Wednesday, 24 June 2009

New Zealand: systemic problem?

Long black cloud over Aotearoa

Less than two weeks ago Conductive World reported problems of funding the CE unit at Naenae School in Wellington, described cautiously as 'a wobble' (Sutton, 2009a). What was happening was not entirely clear from the local newspaper story from which this was taken, though a further such story on Naenae subsequently helped clarify things a little.

Now, the CE unit at Addington is under similer threat and things look clearer still.The problem is national and not be just local. The new information comes from The Addington Article, the school blog of Addington School in Christchurch (Sutton 2009b) and is much more specific about the events that it is describing.

Funded as 'therapy'

It begins to look something like this.

From outside it has appeared that CE's remarkable expansion into New Zealand's state education system has depended upon the financial support of the educational service.

Not so, at least that is what it looks like fom the reports from Wellington and Christchurch. In those two schools at least, the conductors have been funded nationally, from the therapy budget, and the national therapy budget is facing an immediate cut-back of NZ$ 2.5m.

A question immediately emerges. Does this situation apply to all school-based CE in New Zealand? If so, Conductive Education in that country may suffer an sudden contraction to what relatively little might be provided from charitable resources, with immediate implications for CE services for children.

And for quite a number conductors' jobs.

Some light shed

These happenings do at least shed some light on a very puzzling aspect of the New Zealand CE. For some time now the New Zealand Foundation for Conductive Education and the New Zealand Conductors Asssociation have been investing time, trouble, money and hope in getting conductors 'recognised' as a profesional group. Unaccountably, they seemed to be aiming for conductors to become a recocognised health profession, rather that an educational one, inexplicable in the light of the essence of CE and their own apparent niche in the state education service.

This is a bit clearer now.

Now, of course, a further critical consideration emerges. Even within health services ,' therapy' is not the powerful, established institution, contrary to how things might look to some people in Conductive Education. In fact, therapy worldwide is a very vulnerable enterprise at a time of cut-backs in health spending (ask the 'community therapy' services in Ontario). And presumably, when push comes to shove, the old industrial priniciple will anyway comes into play: 'Last in, first out'.

Adults too

Pletyka has it that adult's CE in Auckland has had to cut back to the bone to maintain its services.

This long-established charitable foundation is NZ's only adult CE facility. Until recently this charity seemed to be on a riser, just as did NZ's school-based services for children.

Sringers wanted

Conductive Education in New Zealand has been a beacon of hope to many around the world who aspire to establish CE within their own education services, a precedent to be quoted and model to be follow.

So what is really happening there, locally and nationally?

There are usually 'dots' from New Zealand on the map at the top of this page.

Can some one tell us what is going on? If you cannot bear to post a public comment at the bottom of this article, even an anonymous one, why not act as a stringer (Sutton, 2009c).


In announcing commencement of the The Addington Article, such a short time ago, Conductive World reported as follows:

These New Zealand school-based CE units are now a regular part of the education scene in New Zealand's South Island. As such they represent an important advance in the development of Conductive Education worldwide, the precedent of which ought to prove important argument for those struggling for acceptance by official education systems elsewhere.

It is pity, therefore, that the rest of the world of Conductive Edication knows, and hears, so little about what happens down there. It is to be very much hoped that the New Zealand Foundation's sometimes very informative newsletter, now availably by email, will soon go on line.

How fast things can move when economics call the tune, perhaps something else that the rest of us might consider from the NZ CE experience.

And we await the next issue of that informative newsletter all the more.


-- (2009) Cuts to funding put Conductive Eucation under threat, The Addington Article, 24 June

Sutton, A. (2009a) Budgetry wobble in New Zealand? Conductive World, 17 June

Sutton, A. (2009b) School blog from New Zealand, Conductive World, 7 June

Sutton, A. (2009c) Become a stringer for Conductive World, Conductive World, 8 June

1 comment:

  1. You can find out more information on the funding cuts for Addington School here

    or contact us at Addington School