Thursday, 28 February 2013

What's big, obsolete, costly and takes up space?

On a parents' online forum a father writes –


We have a set of conductive education (PETO) furniture made by Smirthwaite which my son has grown out of. I know that with the expense of the conductors etc that CE is becoming increasingly rare in schools but for our son it worked wonders.

The set is in very good condition and retails at over £600 new. Obviously it's bulky and heavy so we would need to work out transport but the main reason for the posting was to see if anyone was interested in it. Let me know and we can work from there. We are in Gloucester for reference.


The passage highlighted in yellow caught my eye.

I should not have thought that CE was ever anything but rare in English schools, not real Conductive Education as provided by conductors anyway, though at one time many special schools did indeed employ wooden furniture and some so-called 'principles'. Times change and it may well be that schools and their visiting staff may find little room for such activity nowadays – though financial cost may be only one factor at work in this.

I am in no position to judge.  Simon could be right. Interesting perspective. An era closing?

Pritschen etc

Good luck in disposing of that 'plinth'.  Best chance for finding somebody who wants to use this stuff 'conductively' to advertise it (free) on Conductive World Market:

I am not sure what to suggest if you fail to dispose of it. I have heard Guy Fawkes Night suggested to solve such a problem – but that sounds a bit of waste. I once saw a redundant plinth in a school, serving as the base for an attractive indoor planting scheme but that takes up a lot of space. You could put a mattress on it and use it as a spare bed (space again). I suppose that you might even try to sell it on as an 'orthopaedic bed'. Or it could offer a substantial base for a model railway layout in one of the smaller scales (ditto). As a last resort, call in Community Transport or a similar organisation.

I do not know what goes towards making a 'set of conductive education (PETO) furniture' – or what other uses could be found for such stuff, whatever it it. No doubt there are others who might have ideas and experience.

Good luck with it. And for the future, do note that the floor and the ordinary fixtures of life can prove very satisfactory accessories, at no extra cost and no storage requirements.

Simon's furniture: whose problem?

Simon's problem is just one personal (and relatively minor manifestation) of how so many families have to bring up their disabled children (and/or disabled adults) in isolation. There are surely people out there who could solve such a problem in in a trice – but how to find them? Many disabilities have generated condition-specific organisations that might serve this function. Cerebral palsy once had one (now called Scope).

Or perhaps Simon's question is one for the world of Conductive Education rather than for the world of disability. One used to talk idealistically of a 'conductive community'...

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Possibly the best example yet
What is Conductive Education? 
Conductive Education therapy is one of the most effective methods of treatment of children with cerebral palsy internationally recognized, its distinguishing feature is to maximize the potential to guide the mobilization of voluntary movement in children, to entertainment and rhythmic intention to stimulate the interest of the children and the sense of participation. Continue to give scientific induction techniques, awareness of supply or password, so that children take the initiative to conduct training, combined with passive scientific training, fully open to children with emotional cognitive training big move, fine motor, attention, memory language skills, imagination, creativity, music, intelligent, introspective intelligence, spatial intelligence, social interaction, and logical thinking ability, so that children in moral, intellectual, physical, personality and temperament training and behavior shaping a comprehensive rehabilitation and development, both active rehabilitation, comprehensive rehabilitation, comprehensive rehabilitation, restore motion control to reach practical functional rehabilitation and parental involvement into the entire rehabilitation process, rehabilitation of cerebral palsy in children can greatly improve effect Indications: children with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, growth retardation in children with simple movement, language retardation, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, premature children, neonatal asphyxia sequelae of bilirubin encephalopathy sequelae various encephalopathy sequelae.
Possibly a machine translation, from the Klingon perhaps.

With some sympathetic guesswork it is possible to guess what was intended in the original language, whatever it was, in most parts anyway, but how much the wiser does that leave anyone?

Conductors, their colleagues and employers too

The UK is is suddenly very sensitive to the cover-up and suppression of information in its National Health Service and in other areas of public life, not least when it involves maltreatment and abuse of clients and staff by colleagues and managers.

It seems likely that such concerns will widen, with perhaps inevitable involvement of Conductive Education along the way, its conductors, their colleagues, volunteers, 'managers' and clients – even trustees and governors.

