Sunday, 31 May 2015


For parents and others

A besetting problem for almost everyone wishing to read academic and scientific articles on Conductive Education – almost everyone that is who does not work for a university or other such institutions  is that so many journals protect their contents behind a 'pay wall'.

If you do not have access to an institution that will pay this fee for you, it can cost up to US $ 30.00 to read a single article, effectively excluding most people from the knowledge, good or bad, that might be found there

The good news

As far as medical journals are concerned, the today's good news is that SNJ (Special Needs Jungle) has linked up with patientINFORM to cut through what for most of us is an impassible barrier:

  • To use this service, which is free, you have first to register with SNJ (this is simple enough, I have managed it:
  • Registering with SNJ is not restricted to people in any one country. Nor is use of this service restricted to parents.
  • Once you have registered you can log in and select the button to request research. Then fill in the form that you find, giving the title of the journal and the article that you require, and your details. Submit it.
  • When (and if) SNJ finds what you are looking for it will add the summary and link to a special page. The research link will then be available to all its readers.
This new service will be live to try out from Monday morning. There is an online help facility if things do not go right.

The bad news

What is patientINFORM?
[It] brings together the publishers of the world’s leading medical journals and the health organisations to provide patients and their caregivers with access to some of the most up-to-date, reliable and important research available about the diagnosis and treatment of specific diseases.
if you are looking for items in educational and other social-science journals, you might be disappointed. Even so, much of the academic writing and research concerning Conductive Education (such as there is) has appeared in medical journals and should therefore be accessible through this service.

Try it for yourself from Monday. 

Friday, 29 May 2015


Research and reality in 'CE research'
Shall ever the twain meet?

This conundrum is not of course specifically Australian but over the last couple of years the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Sydney, New South Wales, has been offering a sharp in-house example of the wider question.


A couple of years ago Conductive World drew attention to a research review undertaken by occupational therapist Iona Novak, concerned with relative efficacy for various therapies for cerebral palsy as demonstrated by evaluative studies of a particular kind:

This review concluded that Conductive Education falls below the 'worth-it line', and advised practitioners and parents:
Probably don't do it
Ms Novak is employed by Cerebral Palsy Alliance which through its Research Foundation regards itself as 'an international leader in research into cerebral palsy '.


I was reminded of Cerebral Palsy Alliance by reading a nice, newly redesigned website from the Conductive Education Learning Centre, Sydney:

The Conductive Education Learning Centre is run by Cerebral Palsy Alliance

No mention of Ms Novak's recommendation, nor of renewed academic interest of this complex educational service.

Ms Novak's attention has moved on, to stem cells.

Reality-focused research in Conductive Education

Reality vs research? This should not be. The apparent conundrum comes from a history of inappropriate research methods, uncritically accepted. Following the research review mentioned above I was goaded by Rony Schenker into a joint public criticism of this situation in the scientific press:

To read our published criticism of this review finding, see:

Has this had any effect? None yet as far as I discern, not least because anyway the trajectory in academic research in and around Conductive Education is distinctly downwards anyway.

Meanwhile, whether or not to support Conductive Education, financially or in other ways, remains a matter for all sorts of considerations other than the outcomes of research reviews, as it always has been.

How does the Cerebral Palsy Alliance cope with any cognitive dissonance arising over Conductive Education? Now there's a nice social-social CE research study – of potential value outside the CPA, beyond Australia, and relevant to much more than just Conductive Education and cerebral palsy. What a remarkable natural experiment...

Monday, 25 May 2015


A problem for anglophones

Appreciation of the significance of stages is common to European theories of human mental development.and pedagogy. The English-speaking world, however, has little or no such appreciation. As a consequence Anglophone psychologists and educationalists may find themselves grossly disadvantaged in understanding systems or theory and practice in which development is regarded implicitly as qualitative (in which different kinds of processes in teaching and learning define different stages), rather than as a quantitative process (more of the same across the age range) .

Resulting misunderstandings have bedeviled communication and interpretation of the work of Piaget, Vygotskii, and others. Conductive Education has not been spared.

