33 minutes' debate buries Conductive Education
The formal motion of the final business item of the day at the Scottish Parliament this Wednesday –
That the Parliament recognises the work of the Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments (SCCMI) in Cumbernauld for its provision of education and therapy services for children, young people and their families affected by cerebral palsy and other related conditions... further recognises the charity, Bobath Scotland, and the support that it provides for individuals and their families in a relaxed, non-clinical and fun environment... praises the work of both the SCCMI and Bobath Scotland... acknowledges that primary teachers, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and other staff work in close partnership to integrate educational and physical activities to address each child’s needs... and hopes that what it considers the excellent work of both the SCCMI and Bobath Scotland continues to support those with, or affected by, motor impairments.
This was not 'debate' as such but a series personal statements by Members of the Scottish Parliament, read out in turn with no questions permitted. It was led off by MSP Siobhan McMahon, and five other MSPs also spoke, concluding with the minister for Public Health. It was all most consensual and there were no grounds for contention or controversy. There was no vote. By the end the room was nearly empty.
The event appears as yet to have no attracted in the press, nor is it mentioned on either centre's website.
You can read transcripts of all the contributions at:
If you have 33 minutes to spare you can watch and listen on video:
Despite the double billing, talk was almost entirely about Bobath Scotland. Jackson Carlaw MSP suggested why –
I was less aware of the Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments or of the fact that Siobhan McMahon had a direct connection with it. In preparation for the debate, I went to its website and saw that it was founded a little bit earlier than Bobath Scotland and provides a similar service to children over a wide area...
In the motion put to the Chamber recognition was expressed to the work of
primary teachers, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and other staff
There was no mention of conductors throughout, or the distinct nature and implications of Conductive Education.
Over the course of the 33 minutes, there was no vestige of the conductive message or of the cause that informed Scottish parents has so passionately advocated to Michel Forsyth, the then Secretary of State for Scotland when he went to see them in Budapest in the late eighties, to see what all the fuss was about. Three th-words, however, received very good airing from MSPs, 45 instances in all over the 33 minutes:
- therapy 31
- therapist 11
- therapeutic 4
When Michel Forsyth initiated the Scottish Centre some twenty-odd years ago it was to defuse parental pressure for Conductive Education in Scotland. It looks like his purpose has been well served.
Scotland has seen no other services established since in the name of Conductive Education. So it goes.
House of Lords debate, 1999
That evening in Westminster all seems such a long time ago, actually just 15 years but in such a different world: