Tuesday, 30 September 2014


Press round-up

High on the agenda of the German committee that organised the 8th World Congress on Conductive Education almost a year ago was to create public awareness of konduktive Förderung in Germany, through coverage in the German press.

To help achieve this the Nuremberg Society for People with Physical Disabilities lent the services of its public relations officer, Anna Souksenphet-Dachlauer.

Now published is a round-up of press activity generated by the Congress, on paper and electronically, with photocopies of newspaper items supplemented by a selection of mentions of the Congress on line.


Souksenphet-Dachlauer, A. (2014) Pressespiegel / Press review, 8th World Congress on Conductive Eduction, 9-12 October 2013, Nuremberg, Verein für Menschen mit Körperbehinderung, Nürnberg

Monday, 29 September 2014


La Poste Conductive

Des blogs français sur l'éducation conductive ont fait leur apparition sur la Poste Conductive (le «blog de blogs» conductive).

La France conductive

L'intensification de l'activité dans le monde réel de l'éducation conductive en France se traduit par une activité dans le cyberespace, l'émergence d'une blogosphère francophone:


Dans le même temps, cependant, le blog pensif de langue française de parents belges semble avoir cessé de paraître. Dommage:

Et il semble toujours y avoir rien de langue française du Canada. Dommage aussi.

Une carte de la France conductive en 2014


Et maintenant,  sont les bloggeurs Allemands?

Sunday, 28 September 2014


A disorder in communication

From a report on a bun fight put on by the Department of Education (in London, where else?) to mark its new system of 'Special Educational Needs' now imposed on England  
Of particular note was a young lady named Emma, from the EPIC group, who has autism. She had no fear in introducing herself to our small group chatting, including Stephen Kingdom, the Deputy Director of SEND. Emma is exactly the kind of young person these reforms are about – she worked on advising the government about what young adults wanted from the reforms. Emma’s dream job is to join the police, but said she had been told she wouldn’t be able to because of her autism. I think perhaps the police should start rethinking their policy as someone with Emma’s charm, confidence and passion could certainly help the force understand how to approach and help those with disabilities such as autism when they need to.
 Humpty Dumpty on semantics and pragmatics –
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.'
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, 1872

Leo Kanner died in 1981...

How far we have come​, in so many respects:

Saturday, 27 September 2014


Require open recruitment

On Conductive World Market yesterday Jen Czzowitz Wymer posted the job description for the post of Lead Conductor at Steps to Independence, a non-profit CE Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:

This is not just interesting for job-seekers but will be useful for other centers (and centres) considering development of similar jobs. It also raises a wider matter, openness.


Soon doubtless we shall be seeing another leading job posted, in Magyar Közlöny, the Hungarian official bulletin – for leadership of the PAF, the András Pető College:


This will of course be very different in its specifics from the job in Pittsburgh but presumably the recruitment process will also be handled with maximal transparency as part of restoring public (and international) confidence.

