Tuesday, 24 May 2016


Not quite the same, but still heuristic

There is a Capita 'conference' in Manchester on 7 July that on first seeing I thought might ideally be just the sort of thing that Conductive Education could contribute to and benefit from.

I was wrong, misled by the fog of new jargon and euphemism. It is actually about education for children who have been thrown out of school.

All the same, some of the the issues being covered seem hauntingly familiar...

It does make me wonder, however, whether there are public fora in which 'alternative provisions' of the kind represented by Conductive Education might usefully learn from each other and from others in analogous situations, about common concerns and possible resolution...

I am glad that I am no longer in the field. I might have felt sorely tempted to organise something.

Monday, 23 May 2016


Requested clarification


Last week Conductive World mentioned a 'co-ordination meeting' between management of the PAF (formerly the Pető Institute) and the members of the Board of the European Conductive Association, at which PAF announced some of its plans for the future:

Information on this meeting became publicly available because the German Conductors' Association has reported it on its website. Other organisations represented there have yet to mention it:

PAF's plans are wide-ranging and if realised could have Europe-wide implications for the future of Conductive Education.

This was 'a very open discussion'. Without further elaboration, the German Conductors' Association added –
The proposals also met critical voices from those present. Board members from Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Germany discussed them openly and repeatedly pointed out to PAF the desire for effective networking and collaborative working.

The posting on Conductive World was headed 'More Kremlin-watching'


At the weekend this posting attracted an unsigned Comment –
What does this have to do with Kremlin?

The expression 'Kremlin watching' originated during the Cold War. It referred not so much to a specific building, the Moscow Kremlin, but to the institution that it represented – the Soviet Government. This was an institution that those outside had good reason to watch with care, and often trepidation, but was an informational black hole from which few certain clues of what was planned or intended ever emerged. The 'watching' was an attempt to cull clues from any source that might be offer some indication of what was going on and what might be expected next.

A overlapping concept from those days was Kremlinology. Another was intelligence.

During the last twenty or so years the days of such activities might have been regarded as over. Perhaps they were. The expression 'Kremlin-watching, however, persisted in the English language, being used by extension to apply figuratively to any large but opaque (non-transparent) institution. Now I see it is back in common usage with respect to the Government of the Russian Federation, So it goes.

Through a glass, darkly

The expression was used figuratively in Conductive World, to suggest that if the matters dealt with at this meeting are important to anybody then they are surely important enough to be dealt with in a spirit of transparency,.


'Anonymous' has made frequent Comments on Conductive Education, on Conductive World and elsewhere  over the years.

There may unfortunately be good reasons why people in Conductive Education are reluctant to identify themselves publicly. On the other hand, the overall effect is yet further lack of transparency. In the twenty-first tradition Conductive Education needs clarity, not cloak and dagger.

Hot tip: look it up

If you find something on the Internet that you do not understand, you presumably already have your computer switched on. It then takes but a few seconds to look up the puzzling term in your preferred search engine...#

Sunday, 22 May 2016


András Pető: a tribute in verse

 The young Pető and the words of Zoltán Vitó, one his pupils

Judit Szathmáry writes –
Whoever offered the wine of movement,
The beautiful intoxication of motion
And whoever has been taught to walk,
That person will always know
How incredible it may be
That everything is possible anywhere.
People can overcome any monster
If they have the will, the heart and the intelligence
The magic consciousness always helps
Zoltán Vitό, Hungarian writer and one of the pupils of Dr András Pető, gives a clear picture of what he learnt growing up under the guidance of Dr András Pető.
A spark of a reminder of the 'old school conductor-training' we have been part of.
There are now not many of us around... few and far between. We must take care of each other, support each other and preserve what we were handed down by Dr. András Pető and Dr. Mária Hári.
I know that it is not easy. It is hard not to give in to circumstances, new trends, just to be accepted or to have an easier life, but it is much easier for us than what they had to go through in their lives, without giving in and giving up. 

Judit Szathmáry, writing on her Facebook page a week ago, on 15 May – she first published this English translation on her now discontinued blog Conductive Education Journal. 

Zoltán's poem is worth running again and I am pleased to share it more widely – thank you, Judit.

