Friday, 8 January 2010

Dishwater-dull, loveless and doomed

Another English official review nears its close

I have been reminded that the 'Salt Review' should report at the end of next month. What is the 'Salt Review'? This is the Independent Review into Teacher Supply for Pupils with Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (SLD and PMLD).

Hard to know precisely which children or which educational tasks this refers to but it likely covers areas of concern that overlap those of Conductive Education. Has the Review contacted anyone in Conductive Education? Has anywone in Conducted Educationn contacted the review? At one time such questions might have seemed important. Now, who cares?

Why bother? There's a General Election election coming hard on the heels of the Review's reporting date, and HM's Loyal Opposition has action on 'special educational needs' amongst its priorities. Whatever the Salt Review comes up with is in danger of being swept away by events.

Of course, the business of Government has to go on, even at its final fag-end, and of course worthwhile 'independent' fact-finding and analysis might produce truths with a life and a stimulus of their own...

But, oh dear, what a sad-bunny investigation this does look. My own life has involved me in this sort of field people 'outside' have sometimes asked 'How can you bear it?'  I have always replied: 'Because  this is intellectually exciting and personally demanding, and brings me into contact with amazing human problems and amazing human beings to confront them. (Doesn't anything, done properly?).' Look upon this website, though, and despair:


And, though this is but a detail, ask yourself what the two dreadful questionnaires included there might be expected to do to enhance human enlightenment on this important issue Ask too how one can seek answers without even defining the basis problems that prompts them, and wonder how here, even more than in the rest of teacher-education, one can ever hope to manage anything without questions of pedagogy centre-stage.

Anyway, who cares now The Conservative Party is ploughing on with its Commission for Special Needs in Education which, though its present proposals are far from radical, may well be setting new terms and a new tone for official activity in this sector by the end of this year:


'Dishwater-dull, loveless and doomed' was how I characterised the Salt Review. Perhaps this is terrible unfair to the worthies involved and their deliberations, but that is how it looks. For good or for ill, the alternative looks like opening the sector back up to a little much-needed passion.

6 comments:

  1. The Salt "worthies"

    John Ayres: Executive Headteacher, Grangewood Primary School for Children with Severe Learning Difficulties and the RNIB Sunshine House School.

    Professor Barry Carpenter: Associate Director (SEN) at Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT). National Director, Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Project.

    Brian Lamb: Executive Director of Advocacy and Policy at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People. Chair of the Special Education Consortium. Chair of the Lamb Inquiry (inquiry into parental confidence in the Special Educational Needs system).

    Colin Oxley: Assistant Director of Inclusion, Sefton Local Authority. Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS).

    Professor Richard Rose: Professor of Special and Inclusive Education, Northampton University. Director of the Centre for Special Needs Education and Research (CeSNER).

    Phil Snell: Lead of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Programme, Training and Development Agency (TDA).

    Janet Thompson: National Adviser for Learning Difficulties and / or Disabilities, Ofsted.

    Dr Rona Tutt: Former Special School Head. Past President of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT); now working for them as an SEN Consultant. Chair and Vice Chair of Governors at 2 special schools.

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  2. I wonder how many otherwise reasonably well-informed people have never heard of the Salt review?

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  3. Worthy. 3. Often facetious, a person of distinguished character, merit or importance.

    I have to admit to steering clear of the whole question of 'special educational needs' in the UK for the last three years or so. It has looked such a congealed unmoveable mass. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

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  4. 'What exactly are SLDs and PMLDs?'

    I love your use of the word 'exactly'.

    Oh, the state that our sector has beem brought to in the UK.

    I was too oblique: 'Hard to know precisely which children or which educational tasks this refers to...'. These categories, whether they apply to educational processes or to children (or even to schools) are not explicitly delineated at a level appropriate for specific discussion.

    This is just not good enough and too many people over the years have gone alone with avoiding some difficult questions that 'precisely' raises.

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  5. 'What exactly are SLDs and PMLDs?'

    I love your use of the word 'exactly'.

    Oh, the state that our sector has beem brought to in the UK.

    I was too oblique: 'Hard to know precisely which children or which educational tasks this refers to...'. These categories, whether they apply to educational processes or to children (or even to schools) are not explicitly delineated at a level appropriate for specific discussion.

    This is just not good enough and too many people over the years have gone alone with avoiding some difficult questions that 'precisely' raises.

    ReplyDelete