In a desire to inform the In Defence debate we are posting on this page links to stimulating writing about the purpose and character of youth work. We hope in the midst of the hurly-burly that you might pinch a moment to scour their contents. In addition it would be great if you could suggest material for inclusion in this section.

  • see this piece by Pete Sims, ‘ A Real and Present Danger – The Youth Work Crisis’, written to influence the Labour Party’s thinking about youth work and the need for a statutory Youth Service.

A Real and Present Danger – The Youth Work Crisis [pdf]


  •  see the interview between Tony and Marilyn Taylor, ‘Threatening Youth Work : The Illusion of Outcomes’, a critique of the imposed agenda of prescribed outcomes upon our work and in particular the Young Foundation’s pseudo-scientific Framework of Outcomes for Work with Young People.

Threatening Youth Work : The Illusion of Outcomes [pdf]


  • see the following group of pieces exploring  issues around the place of Ethics and Politics in Youth Work, partly written in response to the Campaign’s Engaging Critically seminar, ‘Ethics in Youth Work : A Retreat from Politics’ held on November 5, 2013 in Birmingham.

The eloquent pre-seminar case made by Sarah Banks for ‘Reclaiming and Reframimg Ethics in Youth Work’.


The slides Sarah Banks would have used at our November 2013 seminar in Birmingham if the equipment had been ordered in time!

Powerpoint Presentation to IDYW Politics and Ethics event, November 13, 2013 

Sarah Banks’s passionate post-seminar defence of ethics.

In defence of ethics, Banks 7.11.13

Howard Sercombe’s powerful and nuanced argument in support of a code of ethics. Unfortunately Howard was unable to attend the seminar as intended.

Why a Code of Ethics?

Tony Taylor’s contribution to the seminar – more a defence of the political?

The Flight to Ethics : A Retreat from Politics


  • see Bernard Davies’s ‘A Manifesto for Our Times’ [2005], his passionate plea for a young person-centred practice focused on process and relationships. It begins, ‘Has youth work ever been so fashionable – or at a greater risk?’



  • see Graeme Tiffany’s influential submission to the Nuffield Review focused on the relationship between informal education in the guise of detached youth work and the prospect of an authentic democratic education.





  • Doug Nicholls draws our attention to the trilogy of challenging books that emerged from Manchester in 2007/8 – from the Manchester Metropolitan University,  Janet Batsleer’s ‘Informal Learning in Youth Work’ and Carol Packham’s ‘Active Citizenship and Community Learning’, and from the Manchester University, Kate Sapin’s ‘Essential Skills for Youth Work Practice’. Find his review of Janet and Carol in the October 2008 Rapport available at and his comments on Kate below.

Kate Sapin review


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