András Pető's own verse was rather different in tone. For published examples, see pages 153-160 (English translations) and 259-266 (German originals) of the book András Pető:

(Copies can be ordered through this link)

Friday, 20 May 2016


Training again

The German Conductors' Association has reported –
European project for recognition of qualifications in Europe
Within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme, 'for quality-assurance at European level to improve the transparency and recognition of competences and qualifications', in February this year the PAF [formerly the Pető Institute] initiated a European project called 'Quality Levels in Conductive Education' (QLINCE).
As well as PAF, also involved are the National Institute of Conductive Education (NICE), England, Move&Walk, Sweden – and FortSchritt Starnberg e.V., which brings our own Federal Association into the project.
Whether the project can take place, we will find out in June 2016. If it is approved, the first working meeting is to be held in Brussels on 4-7 July this year. The results have to be published in 2018.
Cui bono?

(2016) Aktuelle Themen: Europäisches Projekt zur Anerkennung von Qualifikationen in Europa, Verband det Tätigen in Deutchkand KonduktorInninen, 1 March

Thursday, 19 May 2016


An Irish one

Oh, the terrible stories that I have heard out of Ireland over the years. How typical they are of living with disability on the island of Ireland and the quality of services provided over there, I have no way to know. That I have heard them at all, and kept hearing them over thirty years, really is appalling.

This latest one – what a dreadful tale it is to read in a respectable, authoritative, national newspaper. Surely there are politicians, journalists, churchmen, advocacy bodies, ordinary decent Irish people enough, who on reading such a tale feel shame, indignation – or just plain curiosity to see whether there is are reasonable responses to the questions that it raises? At the very least, surely the story poses the question of whether something deeply troubling is showing through the surface here, another potential institutional care scandal.

And the better informed may reflect that this little boy's childhood and the well-being of his family might have been less afflicted by unnecessary woes if individuals and institutions north and south of the Border had not so powerfully and persistently stonewalled to block development of conductive initiatives over there for almost three decades.

And Rory's pottying and therefore his nursery placement might have been swiftly sorted, at minimal expense.

Meanwhile, hats off to the Lighthouse and Buddy Bear Trusts for soldiering on these many years, and keeping the conductive flag flying over there in the graveyard of conductive dreams – and probably of so many other dreams too, one feels forced to wonder...


Brady, S. (2016) 'I'm hurt and broken by the system' – Mother's heartbreak as the HSE advises her cerebral palsy son can't attend school (24 hours before his first day), The Irish Independent, 15 May

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Something stirs

There was a joint meeting of the PAF (formerly the Pető Institute) and the Board of the European Conductive Association in Budapest on 31 March – 1 April.

In accord with custom, neither the PAF nor the ECA appears to have published the contents or outcomes of this – but the German Conductors' Association has since published a summary of the proposals that the PAF put forward on the day.

PAF Rector Andrea Zsebe announced wide-ranging plans that would affect 'European partners':
The proposals also met critical voices from those present. Board members from Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Germany discussed them openly and repeatedly pointed out to PAF the desire for effective networking and collaborative working.
At the end, the Rector of PAF and the President of the ECA signed a Memorandum of Understanding for future exchanges and cooperation.

It would take a good English translation plus knowledgeable annotation for me even to begin to understand what is being proposed here. Those who feel it important to look into this further for themselves should in the first instance consult the German report.

Meanwhile, at least they have been informed. Yes, it would be very nice if there could be effective networking and collaborative working, but this can hardly even begin if there it not at least effective communication and meaningful consultation...

Note that the ECA is not a representative organisation.


(2016) Koordinationstagung der Petö András Hochschule und ECA Board am 31.3.-1.4.2016 in Budapest, Bundesverband des in Deutchland Tatigung KonductorInnen, 3 May


Virag Czibok on TV
Very Magyar, and very Kiwi!

From New Zealand, Lisa Gombinsky writes to tell me about last Sunday's edition of NZ TV documentary programme Neighbourhood
The programme looks at little communities in New Zealand – this case Fairfield just outside of Hamilton in Waikato region – and profiles individuals.

The segment about Virag talks about her own early life and schooling in Hungary (with emphasis on music education as part of her upbringing). She then goes into being invited to NZ to help set up one of the first CE schools here – and how she knew nothing at all about NZ before she came.