Friday, 26 September 2014


A conductive parent looks back
Yesterday Conductive World touched on inclusion and about what the aspirations of thirty or so years ago look like today:
In response, doyenne conductive parent and CE advocate, Emma McDowell responds, with a look back over the same timespan, and more, from the perspective of a service-user –
I too am annoyed (exasperated, or despairing) at parents' short-sightedness when they condemn their obviously special children to mainstream 'education', based on illusion, self-deception, wrong advice, faulty understanding of equal opportunities, or I don’t know what else. Ignorance, mainly.  And an unfortunate collective social memory of 'special schools'– where only the really, really severely and multiply disabled children go.
As you know, 40 years ago we parents did not have the choice: handicapped child = special school. OK, I was lucky to find the Institute in Budapest well before my George’s compulsory school age, but when he reached that he had to go to special school in Belfast. OK, we manipulated things somehow: to give him a ‘conductive upbringing’ in spite of the 'soft' educational discipline at the school and its low expectations. While George attended his special school during most of the school year, he also had longish 'refresher courses' in Budapest and, since I fully subscribed to the principles of Conductive Education, we tried to practice these in our daily lives. 
Yet – and I never thought that I would say this – special school as a basis, since  we did not live in Budapest and there was no CE then anywhere else, was still better than trying to establish George in the local primary school, even though that’s what I wanted to do when he was seven, and that’s what he was prevented from doing. He could walk a bit by then but he certainly could not have participated in a lot of the school’s activities, and trying to do so he would have had to get used to the wheelchair (and later to an electric one, as George has quite a serious form of cerebral palsy).
At his special school, however, he enjoyed the yearly drama performance, the sports day, swimming, riding and, yes, he did get SOME physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy incorporated in the school routine. They also let him walk with his sticks and, once he had learned (at the Institute in Budapest) to walk without them – yes, in a protected environment.
I do not understand why today’s special schools – or rather, special pre- and nursery schools – cannot be run on a Conductive Educational basis, seeing how well conductive principles can be embedded in ALL the good education that children with physical and/or learning difficulties need, and then continue on into in a mainstream environment when they are ready for it, physically and characterwise… possibly earlier than 17 years of age, when George was finally allowed to enter college in the bad old days...

Just under a year ago George presented at the 8th World Congress on Conductive Education, in Fürstenfeldbruck near Munich. This coincided with publication of a book that collects together some of what he has written (published in English and in German).

Emma remains a enthusiast for the conductive lifestyle, and a vocal advocate of the rights of carers.


McDowell, G, (2013) What does conductive lifestyle mean to me? Abstract Book: 8th World Congress on Conductive Education, Fürstenfekdbruck, 9-12 October, pp. 196-197

McDowell, G, (2013) George's Travelogue / Urlauberlebnisse von George McDowell, Nuremberg, CN Press 
To obtain copies, email conductor Susie Mallett at

Thursday, 25 September 2014


How far have we come​?


A little over thirty years ago I contributed to the then highly regarded and influential Open University course E241, Special Needs in Education, that was put together by Will Swann, Tony Booth and Patricia Potts. (My own contribution was Unit 8 'The Powers that be', an enquiry into aspects of the political history of special education in England).

At the time, the course was right at the cutting edge of thinking about the inclusion of children considered under the then still new rubric of 'special educational needs'. I did not wholeheartedly agree with every aspect of the thinking of the course team but I was very pleased to be part of what I considered a pretty high-class act, both academically and ethically. I could not of course foresee how how the future would go but the quality of E241 reinforced an impression of the time that the likely direction would be up.

...and now

Now we are where we are, and I am relieved that my day-today existence is longer bound up with the professional and institutional systems supposedly serving children who have 'special educational needs, their parents and those employed to teach them.

Indeed I am so removed that I no longer know what it is actually like in that particular slice of the 'real world'.

So what is it like now? Thirty years on everything costs a whole lot more, not least because of all the new jobs that have been created in order to 'support'. Where has it all lead, those high ideals and that hard analysis?

This week the ­Special Needs Jungle has recommended an article to wider attention, not I guess something that it does lightly. Does this really paint a fair picture of SEN England 2014? It is written by an anonymous assistant headteacher in a school for pupils with 'learning difficulties'.

Read it yourself. It will not take you long:


Introducing this article, Tania Tirraoro, the Editor of Special Needs Jungle, sums up what she herself understands by inclusion –
...for me, it’s about being in the right school for the child’s needs, whatever kind of school that is.

So there you are folks, that's all right then. In the best of all possible worlds, anything goes. We have come a long way.

If this really how things are now? If so, I do hope that Conductive Education has the strength to buck the trend.


– (2014) Inclusion? Specially Teaching, 20 September

Sutton, A. (1982) The Powers that be (E241/8), Milton Keynes, Open University Press

Tirraoro, T. (2014) What inclusion really means…, Special Needs Jungle, 22 September

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


More research is needed

A hole in the road

One of Ralph Strałkowski's earthly stories with a heavenly meaning, yesterday's serving of Lawyer on Wheels concludes –
And it seems I'm constantly reminded of the importance of not giving up easily. If someone says No, ask again. And then again. Or try a different approach. If you say 'Somebody should do something' don't just nod and walk away. Why shouldn't this somebody be you, why can't the time be now?

'Never, never quit!' 'Just do it!' These are popular expressions, not alleged old Chinese proverbs – they are nonetheless useful slogans, idées fixes, Leitmotifs, for conductive pedagogy and upbringing, for conductive learning and development, for conductive lifestyle and living. Are they not indicative of that sometimes elusive goal and outcome (for everyone involved) of the 'orthofunctional personality'?​​

These expressions are also the titles of two books about Conductive Education:

More research is needed

'More research is needed' is another popular expression.

This expression usually refers to comparative outcome evaluation, an persistent problems of which in Conductive Education has been failure to find appropriate outcome criteria to distinguish it effectively from other approaches..

If the expressions 'Never, never quit!' 'Just do it!' really do epitomise something essential in both the process and the product of Conductive Education, then operationalising thisdomain in terms of empirical evaluation is something for would-be outcome-evaluators really to get their teeth into.

Doing so raises the level of analysis to the psychosocial (including consideration of values) and might also shed revealing light on a whole range of questions, not just relating to Conductive Education.


Strałkowski, R. (2014) Somebody should do something, Lawyer on Wheels, 23 September

Tuesday, 23 September 2014



The following was written by an American journalist, Thomas Wilson 
...the Mongolian invasion in 1241, where nearly half of the Hungarian population was decimated...

I just could not let this go unremarked. My reckoning from this account is that the Danube Basin lost five percent of its inhabitants from the Mongolian invasion of 1421 (surely the Mongol invasion), a difference by a factor of ten from what Mr Wilson perhaps intended to convey.

Perhaps I should not allow myself to get so irritated at careless use of the word 'decimated'. Even so, this gem ought to go in a text book.


Wilson, T. (2014) U.S., International community cannot ignore Hungary’s crumbling democracy, Independent Voter Network, 23 September


Refreshing The Conductive Post

Three new Conductive Education blogs have been added to TCP (The Conductive Post):

All three are in French and come from three of the small 'schools' that currently typify conductive services in France. They differ in content and format but have in common a certain freshness.

The three new blogs are:
Not to forget the first and most developed of them all:


TCP is a 'blog of blogs', automatically publishing links to new postings appearing in designated blogs in real time. Links to older and discontinued blogs and postings are archived.

TCP was devised by conductor Ben Foulger and is published by Conduction.

From time to time TCP publishes guest postings, as Special Features

All the blogs published on TCP are searchable through the search box at the top of its page.


Most conductive blogging has been English. TCP has also linked to blogs published in Portuguese, Rumanian and Hungarian, though these particular blogs are no longer active.


Sutton. A. (2011) The Conductive Post: a blog of blogs, Conductive World, 13 February

Sutton. A. (2014) Vive la France! Vive l'éducation conductive! Conductive World, 11 September

Monday, 22 September 2014


Fresh new wave?

Conductors Natalie Ibarguen Sanchez and  Hannah Silcock have opened Conductive Education Bristol. Their website is now on line:

Two weeks ago Conductive World announced commencement of Conductive Winchester, and noted how there seems to be an emerging template discernible amongst new conductive ventures in England, especially Southern England (though not yet elsewhere in the United Kingdom):

Conductive Education Bristol seems to fit this template fairly closely. 

It also shows another common feature, a community website:


Is all this a trend?

Friday, 19 September 2014


New name, new format

Following his retirement at the end of last month, Norman Perrin has rejigged his blog under a new title and with a smart new format.

I am pleased to say that the postings made under its previous identity (Paces CEO) have been incorporated under the new format.

With his new status as an independent gentleman I am sure that the new title will be wholly justified and that it will not be just the format that changes.

