution, and her work has been fundamental to ensuring the smooth running of the charity over the years.
Adriana’s interests include environmental education, sustainability, the sociology of childhood, and all things related to mental health and well-being.
YVALIA FEBRER, Endorsement Advisor
Yvalia is a registered Social Worker who previously worked in child protection and education welfare in boroughs across East and South West London. She was the founding Programme Director of the Frontline Social Work programme and is now an Associate Professor at Kingston University, where she oversees the Pre-Qualifying Social Work and Social Care courses.
Yvalia specialises in trauma and attachment and is a qualified Practice Educator and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has written for the Guardian Social Care, Community Care, and Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
After being a SPPA trustee and vice-chair, Yvalia is now an external endorsement advisor for SPPA.