Monday, 1 February 2010

To London...

To the Palace of Westminster
The future of SEN – I

Michael Gove MP Shadow DCSF Secretary
Sir Robert Balchin DL, Chairman of the SEN Commission
look forward to welcoming you to a
9.30am coffee for 10.30am sharp, till noon
on Monday 1st February 2010
in Westminster Hall Debating Chamber
(Grand Committee Room)

So up early this morning and off through the freezing frost to the railway station to go to London, to the Houses of Parliament, on the cheapest fare that I could find (£54.10, even with my pensioner's card – ouch!). Arrived on the dot of 1030 and, if there has been any coffee, it was long gone.

Over the next few days I shall report what I saw and heard there, and what I see (very much as an outsider) as the Conservatives' very real problems over 'SEN'. I shall also share such thoughts as this sparks off about what an incoming Government might do in this sector.

Readers' comments and queries will be very welcome throughout this process and I hope that these will cover not just wider issues raised but also relate to matters more specificly to do with Conductive Education.

At first sight, all this might appear a matter wholly to do with the United Kingdom but it would be wrong to think of this other than as a local manifestation of an international problem. Contributions form non-Brits therefore will therefore also be warmly welcome.


  1. Does the term and concept 'SEN' itself have a future? I wonder. I shall look forward to reading your report, Andrew.

  2. SEN: the term and what comes with it: here to stay?

    I do hope not. I have been resisting 'SEN' since Ron Gulliford first promoted the wretched expression.

    Unfortunately almost everyone else has unthinkingly gone along with it, and its stain has gradually spread across the globe (translated into languages other than English too).

    As the most minor act of resistance, people with something better to say should stop using the term altogether. Better, argue against it.

    More important than simply the term, however, are the loose thinking and inchoate philosophies that stand behind it.

    Going along with this term has given it legs. Just ignoring it is probably not enough now to make it go away.

    People with something better to say, have actively to fight, both the term and what it comes with. What do sayinstead? Try saying what you mean.


  3. The term I knew best, certainly in the early intervention context, was those with additional needs, which may be in education or elsewhere.

    My American friends will say extra challenges or enhancements.

    Yes, you would have to fight the stigma and prejudice which comes with it.

    And the microinequities.