Follow the new Norman at:

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Conductor job market

Three weeks ago Conductive World Market posted 'Jobs, jobs, jobs', reporting adverts for vacant positions for conductors in ten countries over August. This brief item has attracted approaching five hundred hits, a lot of interest for a specifically CE-related item on Conductive World:

Since the beginning of September further adverts have already appeared from Australia (x2), Brazil, England, France (still looking), Germany, Hungary, and the United States (x2). Unusually there has also been an advertisement for a conductors' assistant.

Some of these jobs have also been advertised on other community sites.

What to deduce from all this? Who knows?

Monday, 15 September 2014


More than some

Stirrings on the ground in France are reflected by activity in Cyberspace, emergence of a Francophone blogosphere:

In the meantime, though,  the Belgian parents' thoughtful French-language blog seems to have ceased publication. Pity:


And there still seems to be nothing in French-speaking Canada

Conductive France on the ground


Local hero to national contender

I guess that there is rarely a single US anything. The country is just too vast and too diverse.

As far as CE programs are concerned, is it possible to spot central tendencies emerging, or are the circumstances in which CE is being reconstructed to suit very different circumstances just too varied to permit a sharpening focus?

Good news

CECO (the Conductive Education Center of Orlando) has been in the news to mark its move to much bigger premises. Its long life and growth are remarkable, as is the degree to which the local community seems to have taken it on board. I have spotted CECO doing well at getting stories into the local press, and being media-savvy might be an important factor in its success. It does look like CECO is here for the long haul.


Apart from the particular good news about the Center's new premises, what more general message has gone out about CE through its local press?. In the Orlando Sentinel reporter Lauren Roth writes –
Its focus is a method that builds pathways from the brain to the body, helping children with conditions including cerebral palsy and spina bifida better control their movements... The method is called 'conductive' education because it involves leading a child, not doing things for them... a conductor trained to combine physical and occupational therapy with educational methods... one adult to every one or two students, children get therapy throughout the school day...
Is that really the sort of special-educational understanding still awaited to raise Conductive Education up from the status of local hero to that of serious national contender?

Granting that the reports of newspaper reporters are a stage removed from what parents and providers might actually think and say, the problem remains: how to get better understandings formulated and then out into the public domain?

This is not of course a problem unique to the United States but special education and rehabilitation in the US are especially sophisticated and critical fields, powerful too. Whether or not they fully deliver real-life benefits for children with motor disorders and their families, they will set the bar very high if CE is ever to break through into  public consideration as a serious alternative.


Meanwhile, oh dear (again) –
...pathways from the brain to the body... combine physical and occupational therapy with educational methods one adult to every one or two students... therapy throughout the school day...
If only public media could be persuaded to report a higher vision and to link very real good news about progress on the ground with a wider excitement that here is something new and different that potentially raises discussion to a quite different, educational level.

Only a straw in the wind – or another for the camel's back?


Roth, L. (2014) Disabled students get more room to roam at new school, Orlando Sentinel, 4 September

Friday, 12 September 2014

ex-PAI; PAF, 11 SEPTEMBER 2014

András Pető's birthday
Steady as she goes

Yesterday was 11 September, András Pető's birthday and the anniversary of his death.

Ceremonies were to be held over the day at the newly renamed András Pető College in Kútvölgyi út, at the columbarium in Farkasréti Cemetary. where his ashes reside, and before the memorial plaque at the side of the apartment building where he lived in Stollár Béla u.

The day before there were also to be flowers laid in Szomathely, at his birthplace plaque in Kossuth Lajos u.

Officiating were Éva Szabó, Franz Schaffhauser and Erzsébet Bertóti.

This was announced on Facebook, on the Pető Intézet (Community) page:


Real-time online discussion

Современное макаренковедение

История, состояние, перспективы

30 October 2014

From the University of Minsk, Elena Ilantdinova has confirmed details via Facebook:


Materials submitted to discussion:


Previous item on this topic

All enquires

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Vive l'éducation conductive!

Mélanie Masson Jeannot has posted an informative notice in the Conductive World Market, identifying the location of five French écoles (schools).