In Conductive Education this has led to widespread misstatement of the nature and role of play in conductive pedagogy, and some extraordinary statements about the common nature of teaching and learning, across the age span and whatever children's relative cognitive functioning.

Any assertions on such matters with respect to conductive pedagogy and upbringing, however assured, are best treated with exceeding caution.

Friday, 22 May 2015


Dr. Hári Mária 

I have just received an invitation from the PAF to attend a book launch, to be held on 30 March at the successor-building of the 'old institute' at Villányi út 67.

The following blurb was included with the email –
A book to celebrate Dr Mária Hári entitled Emlékkönyv Dr. Hári Mária 1923–2001 has been published recently by the András Pető College. The volume was compiled by two former senior staff members, Dr Erzsébet Balogh and Dr Júlia Horváth, and edited by Dr István Kollega Tarsoly, head of the College’s library named after Mária Hári.
The 204-page bilingual (Hungarian-English) book which contains 61 black and white and 64 colour, previously unreleased photos, presents the late director’s course of life who passed away in 2001. Mária Hári took over directorship in 1967 following András Pető’s death and continued over a period of 27 years until she retired. The compilers of the book accomplished thorough and accurate work and managed to depict Dr Hári’s course of life in full, even though she had not cared too much to leave behind sufficient sources for future chroniclers as we can learn from the Introduction: The early years of her non-professional, private life, and the events of her hard, young ages during World War 2 are known only in fragments. This is one of the reasons that long time after her loss a new, illustrated album, a tribute is published with the memories of her classmate, permanent professional associates and friends, followers and intellectual partners.
The book will be formally introduced to the public on 30th June 2015 from 11 a.m. in the Villányi Street building of the András Pető College.
The opening address of the festive event will be delivered by Dr Franz Schaffhauser, the rector of the College. Then Dr Éva Feketéné Szabó, college professor, director of the Institute of Conductive Pedagogy will recite her memories of Mária Hári. Finally the book will be presented by the renowned psychologist Dr Tamás Vekerdy.
The retail price of the publication is HUF 4,000; to staff, students and retired employees of the András Pető College the book will be purchasable at a discount prize of HUF 2,000 at the College.

Nobody knows it better
The blurb says 
...she had not cared too much to leave behind sufficient sources for future chroniclers.
Nobody knows better than Gill Maguire and I just how true this is. In 20o4 we co-edited our own modest collection of writings and presentations by Mária, and over recent years I have brought a variety of snippets about Mária the person into the public domain through Conductive World. Paradoxically, Mária was by far Hungary's greatest communicator of conductive pedagogy and revelled in much of the attention that public communications brought her – at the same time remaining very private and self-effacing.
Good news
At the current exchange rate, Fts. 4,000 weigh in at £9.28, US$14.36 and 13.04 . This book sounds a bargain.
Bad news
I am lucky that an item written by myself is included in this book. I shall therefore receive an author's copy. Others outside Hungary might find it expensive to obtain copies, despite the low cover price, because of the combined additional costs of postage plus money-transfer:
Balogh, E., Horváth, J. (eds.) (2015) Emlékkönyv Dr. Hári Mária 1923–2001, Budapest, PAF
Maguire, G., Sutton, A. (eds.) (2004) Mária Hári on conductive pedagogy, Birmingham, FCE

Thursday, 21 May 2015



The Facebook page for the 8th World Congress held in 2013 remains live on line, and continues to attract occasional announcements on this or that:

Recently this Facebook page has linked to a text called 'The development of Conductive Education in Germany':

Publication history

The text linked to here is published on line by the BKF (Bundesverband Konduktive Förderung nach Petö e.V.) an umbrella organisation for German conductive institutions. The text was compiled initially by the Phoenix GmbH, a division of Pfennigparade, a large service-provider based in Munich, in conjuncion with Bundesverband der Konduktoren e.V, the German professional organisation for conductors and others – and originally published by the European Conductors' Association as pages 61-65 of the 'Glossary' arising from an EU Leonardo project:

This EU Glossary has been reposted on line by Move & Walk in Sweden, including the pages under consideration here:

The Glossary is published in Euro-English, and includes accounts of developments in Austria, Hungary and Sweden as well as in Germany.