In the meantime, it can do no harm to follow what those who are already further ahead in this game are thinking and doing. Yesterday I was circularised an interesting enquiry by Steve Ford, News Editor of Nursing Times –
Do you feel safe to speak out?
When nurses and other health professionals raised concerns about care at Mid Staffordshire they were bullied by colleagues and managers. Nursing Times is launching a new campaign to increase protection for nurses who speak out when they see care failings and put pressure on the government to stand by its undertaking to review the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
To help launch our Speak Out Safely (SOS) campaign we are asking nurses for their views on whistleblowing and raising concerns.
Please take five minutes to fill in our short survey:
We are interested to hear of any experiences you may have had in raising concerns, whether these were positive or negative. If you wish to share your experiences please add these to the comments boxes for relevant questions or at the end of the questionnaire.
The findings will inform a news story in Nursing Times and give us evidence to support our campaign. Responses will be anonymous and treated in strict confidence.
Many thanks
Steve Ford
News Editor, Nursing Times
I am not of course suggesting that readers of Conductive World should complete and submit this form (unless of course thy are nurses). On the other hand, its content might offer food for thought, whatever one's involvement within the world of CE. Over the years I have come across or heard account of some dreadful cases of bullying, misbehaviour, neglect, favouritism, misreporting, incompetence, dishonesty and other mayhem in the workplace, that people have been afraid to talk about. Why not, such things happen and there is no a priori reason why CE should be spared them – yet, as elsewhere, they rarely come to light, other than at the level of gossip.

Even that well-known figure 'Anonymous' has had little to say publicly on this!

Conductive World will report what emerges from this survey but do have a look at the sort of thing that the nurses are being asked about.:

Change the terminology just a little...

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A few first reflections on the world map

On the Intelligent Love site the task of mapping centres, clinics, schools and other services where conductors might be found working around the world is now almost complete. Almost all this information has been previously available on line if one knew where to look, but for the first time in recent years this is now presented publicly in a coherent graphic form:

  • So far the map indicates 365 services etc where conductors work around the world
  • Perhaps unexpected is the number of services (46) offered to adults)
See the full data:

Patterns of settlement

These full data include breakdown on a country-by-country basis.
  • The most obvious pattern. is that conductors are employed almost exclusively in developed economies. Overwhelmingly, conductors work in 'the North', both geographically and economically. 
  • Within this wider pattern, the English-speaking world and Northern Europe take the lion's share of conductor-employment outside Hungary, with Southern Europe (including the South of France) barely figuring at all
  • The old Iron Curtain, 'from Danzig to Trieste', still casts a shadow. With the obvious exception of Hungary and the old DDR ('Eastern Germany'), there are no workplaces for conductors reported anywhere from the old Soviet Bloc. Objective reality or some persisting tradition of discretion? Help please
  • Israel New Zealand and Norway have developed national coverages that, though still thin on the ground on closer examination, are well in advance of any other countries in the conductor diaspora
Interpretation should include consideration of the population of given countries, and give cause to consider what reality lies behind statements that certain countries 'have Conductive Education' an a real option for citizens.

Readers may spot their own patterns. Like in everything else 'more research is needed'! There are certainly quite a few questions for further investigation apparent on this page.

The most Northerly place where conductors work (Tromsø in Norway) lies 400 km north of the Arctic Circle.

Zoom in – and fly over
  • This is a standard Google Map,  and can be explored accordingly.
  • Click on a 'pin' to bring up a pop-up with contact information and where known, a link to a website
  • Use the slide scale on the left-hand side of the page to zoom in close.
  • You will find that what might on the opening map looks a thick forest of 'pins' close up may look very dispersed
  • You might also consider a tendency for services to be situated in small towns or even outside towns and cities altogether
  • Another possible tendency is for services not to lie in capital cities (private employment arrangements may be different in this respect)
  • Hungary bucks both these trends
  • Zoom in close and the map will take you right down to street level
  • Click on Satellite to seen the location from above (again with zoom facility but, sorry, no street views available!)
  • You can Search using words within the names of services of in their addresses
  • For 'historical reasons' Hungary is an anomaly. 
  • Hungary has an extraordinary number, and variety, of places where conductors work, including within its capital.
  • We have been very much helped in compiling the Hungarian part of this map by using the results of a national survey carried out some three years ago
  • We recognise that, comprehensive as these data appear, they may already be drifting out of date
  • We do not have websites for the majority of these Hungarian services and we would be grateful to receive any URLS that readers can offer
  • Perhaps somebody might like to volunteer look them up for us.
At lease we now now what has happened to many of those conductors who have qualified at the Pető Institute over the years and are not on the international job market.