The musical upbringing is revisited, She does not talk about rhythmical intention but about using music to help the kids know whether they should move quickly or relax, plus to establish the routine of the programme and to settle children in, especially those with more complex needs She talks about CE was developed in Hungary as a way to help children with cerebral palsy, but also how international programmes have brought other children in and shown that CE is effective beyond motor disorder... i.e. for children with behavioral, learning and sensory impairment, and a bit about CE Waikato (children up to age 6).

She talks about her specialty – very young children under age two – and about bringing positive movement experiences to very young children who might not otherwise get them. . Her Facebook page is Early Arrivals NZ if you want to read more). There is a few minutes of her working with a gorgeous little girl and of the family saying how great Virag is A very lovely little piece

See the programme?

Wherever you are you can watch a couple of minutes' taster on Fairfield Online Extra in which Virag speaks about her strong connection to her Hungarian culture.:

The full programme is available as TV on demand, but only if you live within the New Zealand timezone:

Virag on Facebook

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Who led the NZFCE

I did not know Dave personally, we did not even meet. But half the planet away, I could sense the force of his presence, by deed and by repute,. Of course the remarkable collective achievement eatablishment of Conductive Education in New Zealand over the years has come about through many forces and as a result of the colossal efforts of many people – but the focus that New Zealand has achieved has depended largely upon a single human agency, and that agency was Dave's.

Around the world the most effective development of Conductive Education has rested upon the collaborative efforts of three estates:
  • users and would-be users of conductive services
  • conductors
  • a 'third estate' of individuals from diverse other backgrounds, with their own personal commitments to the cause and their own especial contributions to make.
Dave was one of this third estate, with a long background in educational leadership and the wider world of voluntary community effort, and understandings, bringing experience and passions not otherwise to hand. There have been examples enough of where the advance of conductive movements have been hampered or even stymied for lack of such nous. Dave's hand on the helm of the New Zealand Foundation for Conductive Education has been a vital factor in the advancement of Conductive Education in New Zealand.

In perpetuum, Frater, ave atque vale...

Monday, 16 May 2016


Success for two conductive schools
Move&Walk has announced that its schools at Malmö and Gothenberg have attained high scores in the recent Schools Inspectorate survey, collectively achieving higher than the national averages for special schools in Sweden, with Malmö winning the highest score possible under Elevens utveckling ('pupil development').

Spokeswoman Jenny Haagman says – 

She adds –
That we have more satisfied pupils, parents and staff than all other special schools, all points, shows that conductive education really works for our group of pupils... Our teachers have a holistic perspective that makes reasonable demands of the students, which helps them feel that they can. Everyone can develop in their own terms.
A useful precedent for others

Those struggling against state education services in other countries might remember that the strongest evidence that politicians  and officials might see is information on what politicians and officials in other countries are already accepting– established memes not 'research'.

Some tables 



– (2015) Friskolan Move & Walk – grundsärskolan som får bäst resultat, Fiskolornas Riksforbund, 16 May

Most recent item on Move&Walk



A seven-minute video from Lars Mulback is inncluded with this item:

'Move@Walk school – everyone has a right to education':

Sunday, 15 May 2016


Conductor training beyond frontiers?

The PAF, formerly the Pető Institute, recently completed a three-week demonstration service in the city of Senta in northern Serbia (one-time Hungarian Zenta).

At the closing ceremony Jenő Hajnal, President of the Hungarian National Council said that conductive pedagogy can bring miraculous results without need for much equipment, but the project's wider importance lie in its implications for future conductor-training, which could take place in Santa as well as in Budapest. Not many people actually came forward for this three-week course but it is hoped that news of what has been done at Santa will attract more – not just those of Hungarian background. It is also hoped that benefits might extend to other parts of Serbia.

PAF Rector Andrea Zsebe also spoke, pointing out that this course had been preceded by screening to select from those put forward, as the method is not suitable for all disabled people. She also said that the PAF's intention to decentralise and be less Budapest-centred, also extends beyond the present political frontiers of Hungary.

The main coordinator of Senta course was Attila Perpauer, Chairman of the Hungarian National Council's Education Committee. He reported that family-members taking part had a positive attitude towards the programme, and that attendance had sometimes involved huge personal sacrifices, with some families travelling daily, others sleeping in Santa. He added that parents are already awaiting the next course, to be organised in the autumn.

Some background to this story


(2016 ) Szinte csodát tud művelni. Véget ért a budapesti Pető András Főiskola zentai kurzusa, Magyar Szó, 6 May