It is characteristic of Conductive Education worldwide for its publications to evoke little or no critical comment. The reappearance of this document via the Facebook page of the 8th World Congress might be read to imply a further institutional imprimatur, perhaps as the basis of the German conductive story to appear at the next World Congress. But is it a sufficient, authoritative and critical account of what led up to twenty-first century konduktive Förderung? Cursory examination suggests problems that requiring further work and consideration.

There are factual omissions from the story of developments in Germany at all stages of the history of Conductive Education:
  • The prehistory. There is no mention of Ándras Pető's having been been culturally 'German', as much as or more so than he was Hungarian in this respect. Nor that before the Second World War, when he was living in Austria, he had been involved in the publication of the journal Biologische Heilkunst, in Dresden, Germany.
  • The Hungarian stage. There is no mention that in the early sixties, during the Cold War, shut off by the Iron Curtain, András Pető published two books in Germany – in West Germany. They are in German, and their content has never been incorporated critically into the small canon of published material that appeared later in Germany and Austria (despite copies' still being easily obtainable on line).
  • The Internationalisation stage. A There is no mention of the work of Károly and Magda Ákos, and of Gabi Haug and the Verein zür Verbreitung Konduktiver Pädagogik, based in Ulm. Recognising that there were never going to be enough conductors for all but a fortunate few, they proposed a radical model: parent-based rather than centre-based implementation of the Pető method.
  • The future. There is no mention of present-day service-innovation, especially with respect to inclusion, social and educational.
Nor indeed is there exploration and critical evaluation of a major departure in the two major German-speaking lands, creation of the PTKs (Pädagogisch-therapeutischen Konduktoren), and their Austrian equivalents, the pedagogic-multitherapeutic conductors, sharing the common rubric of 'conductors' with those who have undertaken full profesional socialisation and training. There no critical examination of how far in the light of this konduktive Förderung is establishing a coherent identity of its own – nor of the grounds to justify use of the now common eponymous term 'Petö'.

The effect of partial accounts may be problematical and decidedly teleological history that appears to lead inexorably to a present that is the beste aller möglichen Welten (best of all possible worlds), and serves to justify how things have come to be as they are now.

The 9th World Congress will be held in Budapest from 10 to 13 December 2016, under the title 'Welcome to the Home of Conductive Education' – perhaps cause and opportunity for lots more history-writing. Cui bono?

Saturday, 16 May 2015


Is there relevance for Conductive Education?

It is not easy to generate sensible and open discussion of Conductive Education anywhere – never mind create sustainable conductive services for other than a tiny privileged minority of potential beneficiaries. Let's face it though, some societies are rather more amenable to the notion of transformative pedagogy than are others.

Money of course is an ever-present factor in this, so to is the countervailing force of existing institutions. No doubt readers can add their own lists of further factors out of their individual experiences.

Yesterday Conductive World 's Facebook page linked to the progress of Tsad Kadima in Israel, remarked now even in Hungary:

This progress has been unmatched in scale by any institution in Conductive Education's international diaspora.

Often remarked by Conductive World has been the comparisons to be made between Conductive Education and the late Reuven Feuerstein's mediated learning approach – a comparison underlined by Reuven himself. The outward spread of his work from its original client base and its geographical location also shows parallels. In terms of its acceptance, however, its spread has been patchy, some societies being rather more open to it than others.

An index of how far mediated learning has come in its Israel itself is its progressive acceptance by the Israel Defense Force:

It is hard to imaging anything vaguely analogous in for example the United Kingdom.

Behind the money, behind the countervailing forces of existing institutions, there surely stands a super-ordinate ingredient for effecting change in human mental development: a society that accepts welcomes and encourages the very notion. Perhaps it is something in 'the Jewish culture', perhaps it is a more proximal factor of being a society always at war, under siege, desperate for its very survival. Perhaps this, perhaps that, but how to account for societies that are uneasy about the message, or even opposed to very idea that the development and potential of human beings lies in the hands of their fellow humans – and that psychosocial-intervention is not just feasible but desirable, and maybe even essential.

