Improving outcomes, particularly those relating to educational attainment for children in care, remains a ubiquitous challenge for local government. Some European countries use social pedagogy as a conceptual framework to improve the outcomes for children. As part of its aspiration to embed a holistic mind-set for staff and carers working with children, Derbyshire County Council has practiced social pedagogy within its children’s residential homes since 2010, resulting in positive changes for staff and young people. In 2013 the University of Derby was commissioned to scope the content of the Council’s workforce development approach, to explore the idea that social pedagogy is a promising approach, not just in children’s homes but also in wider services. The scoping project included surveys and interviews with a range of children’s services workers, including those from social work, child and family support, residential and fostering services. The research identified that, where social pedagogy underpins the activities offered to vulnerable children and those in residential care settings, the outcomes for these groups are improved. There is a growing appetite for a programme of workforce development in social pedagogy, however any such programme should be inclusive and offered at different levels. Furthermore, the principles and concepts should be embedded in the existing roles of a range of practitioners working with children and young people. Ongoing research with Derbyshire’s children’s services workforce will contribute to a growing body of evidence, which supports the development and application of social pedagogy to improve the experiences of children and young people in the county.