We are still truing to find a satisfactory way of representing the totality of conductor services available in Budapest.


One the CE's enduring puzzles is that frequently repeated statements that Conductive Education is established and available in Japan. Confirmation of what survives there would be much appreciated.

  • We cannot find conductors working in Poland. We know that there have been some in the past.
Can anybody advise?
Commonwealth of Independent States
(former Soviet Union)

Considerable interest has been apparent from the CIS  and there have been oblique reports of projects to establish conductive services there.  Substantiation and detail, please.

'Private conductors'
  • No mention is made of the unseen army of often transitory domestic conductors (or in some cases 'conductor-domestics'!) working privately with families. This is not a principled decision, other than that such activity is by its vey nature' – and we have to draw some sort of line around what is possible.
  • We do, however, include conductor consultancies, and would be grateful to include any that have been omitted – just tell us.
  • The bulk of the work if compiling this map together has now been done and it is sincerely hoped that maintaining it will be relatively easy.
  • How well this will achieved will depend in so small measure of readers' writing in to update information that they know to be incorrect
  • Information on new locations will be particularly welcome, and notification that services have closed
  • Comments, criticisms and suggestions will always be welcome
  • It is not possible to record all the places that have ceased to employ conductors or altogether closed over the years
  • For the moment anyway services that cease to employ conductors or just close will be recorded on the map.
'Oriental CE'
  • No attempt has been made to indicate the services provided under the Conductive Education under the Conductive Education, in China, especially Hong Kong, and elsewhere because, by their nature, they do not employ conductors
  • Such a map would be useful and informative, in both East and West, and it is to be hoped that this task will be taken up.
  • Inclusion on this map should in no way be regarded as a recommendation or assurance of quality.
  • Nor does it imply that activities provided are particularly 'conductive'
Possible uses
  • Finding services
  • Finding employment
  • Taking a look at conductive pedagogy in practice
  • Seeing something of the extraordinary range of conductive applications and practices that there are around the world, and view some of the range of information about CE – and misinformation    on public display
  • Tool for arguing the case for CE
  • Research tool

– (2013) Where conductors work, Intelligent Love, February

Maguire, G. (2013) Conductive Education Information,

Sutton, A (2013) Where conductors work: new, graphic world listing being prepared, Conductive World, 31 January

All correspondence

Please address all enquiries, suggestions and any further information that you can offer to Gill Maguire at:
If you find that your own service is not included on this data base, don't complain  instead, write in and offer your details.

Monday, 25 February 2013

A particular historiography

What is 'history'? Even brief contact with Hungary reveals one particular approach to answer this question, certainly when it applies to the history of those who presently speak Magyar, the Hungarian language. Tourists visiting Hungary may come across it a lot, a quick delve into more formal histories of Hungary may find it hard to avoid, I believe that it is taught in Hungarian schools, and it seems rarely out of mind in Hungarian politics.

It does seem very important to many Hungarians to have an account of where their language came from, and by extension what are the origins of the peoples who spoke it, in the undocumented ages before they appeared in the Carpathian basin a little over a thousand years ago. A difficult conundrum this, what was their history in the time of their prehistory? A lot of effort and ingenuity has gone into trying to solve this conundrum, drawing upon possible sightings in the histories of other peoples, bits of archeology, kinds of anthropology, snatches of musicology, a lot of speculative linguistics, not a little myth, more than a touch of teleogy, and some imaginative narrative-building.

Yesterday, in the Kazan Herald, of all places, Yusha Kozakiewicz presented a classic of the genre. Early on it in this makes bold statement of what a national history is all about –
...answers to the eternal question which haunts every nation: 'Where do we come from?'
He then offer his extensive answer with respect to 'the Hungarians' and their origins in Central Asia:

A different kind of national history

To an English eye, this is all looks most unfamiliar, not just because of the actual content that emerges and the methodologies employed to construct it. Rightly or wrongly, and with emphases differing from generation to generation, British history seems to be builf upon the stories of the peoples who inhabit the British Isles, what has happened to them once they are here and, to some degree, what they have subsequently done elsewhere. Churchill's all-embracing notion of 'the English-speaking peoples' has not caught on much and those who have left these shores are welcome to go off and have their own, new, independent histories elsewhere, as Canadians, Australians etc. And as for our ancestors stories before they arrives here, well, that is not all that terribly interesting except to a few enthusiasts. They were people who lived their lives elsewhere, wherever that was, and with no disrespect to the validity and worth of their lives in those contexts, what they did and achieved was of little relevance to their stories of the present mix of people that they and their descendents subsequently joined, their language, culture etc., what they did and achieved here.

The above interpretation attempts to articulate that I have perceived and internalised through the myriad of cultural experiences of my own life, to create a particular set of assumption about what constituted the history of these islands. Perhaps others have incorporated other implicit assumptions about this, giving rise to different articulations. I suspect, however, that many share the implicit assumption that the history of those now living here primarily comprises the story of those who lived her before us. I do not claim that this model of viewing our history is right, just that it exists and is probably widepread on these islands. And by the way, before anyone reaches for a high horse, this view of mine predates the 'recent wave of immigration', though I have seen no reason to change it to reflect the new Volkswanderung of the second half of the twentieth century.

I cannot see that many in my own country will be much occupied by the question which haunts every nation: 'Where do we come from?' Though I understand that recent genetic technology suggests that we might not be a varies genetically as was once thought, the the long-established answer shill holds true: wherever. And ditto for our language, and our culture. There is no point in trying to follow such matters back beyond these shores, for their validity lies in what they have become as part of our present national mix.

Why even ask?

What an obscure line of questioning and, to real historians, probably what an odd conceptualisation in response. So why bother? Partly to explain to myself (and to suggest to others) why how may Hungarians seem to see their nation's history rather differently than many in my own society see ours – because they may be looking for answers to a different question.

I have been interested in the history of Conductive Education for some thirty or so years, particularly the history of its ideas – long enough for my early interest itself to have become historical! Inter alia, I am currently involved in a small project to chart some salient events in the CE story, in terms of when and where they happened. It is all turning out rather more complex a matter than originally expected. The devil is not in specific detail, tricky as it can be to nail down particular dates and locations – nor in the technology of presenting these. No, it lies deeper, in the implicit assumptions. How these manifest themselves in the context of this prticular project, we shall have to see, in the certain knowledge that the outcome will not satisfy everyone.

I should add that the three of us involved in this are all British – in our differing ways, very.


Kozakiewicz, Y. (2013) Retracing the fraternal steps of history, from Hungary to Tartary, Kazan Herald, 24 February
Sutton, A. (2013) Considering the history of CE, Conductive World, 11 February

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Be seen to give it

Scope is a national charity (for England and Wales). Quite some years ago it held strong positions on Conductive Education – though looking back I cannot be sure what they all were – they shifted radically over time. Now Scope has backed right off.

One of the things that Scope does nowadays is provide an online enquiries page. Here are its published terms of reference –
How it works
Your posts are checked by our team before going live. Please be patient if your message takes a while… We have to do this to keep you safe - and remove scammers, spammers and other people who ruin the Internet for everybody.

Sorry, but you can’t post your contact details (go to our Facebook page to get social) or sell stuff, but we hope you find what you are looking for – contact us now if you need support!
This week the page published the following, most reasonable and frequently asked question –
Independent impartial review of therapies available?
Posted on 14 February 2013 
As I'm sure many people are, we're a bit bombarded by the different therapies available and wondering if there's ever been any kind of impartial review done of them all?
It's a minefield out there!

One might have thought that this is the sort of very important and common question that Scope has been meeting and responding to for years and years – and consequently has a clear, authoritative response readily to hand to inform its staff and volunteers, and for parents around the country, all of whom who ought to have this sort of information at their fingertips. Whoever it is who acts as gatekeeper to keep undesirables off this page might then have provided an immediate link to wherever Scope provides such vital information, based upon all these years and years of expertise and experience.