This comes with links to their websites, and a free map:

Mélanie's posting is in English.

Though brief, this is the first published overview of Conductive Education in France since the big conference held at UNESCO in Paris, back in 2003. The damage caused by the report of the visit to then International Pető Institute in the year 2000, by CNEFEI (the National Centre for Study and Education of Disabled Children), has taken a long time to heal. In 2014 scar tissue is beginning to show.

There are now six small écoles conductives in France, open or nearly so. At the moment:
  • two operate all year round
  • three are open for parts of the year
  • one more is due to open at New Year
From January 2015:
  • five will operate all year round
  • one will operate for parts of the year
One is expanding, and looking for a second conductor.


Jeannot, M. M. (2014) [Untitled posting], Conductive World Market, 8 September

Sutton, A. (2008) Why that French conference? Damage to repair, Conductive World, 11 February

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


What they?

The Department of Heath and the Department for Education have just jointly published a brief guide explaining the duties and responsibilities of health professionals who deal with children and young people with 'special educational needs and disabilities' and their families:

This whole document is relevant to everyone concerned with Conductive Education for everyone up to the age of twenty-five. A particular passage [comments interpolated] might appear surprising  

Health in schools and colleges
Maintained schools [that means 'state schools'] must make arrangements to support [I do not know what this word means] children with medical conditions and have regard to statutory guidance on this. Health professionals have a role to play in supporting [?] staff in identifying and planning for SEN and disabilities in schools and colleges and in supporting [again] those with medical conditions.

Health professionals, schools, colleges and LAs [local authorities] should work together to ensure there are clear paths for identifying and supporting children and young people with SEN or disabilities, both with and without EHC plans.

        (from page 16)

Dreadful jargon, specifying little when it comes to concrete action. It is badly written and, as it continues, it is hard to know what it is talking about at all when it gets to what for many families of children and young people might prove the nub of the problem: achieving an appropriate service within the education system  
School nurses and appropriate college support staff [who they?] will play a role in identifying additional health needs, in liaison with other professionals. Depending on regional working arrangements, health professionals may be commissioned in a variety of ways to advise on identification of SEN and to provide effective support and interventions. These can be universal or specialist.
Services may include, but are not limited to:
•    educational psychologists [educational psychologists are not 'health professions' and do not work for the Health Service]
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
•  specialist teachers or support services with mandatory qualifications to support:
children with hearing or vision impairment
children with a multi-sensory impairment
children with a physical disability
Unanswered questions

Is it entirely clear from this guidance who are these 'specialist teachers or support services' who may (or may not) be 'commissioned in a number ways... according to local arrangements' and what are these 'mandatory requirements'?

There are very long-established mandatory requirements for training teachers two specialise in impairments of vision and hearing. There is no analogous training for teachers working with motor disorders.

The DfE may or may not have plans to rectify this unjust situation (though there has certainly been no public hint of this, and no public campaign to change things). Pending such an improbable change the window remains open to resume the long, hard struggle to commission services of kinds not included here, at local discretion. 

Local providers deserve better than this. More importantly, so do our citizens.


Department of Health and Department for Education (2014) 0 to 25 SEND code of practice: a guide for health professionals. Advice for clinical commissioning groups, health professionals and local authorities, London, DoH and DfE, September

Monday, 8 September 2014


Just imagine such a society

Many children would grow up unable to read and write – or do much else intended – as a result of years of costly schooling.

Many would not socialise, or behave, or internalise societal values.

And growing up would be so unfair.

I imagine that introducing Conductive Education (pedagogy and upbringing) into such a society – in a fair and equitable manner, for the potential benefit of all – might proved a most uphill venture.

I cannot imagine such a society. 

I do not have to:


Milmo, C. (2014) Britain facing literacy crisis which will leave nearly 1.5 million 11-year-olds unable to read properly by 2025, Independent, 8 September


Why no pedagogy in England?

Sutton, A. (2009) Why no pedagogy in England? 20 June

Sutton, A. (2014) Pedagogy in England, Conductive World, 19 March

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