By the modest standards of Conductive Education, Tsad Kadima has flourished. Perhaps in no small part this is because it has been planted in fertile soil in a suitable climate. There may be other, more specific factors involved here. Some of these may be 'exportable' to contexts where Conductive Education initiatives are foundering. But if the analysis tentatively offered here has some validity, what to do about transplanting Conductive Education in less conducive climes, in less nourishing soils?

Friday, 15 May 2015


Back on line

Last month Conductive World reported some fascinating videos produced by Vera Wera, that had just appeared on line, including the personal reminiscences of two veteran conductors, Őrfalvy Aladárné and Éva Friesz and some wonderful archive film sequences from the old State Institute for Motor Disorders in Budapest:

Then within a couple of days all these videos were withdrawn from public viewing on YouTube.

Whatever the glitch, it has now been smoothed over, and you can again see all six at:

Hungarian language, with fairly good, clear English subtitles.

Very highly recommended.


Sutton, A. Oral history, Conductive World, 21 April

Wera, V, (2015) In Memo: commemorating the invisible victims, YouTube, 14 April

Thursday, 14 May 2015


Retold today

Last month Conductive World linked to the new management of the PAF (András Pető College):

This includes the newly created post of Chancellor (Kanzellár), the first post-holder being Máté Mihályi. The position of Chancellor has been only recently created in Hungarian higher education (affecting colleges as well as universities), so a couple of weeks ago Conductive World followed up with reference to a critical account of this new roll in general, written by US scholar Jon Van Til:

Today the PAF has republished the text of an interview with Máté Mihályi by reporter Dániel Kacsoh, published in February in the conservative newpaper Magyar Hirlap:

This item is in Hungarian. Here as far as I understand them are the essential points of Mr Mihályi's inteview:
  • The chancellor system been introduced to establish a managerial approach to higher -education institutions.
  • It requires people able to seek out 'barriers to productivity' and 'operational anomalies'.
  • 'The aim is to work more effectively.
  • Specifically at the Peto Institute [his term] the task is to preserve the method and conductor-training – a 'globally recognized national asset'.
  • The finacial problems had been due to dwinding international financial input.
  • A Chancellor is more than just a Business Manager. The latter is concerned just with financial matters, personnel,procurement, administration, IT etc,
  • The Rector has to be able to concentrate on education and research – an outside, fresh perspective can help a lot.
  • The András Pető College in now [February] screening for new innovation opportunities, and can already see new areas for improving the operation.
  • The long-term business strategy for the optimal operation of the course will be shared with colleagues, as it is necessary to closely work together with the Rector.
  • The overall objective to be not only a charge to the state budget but also involve with external sources, companies and organizations.
  • Other resources include the PAF's established professional knowledge in, for example, medical infomatics, health tourism, andhealth promotion,
  • 'The international line continues to be the flagship' – though this also needs strengthening.
  • Quality improvement is not only for tnatural resources but also public funds – productivity, better optimal space management, redeployment,
  • Itis not outside pressure from the Government that drives this but the country as a whole and the common interests of taxpayers. It is important to ensure transparency, irrespective of the amount of financial aid.
  • Mr Mihályi wishes to concentrate primarily in developing an effective framework for the operation.

Kacsoh, D. (2015) A Pető Intézet kihasználja lehetőségeit, Magyar Hirlap. 14 May

Sutton, A. (2015) Who's who at the world-famous, Conductive World, 24 April,

Sutton, A. (2015) What is a Chancellor? 4 May

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


But some help for Nepal

Still no news of general release for Walking with the Enemy, based (just) on a remarkable story of Jewish resistance in Fascist Budapest toward the end of the Nazi occupation. However historically wonky, the film is reported to have its virtues and should serve as a useful and vivid reminder of what a close-run thing it was, the personal survival of András Pető, Mária Hári and so many others involved in the creation of Conduction Education.

