Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A bit of needle

Public expression of disagreement

How rare it is to see public disagreement from within the 'good works'. How rarely do teachers, therapists, academics and, yes, conductors, break the common front and disagree with each other in public. How rarely are ideas, practices, principles etc. openly challenged. How little correction, argument, debate can there therefore be. How little pressure to justify, modify or shed the outmoded, the wasteful, the counter-productive.

How stale!

I have heard it said, more that once, that it is 'unprofessional' to break ranks and express public disagreement or disapproval. How revealing a remark can you get!

(This does not mean of course that there are not all sorts of whisperings, criticism, spite, muttered and whispered below stairs, but that is another matter).

So it is refreshing when such apparently consensual silence is publicly broken. Such a rare occurence went public from the UK this very morning, not from within Conductive Education but from a closely adjacent field.

In opposite corners

CCNUK describes introduces itself as follows –

Care Co-ordination Network UK (CCNUK) is a networking organisation promoting and supporting care co-ordination or key working for disabled children and their families in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Interconnections introduces itself as follows –

The core philosophy of Team Around the Child (TAC) is to provide a small collaborative team of just two or three key practitioners around each child – a team in which the parent has a full place and an equal voice.

This morning I received quite a detailed a email from Peter Limbrick of Interconnections. I have no reason to believe that I was singled out to receive this. I suspect that it has been widely distributed. This email begins –

Dear Colleague,
Re: CCNUK’s advice to the government is just plain wrong
Opinion by Peter Limbrick
I thought you might be interested in a stark difference of view about keyworking for children with disabilities and their families. Perhaps you would want to join the discussion. In my view CCNUK’s advice to the government in response to the Green Paper on SEN and Disability is highly dangerous for children, for families, for multi-agency practitioners, for their managers

It concludes –

CCNUK’s advice, should the new government be taken in by it, will be a gross disservice to children, families, practitioners and service managers.... CCNUK are badly wrong in their view.

I cannot adjudicate on the rights and wrongs of the respective positions, since this matter is quite outside my personal experience. I do, however, commend to folks' attention this public shattering of the impression of sunny consensus generated by the good-works trades and their organisations – multidisciplinary and multi-agency. Things may indeed be sunny in many instances, and it may be quite otherwise in others. The issue here, though, is that alternative, conflicting positions are being posited, and someone ('the government'?) is called upon to examine evidence, weigh it up, and make choices. Everybody's position could be the sharper in consequence.

Come the day and maybe such public disagreements will be voiced in Conductive Education. Which day?Advice to Government, should this ever happen again, would probably be a powerful catalyst.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see whether lessons might be leaned from the key-worker debate, if it progresses.

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