Pseudonymy and anonymity – a blight upon CE

At he time of writing there has been no such authoritative corporate response, indeed no response at all from anyone other than a pseudonymous posting, from someone who might or might not be a conductor –
Hi, I can understand your confusion
Posted on 16 February 2013
I can understand your confusion about all the therapies. Unfortunately I can't help which is good, which is not, which is the best, because I'm working as a conductor, developing children with CP through Conductive Education, so this answer can't be impartial.
But what I would suggest: to get your own experiences with therapies because one is working to one child, but maybe not the right one to the other. Unfortunately the best way to find out which is the best to your child, is to be part of it.
But the common important thing is to start as soon as you can.
Conductive Education is a learning process not a therapy/treatment. An educational philosophy not allowing a child to be inactive, negative or uninvolved in a normal life style/ solutions to problems in life and living. Con. Ed. embraces learning & dev. of movement, speech & mental ability, based on the theory that motor disabled children learn in the same way as their peers. No matter how brain damaged a child can learn.
there are a lot of places in the UK, where you can find Conductive Education centres, like Step and Learn charity in Kent, which provides free service.

if you have any question, don't hesitate to ask. :)
Whatever the quality of the information provided here, at least Bongyorno has had a go. I hope therefore that Bongyorno will not take it too personally when I write that this information is wholly worthless because it it has no identifiable source, because it is published over a pseudonym.. I do not even know whether to refer to Bongyorno as 'he' or 'she', or whether s/he is really a conductor. I just have no certain way of checking Bongyorno's credentials, other than from what I can deduce from internal evidence.

Bongyorno does not of course answer mamafee's original question, and her main practical advice invokes a CE centre tucked away in a none too accessible corner of the land. The reader cannot judge any of this without knowing where Bongyorno comes from (in both senses of the expression). You can of course google “Bongyorno” to see other interventions under this name on the same Scope forum, and perhaps begin to confirm an obvious guess at her identity. Come on Bongyorno, you have taken some effort to shine light on Conductive Education, all credit to you for that, but now you have blown your cover. So now stand up and be counted, and develop your personal authority in this very legitimate channel for professional practice.

I know that both parents and employees (including conductors) may have good reasons to adopt pseudonyms or keep themselves anonymous, not least because some service-providers and employers can be truly poisonous. It shames us all that this may so often be so. This is certainly not specific to CE or to the voluntary (charitable) sector, and it has been mildly amusing of late to see the apparent shock with which the UK has greeted its growing awareness that the sainted National Health Service offers such a prominent example of an institution so riddled with oppression and suppression of expression.

Call in the experts

I am sad for 'mamafee' – such shabby service from such a huge and long-established organisation. But hold, all is not lost. Only days earlier Scope (founded 1951, annual turnover above one million pounds) announced that in conjunctions with other huge and (mainly) long-established organisations it is hot on the case –
New service for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
11 February 2013
Would you like to give your views about a possible new online service to help families of children and young people with SEND to find the right services, wherever they live?
A survey for parents and carers of children and young people with special educational need and/or disabilities has been devised on behalf of a consortium of national charities that provide services for children with SEND and their families.

We would like to know about your experiences of finding and accessing the right services for your child. We particularly want to know this because we are considering setting up a new online service to help families to access the right services. This is called a national brokerage service.
To tell us what you think by completing our survey.
The survey should take about 30 minutes to complete, and your views will really help us to improve information and services for families of children with SEND.
Notes to the Editor:
The SEND Consortium comprises Ambitious about Autism, Contact a Family, Dyslexia Action, I CAN, MENCAP, the National Autistic Society and Scope.
The SEND Consortium has commissioned Cordis Bright, an independent research company, to assist in the consultation with families and carers.
To paraphrase a recent slogan of David Cameron (UK Prime Minister): 'Brokered Britain!'

Individuals and small organisations may be able to inform people as well as or even better than conglomerates and their hired help, possibly more cheaply too. It would be nice to think that some of those who take on this task are conductors – but they can do this 'professionally' if they come out from the shadows and grant their information the personal credibility, and accountability, that comes only with a name.

