Monday, 2 February 2009

Including a conductor in mainstream school

Seminar in March

The search is on for new models of conductive practice, both by families who need greater widespread and more affordable availability and by conductors looking for new settings in which to work.

A major question for conductive services providing for school-age children, almost anywhere in the developed world, is what to do about inclusion.

If one cannot fight it, why not join it?

A model tried in a few places, on an ad hoc basis and usually (as ever) at the instigation of parents, is injecting a conductor (or even more rarely conductors) into mainstream schools. It happens, but the how, what to do and what not to do, has hardly ever been reported. Valuable personal experience, therefore, has been of little or no general, social benefit (Conductive Education’s old sweet song!).

Ad hoc schemes have involved conductors working in regular classrooms, paid (and sometimes treated) as classroom assistants, working when and where they can during the day’s few non-lesson times, or working in separate groups apart from the regular classrooms. No doubt there have been other variants but if they are not reported then we cannot know.

ACE at Great Barr Primary School, Birmingham

Great Barr Primary School in Birmingham includes a concentration of pupils with a variety of disabilities, some with motor disorders, others with conditions not usually associated with Conductive Education. Its classroom teaching is wholly inclusive: there are no separate groups within the school.

The project is called ACE, Accessing Conductive Education, since it permits a larger number of children to benefit and does so by coming to where the children already are.

For more than two years now the Children’s Services of the National Institute of Conductive Education have been running a project at Great Barr, involving full-time placement of a senior conductor as an integral member of the school staff. Note however, that his placement there goes beyond mere integration: he is wholly included in the life of the school.

An emerging principle is that if you want fully to include Conductive Education then from the outset you have to include the conductor fully.

A further important feature of this project has been that the conductor is and remains in everyone’s sight precisely that: a conductor. This is an important issue on two counts:
  • in understanding his role in the school (he is not a schoolteacher, or an assistant or some new sort of therapist, he is not a conductor-teacher or a teacher-conductor, but someone with a claim to independent professional status on the basis of peculiar skills and knowledge, a conductor;
  • in helping clarify a distinct role for conductors vis-à-vis school systems, now that the era of training ‘conductor-teachers' has come to its end.

And yet another: Conductive Education’s benefits are available not just to children and their families but also to those who work with them in the context of their school.

Seminar in March

István Szücs, Conductor in Charge of the ACE Project at Great Barr Primary School, and Wendy Baker, Director of Children’s Services at the National Institute, will provide a rare opportunity to hear about this work during a day seminar to be held in Birmingham in March.

The seminar is part of a series organised by the educational charity Interconnections. The morning session will focus upon the ‘team around the child’ approach for babies and preschool children. The seminar by István and Wendy occupies the afternoon.

People in Conductive Education for children should know of and consider the team-around the-child approach, and would find the morning session stimulating and challenging. As for the afternoon session, the ACE experience offers a highly inclusive model for implementing Conductive Education in a novel and refreshing way as part of the day-to-day life of an inclusive school, and should therefore be of considerable interest to conductors, service-providers and parents looking for new ways of extending the benefits of Conductive Education.

Details

Seminar

A whole approach to babies and young children who have multiple needs: pre-school and primary school

A national Interconnections seminar in Birmingham

1000 to 1500, 19 March 2009

Postgraduate Centre, City Hospital, Birmingham


Morning session
Team around the child for babies and pre-school children – Peter Limbrick

Afternoon session
Conductive Education in a Birmingham mainstream primary school: CE with children with physical disabilities and children with autistic spectrum disorder – Wendy Baker and István Szucs

£95 + VAT per person

(includes a year’s free subscription to IQJ (Interconnections Quarterly Journal)

Places are limited

There are some free places for parents.

Applying for a place

Apply direct to Interconnections:
p.limbrick@virgin.net

Notes

ACE Project (press release)
http://www.conductive-education.org.uk/2008/press%20release%20great%20barr.htm

ACE Project Leading Aspect Award (for inclusion)
http://www.leadingaspectaward.org.uk/casestudy/great+barr+primary+school,+birmingham/662

Interconnections National Seminar in March
http://www.icwhatsnew.com/bulletin/0902/07.htm

Interconnections Quarterly Journal
http://www.icwhatsnew.com/iqj/date.htm :
Several items in the current issue (no 4, January 2009) are relevant to conductivists looking to connect with contemporary issues in adjacent fields, perhaps no 10 in particular.

Reference

Baker, W, Sutton, A., Szücs, I. (2007) Introducing conductive pedagogy into a mainstream primary school: an interim communication. Recent Advances in Conductive Education, 6(1), pp. 28-32.

Contact gill@conductive-education.org.uk for availability of this and other information on the ACE Project..

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