Put it another way, Conductive Education very nearly never happened because of the circumstances portayed in this film. Never mind the wisdom of hindsight and teleology, never mind the Hungaricum – that should never be forgotten.

It remains a mystery why the film has not gone on general release, or to video. Instead it pops up in North American art houses:

Next showing will be in Wallingford, CT, 15-21 May

Help for Nepal

Two weeks ago there was a charitable fundraiser showing Walking with the Enemy at Vancouver's Dunbar Theatre.

All proceeds from the evening's two screenings went to the Canadian Red Cross' earthquake relief efforts in Nepal. Liberty Studios, makers of the film's agreed to cover their fees for showing the film, and the Government of Canada would match whatever was raised:

Since then of course there has been a second earthquake in Nepal. 

The Dunbar Theatre has offered a model for how enterprising Conductive Education centres might contribute to the continuing relief effort, and at the same time take the opportunity to raise much-needed awareness of Conductive Education.

Recent posting mentioning this film


Doing it

I think that I can just about remember giving a short telephone interview to reporter Louise Hunt eleven or so years ago, on which the following brief news report was based –
Physios' conduct called into question
Patient care is suffering because physiotherapists are using Conductive Education without really understanding it, an expert has warned.
The Conductive Education rehabilitation method is based on the theory that patients with motor disorders can learn how to function independently, rather than rely on physical or medical intervention. Physios sometimes use it to rehabilitate patients with cerebral palsy, stroke and MS.
However, 'too many' PTs are using parts of the theory alongside conventional physio techniques without understanding it, said Andrew Sutton, director of the Foundation for Conductive Education.
In his view, the treatment must be taught as a complete philosophy, otherwise patients are unlikely to benefit fully and may be left disappointed.
Mr Sutton said: 'Basic training is not going to teach the fundamental theory at the centre of conductive education. We are trying to establish standards in a new field. If physios want to use this method then they should become qualified conductors...'

I do not, however, recall what had prompted Louise Hunt's phoning me, nor why our conversation took that particular turn.

It was a long time ago. Maybe this does not apply any more.


Hunt, L. (2003) Physios' conduct called into question, Therapy Weekly, 12 December

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Des temps perdus

Gill Maguire has just reminded me of Dawn Rogers' long-term struggle to access Conductive Education, and in particular money to pay for such a service:

(includes link to a 199o video featuring among others Dawn as a child)