Friday, 22 February 2013

CE can fix them

In this morning's Daily Telegraph, Ed Cummings reports –
The issue of high-rise versus low-rise living is also to do with the British perception of housing. While New Yorkers are used to lateral apartment life, we still prefer houses.
'We’re hard-wired into having a front and back lawn,' explains James Sellar, chief executive of Sellar Property Group.
Mr Sellar is hoping to sell some expensive new flats that his company is building in London, including some in The Shard that are very, very expensive indeed. That is of no personal matter to me. What seized my attention by the throat is that he felt it sensible and necessary to express himself in the manner that he reportedly did.

I know nothing about Mr Sellar. I am sure, on the evidence of his present job, that he is clever and hard-working, likely more so in both respects than myself. So why does he speak is such a foolish, stupid, ignorant way? Does he really think that is adds to his argument? Does he really believe what he says? Has he really no recognition of history and of culture? Has he no realistic grasp of human mental development? If he has children, does such a daft idea as he expresses here enter into how brings them up and thinks about their education?

Is he a fool? Or a hypocrite? Or what?

Actually, I suspect that he is neither, just an ordinary enough citizen of a developed, English-speaking nation, in the early part of the twenty-first century, repeating the sort of ill-considered commonplace that goes generally unremarked in polite society in our not terribly well educated country – except of course by Anoraks, who by definition perhaps may have relatively little contact with polite society.

I am an a Anorak... all sorts of ways, one of which is hypersensitivity to anything that, however innocently intended, appears to biologise the human spirit.

Somewhere around the end of the nineteen-seventies I hit upon Conductive Education. It  looked like another concrete exemplar of one of those fairly rare methods of providing and of thinking that act in a contrary direction, towards practices and understandings rooted in the historical, the cultural, the developmental aspects of the human condition – not the best example, perhaps, but at the time an apparently helpful one.

Fix those wires

Ah, that 'wiring', hard wiring, damaged wiring, the linear, unmediated basis for human learning and development, 'connecting mind and muscle', awaiting the repair man or more commonly the repair lady to 'rewire the brain' when it goes wrong, with ample spare, with the unused and undamaged wiring ready to hand.

Mr Sedan has access to funds the like of which I cannot even imagine. Maybe he'd like to think of getting hold of a conductor or two to help him rewire the brains of English people who would rather have a nice garden than live in a flat (apartment). Come to that, in accordance with the now widely held view that Anoraks are 'on the spectrum', perhaps I ought to look out for a bit of a rewiring job myself for myself to repair this particular personal philosophical anomaly of mine.

Time to reach for the 'SarkMark'? No, of course not, it is surely unneeded here. Nobody in Conductive Education is so daft and uneducated as to think in terms of wiring in the brain.

Thank you Mr Sellar for a timely reminder of where the power of Conductive Education lies (not yet 'lay').


– (n.d.) What do the British mean when they call somebody an 'anorak'? Guardian

(n.d.)  SarcMark: tell them how you really feel

Cumming, E. (2023) Building boom: the London developments revamping the skyline, Daily Telegraph, 23 February

Sutton. A. (2010) Are you being serious: The identification of sarcasm and irony, Conductive World, 26 January

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Awareness of CE. the case of brain injuries they attempt to educate the part of the brain that still functions
This sounds at the same time so common-sensical, and 'sciencey'. Recently I seem to read a lot of statements saying something like this. Indeed this notion ought now to be added into cut-and-paste spoof canon of conventional wisdom on Conductive Education published in Conductive World last summer.

I wonder whether I shall read even more as the 8th World CE Congress approaches.

Why feel uneasy about it?

At the social-political level this looks yet further encouragement to dodge off from the essentially developmental nature of Conductive Education – indeed the essentially developmental nature of motor disorder as a whole.  That goes without saying.

At the more substantive level, however, I puzzle at how this conceptualisation squares with the the whole notion of restructuring cognitive structures and, more fundamentally, with the much-vaunted (and rarely elucidated) 'holistic' nature of the philosophy of CE, and a holonomic approach to upbringing, education and rehabilitation. There may be a very clear and adequate explanation, but I have still to hear or read it.

Oh well, no doubt those better qualified that I will have plenty more to say about it. And in the meantime it continues to permeate the popular and professional awareness – and reputation – of Conductive Education.


I picked up this jolly word only yesterday evening, in my belated reading of Ben Goldacre's Bad Science.

'Sciencey' is the word that he uses for 'scientistic' as applied to a certain style of pseudo-scientific writing. I also enjoyed his coinage of 'referencey'. There are plenty of both attributes to be found around CE.

What a jolly and relaxing little book this is. I cannot recommend it too highly to everyone who is concerned about 'Conductive Education research'. It is a funny enough book in its own right but there are whole paragraphs where you only have to change a few words to those of CE to laugh out even louder.


Goldacre , B. (2009) Bad Science, London, Fourth Estate

Sutton, A. (2012) Conductive Education: all you need to know, Conductive World, 16 July

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Revised official regulations
NZ Conductors Association plays official role
4 February 2013

Amendment Circular No. 2013/02

This circular outlines changes to immigration instructions. A copy of the amended instructions is attached to this circular.
This is the revised Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL), agreed changes will come into effect on 11 February 2013.

Occupational Group
Occupation – Occupations are listed by ANZSCO (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) code.
Special Education Teachers (Conductor (Conductive Education Practitioner))

Long Term Skill Shortage List

Requirements – Qualifications must be comparable to the standard of the New Zealand qualification

  • Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) Conductive Education
  • OR Diploma in Conductive Education (Conductor – Teacher)
  • AND membership of New Zealand Conductors’ Association
In order to claim bonus points for qualifications in an area of absolute skill shortage under the Skilled Migrant category, applicants must meet the following specifications
  • Batchelor of Arts (with Honours) Conductive Education
  • OR Diploma in Conductive Education (Conductor-Teacher)
  • AND membership of New Zealand Conductors’ Association
Significant step in professionalisation

Another step forward for New Zealand and for the NZ Conductors Association.

The Association is achieving one of the central purposes, indeed a Holy Grail, for 'professional organisations' of any kind in the Anglo-Saxon liberal democracies: being entrusted with a gate-keeping role on behalf of the state.

The criteria are interesting, discernibly embracing various initial qualifications awarded by the Pető Institute over the years and the BA (Hons) from Wolverhampton. This fairly represents the present conductor workforce in God's Own Country. It will doubtless be possible to incorporate other conductor qualifications on a case-by-case basis.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Why not secular ones?

I have just reviewed this posting from yesterday and slightly expanded the argument to make my intentions, I hope, a little clearer:

Particularly, I was NOT proposing a school for disabled children but for any children whose parents are seeing a particular style of schooling to fit in with their ideals of how their children should be brought up. I expand that a little further below.

Choose God

There is some such choice in our education system already, and has been since the year dot, albeit expressed in terms of 'denominational' schools, that is schools defined by some kind of religious affiliation, Church of England, Catholic, Jewish, Sikh, whatever... Parents often go though extraordinary hoops to get their children into such schools, not necessarily because of any religious or even simply cultural aspirations but because of a general feeling that the pupils there would be better behaved and achieve more highly than in run-of-the-mill state schools.

(That feeling is certainly general and long-standing. Shortly after the Second War I myself was asked which of two primary schools I would like to attend. I immediately chose the less conveniently situated, the C of E alternative, sight-unseen) – 'because it will be less rough'. I was seven, and probably right!)

So why not educational philosophy?

We might do religion in England but we tend not to do educational philosophy (any explicit philosophy, come to that). If parents wish to choose a school with a distinct educational philosophy, defined without the mediation of religious affiliation, then in practice the question can hardly arise. The liberal middle classes and their media might be vaguely aware of something called 'Montessori' and something else called 'Steiner', both rare as hen's teeth and both, judging by their names, vaguely exotic. They might even be aware too that both are antediluvian, and slightly dotty. In practice, though, the great majority of the population have no access to such educational alternatives, even at the level of general awareness. With the absurdly monolithic state educational system that we now have in this country, the very notion of differing education philosophy is closed off to them.

I propose no more that than offering a simply secular alternative to the dominant educational and developmental ideology within our currently state-dominated education system. In this case I propose specifically one that draws strongly upon education that is 'conductive'. There are of course others, actual or potential...