And the recent UK General Election, still reverberating, reminds me of the days when Dawn's name used to turn up quite often in Hansard's reports, when Parliamentary questions and debates about Conductive Education were quite common, not just in the UK, reflecting the active public campaigning of the time and the widespread public interest. Here is an example, from the Christmas Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons, on 20 December 1989 –
Mr Andrew Mitchell (Gelding) Time is short and I am conscious that there is another Opposition Member hoping to speak. I shall confine my remarks to three related subjects which I believe should be discussed before the House adjourns. They are conductive education, the Peto Institute in Budapest, Hungary—which is the home of conductive education—and my constituent Dawn Rogers, who has been at the Peto Institute for 27 months and is having great difficulty obtaining public funding.
Conductive education—it is not yet sufficiently well known in this country—is a method of educating children, and also some adults, with motor disorders, which are disorders of the central nervous system. That educational system is based on what I believe is known as a "whole person approach". Its aim is to enable children with a motor disability to participate fully in mainstream education. The professional input comes from one person, the conductor, who incorporates the skills of many different groups including those of physiotherapist, occupational therapist, teacher and nurse.
The treatment is intensive and relies upon considerable parental involvement. The children are taught more or less from the time they wake up until they go to bed. The aims are to provide education in a structured and rigorous way so that children can have greater control over their bodies and join in everyday life without artificial aids and appliances.
In a moving article in The Sunday Times written almost two years ago, Rose Shepherd described her visit to the Peto clinic and how the British contingent used to arrive there with what she called all the paraphernalia of handicap. It is a great contrast with the Hungarian approach, which is to get the children on to their own feet and up and about as soon as possible.
Conductive education was developed and devised by Dr. Andreas Peto. His philosophy was very simple—that a motor disorder need not be a sentence of immobility for life, but a learning difficulty that can be overcome by skilled teaching. In other words, skills that are automatic to a normal little child can be taught and acquired. There are no miracle cures, but the Peto Institute can claim a 70 per cent. success rate—defined as "autofunction", or the capability to attend school and eventually live an independent life without the need for special help and equipment.
Such treatment is not generally available in Britain. Anxieties among educationists perhaps prevented an advance until relatively recently, when those anxieties were in part laid to rest. The Government have provided Birmingham university with £326,000 to carry out research into conductive education, and the Departments of Education and Science and of Social Security are jointly funding a survey by the Spastics Society.
The Government's announcement last week of a £5 million grant to the Peto Institute over the next four years is extremely welcome. The grant will go towards the capital costs of the new international Peto Institute in Budapest, a commitment that will make available spaces at the institute commensurate with the number of British children able to go there. At present, 11 British people are being trained on a four-year course to be conductors. About 600 children have attended the institute and the United Kingdom makes more use of it than any other country. I welcome the Government's announcement of that additional funding during the Hungarian Prime Minister's visit here this week.
In addition, as part of a programme of exchanges between the Peto Institute and the Birmingham foundation, a small number of British children receive training in Birmingham from Hungarian conductors and United Kingdom trainees.
Such exchanges beg the question why we cannot move a little faster towards securing the availability of conductive education in Britain. I accept that conductive education already influences professionals involved in educating handicapped children. I also accept that the introduction into the United Kingdom of the Hungarian model of conductive education on any significant scale will have to await the availability of a group of British conductors trained and taught at the Peto Institute. I applaud the Government's support for the Peto Institute and for conductive education. I urge Ministers to speed up as much as possible the provision of such education in the United Kingdom.
Children who attend the Peto Institute receive funding from several sources. There are no central figures, but I am informed that there are approximately eight long-term students at the Peto Institute, of whom six or seven receive support from their local education authorities. There are no more long-term places available. In the past there has been some uncertainty about whether local education authorities could fund students attending the Peto Institute. That has been cleared up by an amendment to the Children Act 1989. I understand that several education authorities, including Coventry, Devon, Birmingham and Fife have helped such students and there may be others who have done so. Alas, my constituent is one of perhaps only two who are as yet unfunded.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Howarth), the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science, and his officials, whom I met earlier this year to discuss whether any additional means of support could be made available to my constituent. I am also grateful to my right hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security, who has taken a considerable interest in the subject as a whole and in my constituent. My right hon. Friend made clear to me in a recent letter that the Government believe that it is right for parents who consider that the Peto Institute offers services to their disabled children which are not available in Britain to seek support from public funds.
The structure of education in Britain inevitably means that parents must appeal to local education authorities for funding. The remaining budget of the Department of Education and Science is tiny, as funds are funnelled through LEAs. Therefore, my constituents must seek support from Nottinghamshire education authority. So far, we have been unable to persuade the authority to assist. I appreciate how difficult it is for the authority to consider such cases and to grant funds, and I understand that such decisions are not easy. Nevertheless, I appeal to it to reconsider, because this is a one-off case.
My constituent's family have remortgaged their home, sold their business, their caravan and many personal assets and taken out bank loans to be in Budapest with my young constituent. Their reward has been to witness the outstanding progress of their nine-year-old daughter. The local community, too, has been extremely generous. I pay tribute to several organisations in my constituency which have sought to help.
I hope that, in reconsidering, Nottinghamshire education authority will bear in mind the following points. I make them in the spirit of this time of year in the hope that it will seriously consider helping. My constituent has already been at the Peto Institute for two years and three months, so no new decision need be made about where she should be educated. At most, she has an estimated 18 429months to go at the institute. If the local education authority were to assist, it would not open the floodgates. Alas, no new long-term places are available at the Peto Institute. Miss Rogers is one of the lucky ones who has made it there in time.
Since the local authority first considered the case, the Government have changed the law in the way that I outlined earlier. Much else has changed, too, including a greater acceptance of the methods of conductive education. The Government have given their explicit approval, as evidenced by their support for the Peto Institute announced in the past week.
I intend no reflection on the quality of Aspley Wood and Fountaindale in Nottinghamshire and the professionalism of the teachers and staff there. My constituent has attended the Peto Institute for the past two and a quarter years and the length of her stay there is finite. Her family have demonstrated their absolute determination to help their daughter. I believe that the authority should assist. Its education committee must be moved by the examples of dedication and self-help which her family display.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the House will remember the case of Sebastian Clarke in Birmingham, his fight for funding and his eventual success. My constituents can look to that example with hope. I hope that the LEA will consider what it can do to assist my constituent during her last 18 months at the Peto Institute...
Sir Geoffey Howe (Foreign Secretary) My hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Mr. Mitchell), in an eloquent plea, described the importance and impact of the Peto Institute and the work that has been done by it in Hungary. My wife and I, since our visits, have taken a close interest in the institute, and, by good fortune, one of my former private secretaries recently came back from a stint as ambassador there. The institute is not often absent from our minds. I had the opportunity to talk to the Hungarian Prime Minister about it last week and to give him an advance intimation of the substantial amount of money that has been made available and to which my hon. Friend referred. We regard it as an important institute, and we regard its impact in this country as of great value.
I noticed my hon. Friend's particularly eloquent plea for his constituent Miss Rogers. We certainly admire the way in which her family have done what they have to keep her at the institute. I shall certainly do what I can to draw my hon. Friend's plea to the attention of the Nottinghamshire education authority, but I cannot give an undertaking beyond that.
I believe that all the people mentioned above still walk amongst us – but it really does now all seem a world away...


– (1989) Adjournment (Christmas), Hansard, HC Deb, 20 December, vol., 164 cc. 394-436 

Monday, 11 May 2015


A letter from the Sunny South

I was woken this morning to an email from conductor Judit Szathmáry, an update from the New Forest in the sunny South of England
...we are moving to Passford House Hotel and will be running our New Forest services there from 1 June. We could have moved straight away, but we have already paid the rent at the Mill at Gordleton. I shall miss the Mill. It is a stunning place to work from, but there is a limit to how much we could develop our services from there. The owner Liz is a brilliant woman with a big heart to support people with disabilities. She has a patch in the kitchen garden for the local children from one of the schools that educates children with autism. They come weekly to grow their own vegetables and herbs.
Passford House hotel is an old traditional English hotel with a new marketing manager who is working on revamping the whole place. As people know me locally and some of our parents stayed at the hotel when attending our blocks the idea to have us on site was the most natural transaction you could imagine. It is amazing how the higher powers behind the scene arranged the sequence of events that led to the decision to give us the key on Thursday afternoon. We will be based next door to the pool, in a large room with huge windows and doors leading to the gardens. They used the room for yoga retreats and big functions in the past.
This is just the first step to start developing the idea that I would love to accomplish, to create conductive retreats for our people and for their families. I think that we will continue to run our summer courses in fantastic locations and in beautiful big houses. In houses where probably our children would never have a chance to go, to learn and, enjoy being part of an extended family.

There is something very special when we share a house and do things together and everyone participates. In the hotel a lot of the hard work such as cooking, catering and cleaning will be taken care of so we will be focusing only on creating the best learning circumstances for our participants.

The hotel is very close to Lymington, but it is hidden away in the outskirts of the forest, and it is like stepping into one if those old English Agatha Christie films as you arrive in the driveway. It is a dog-friendly hotel so the families' four-legged friends can stay too.
I have a lot of ideas that I would like to see manifesting with this project and the marketing manager has an ear to hear what I have to say. We had a short block for people with Parkinson's at the hotel last September but we used a smaller room for that...

Stand by me

The New Forest base is part of a wider circle of CE ventures presented under the umbrella of Project Stand by Me:

Conductive Education, in a rather English style

Mill at Gordleton

Passford House

An individual holiday experience

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