Previous posting on this matter

(including Comments by Susie Mallett and Norman Perrin)

Monday, 18 February 2013

A short dialogue

Earlier today Conductive World put up a posting pointing out that Steiner schools are getting a toehold into state funding through the national education system's Free Schools scheme, and wondering why not CE. I proposed the obvious action of creating integrated CE schools, like the one about to open in Rosenheim in Germany, and that something similar might be done in the US by way of Charter Schools:

Norman Perrin from Paces Sheffield has come back to me on this, with 'not a response as such but a couple of thoughts'. It is easier to continue this discussion here than in the Comments column, interpolating my responses between his points (the latter being written in blue)–
1.  There is an article to be written about successful and unsuccessful applications to open SEN Free Schools. This was where it started:
I have to admit to not having known of this article when it appeared. It is worth reading to see the sad thought process of the saddo from the teachers' trade union. He is paid – by schoolteachers – to deal with their 'pay and conditions'. What a country.
2.  Evidencing 'demand' is a huge challenge, either for a new school or a 'conversion' of an existing school (as with Paces).
This is where one has to be radical. Paces had a problem generating parental 'demand' for a special school for children with disabilities. This would have to be something quite different – i.e. what is 'demanded' by other parents who get behind a 'free school bid, i.e. an school for ordinary children, but perhaps an extraordinary ethos / atmosphere / attitude (one should perhaps steer away from the 'word' philosophy!) A current example is the 'Sikh-heritage' school opening in Handsworth in Birmingham to which any child may be admitted, of any 'heritage' or none. Perhaps one could open a 'conductive school' (again perhaps, with some PR attention to the name) for any children whose parents favour that particular ethos / atmosphere / attitude and the conductive style upbringing that comes with it. The great majority of the pupils would of course be non-disabled. The minority with disabilities, and their parents, would be an integral part of the general conductive upbringing of the school, with pedagogic specifics shaped to their particular courses of development.
3.  I doubt any group of people with a commitment to CE could be brought together to propose an 'integrated school (i.e. not just SEN)
I so heartily agree. There is no reason from past performance to expect leadership or collective action from 'CE' in the UK – for anything. My suggestion simply leaves them where they seem happiest, on the sidelines, whilst others get on with the job. Of course, this would require parents and teacher and others right outside of CE to know of and recognise the relevance of its 'conductive' basis. That in turn requires that this basis should be clearly manifest, clearly visible and clearly articulated. 
4.  The exception to my point 3 could be an existing large charity. That could be done ... but I doubt anyone would.
I cannot imagine any large charity stepping out of line to do anything like this. Nor, I suspect, can you. They have their own fish to fry and anyway, free schools are not their bag, nor should they be. Further, as stated in my response to point 3, this would not be a matter for a disability charity but for an educational one. My imagination fails when it comes to thinking which one...
5.  CE's best hope would be an application to open a group of special schools nationally - but I do not know there is the will to do so.
'Hope for what? I wonder? Perpetuating the present parlous situation by continuing against all odds to keep going with with more of the came?  Norman says about his  suggestion for collaborative action: 'I do not know whether there is the will to do this,'  . Perhaps one might safely rearrange his words: 'I know that there it not the will to do this.'
6.  If you take a look at the TES article noted in point 1 you will read a statement said to be made by me which captures the optimism that the the 2010 announcement of the Free Schools programme offered SEN ('Becoming a free school will mean parents can apply to us directly and we have more ability to plan for our financial future' - just like other Free Schools. You might also notice that 'The scheme was delayed while officials dealt with the complexities of setting up publicly funded independent special education' - delayed from 2010 to 2011. From the standpoint of 2013, it can be seen 'Officials' were certainly successful in making "setting up publicly funded independent special education" complex - far more complex than it need be - and well beyond the reach of small charities and parents. Another paper waiting to be written. No if I could get some research funding …
I suspect that the truth was that from the outset Conductive Education as it is perceived in the UK was going to be a long-term political loser, whatever was done. Walford/Steiner, however, has all the look of a winner, able to attract unquestioning support within the unthinking liberal establishment, whatever little bits of bonkers lie within it. No research needed here, just good old fashioned political analysis and action: as a way of thinking, it has well-placed fiends.

In the meantime, a step forward has to be straightforward, concrete, explicit and articulate exposition of those education principles that CE loves to trumpet that it manifests, find people capable of demonstrating what these principles can do can do when knitted into the very fabric of a real school, and then see whether there is  'demand' for these (including, though not primarily,  from the families of disabled children). No quick fix.