Tuesday, 31 May 2016


The paid help

I have just been shown a posting on a parents' blog – yet another – written by a mother from another new generation of parents finding out the hard way that she, her child, her family, their futures, are no more than grist to some huge, expensive paper mill that she and we, and I, am paying for through our taxes.

Hardly surprisingly, she writes anonymously, signing herself as 'miriamgwynne'. Her blog is called Faithmummy and the posting that I have just read  begins –
It started before the meeting even began. Emails, phone calls and discussions between you all to synchronise diaries and finalise a time and location that suited everyone. Everyone, of course, except the insignificant mother. My diary was never checked. No-one asked if the time suited me or if the location was convenient. As long as the ‘professionals’ are fine with it that is what matters apparently....

So it goes. The same old story. This one comes from 'special educational needs' (daft, unthinking, bureau-professional category if ever here was one), it could just as well been from 'child care', or from 'community care', or  from 'mental health, or from whatever they now call dealing with old people. This was from somewhere in Scotland, it could just as well be anywhere in the United Kingdom, perhaps from most countries in the developed world. This one refers to 2016, it could just as well have been fifty years ago, in 1966 (except that the hypocritical cant would not have been laid on quite so thick then).

I have watched all this grow and bed itself in for some fifty years now. I was younger and stronger once. Now that I am old and weak, this is no more than a spectator sport for me. Probablost of those who participated in this Great Game over those fifty years will have also now moved on – except of course the central players, the identified clients and the families who look after them. They had not volunteered for all this but, unless they have died, love and duty mean that they are still in it for the duration – they are lifers, till their game is done.

Ah, 'the professionals'. Nice people, most of them, I have always told myself. They probably came into this because they had good intentions and wanted to do good. Anyway, in many cases, they may have no useful skills or attributes for other, bolder, more creative careers. And once in, well, there was 'the system' and unless they did the decent thing and just walked away from it, they were trapped, and could no longer exercise free will and individual human understandings and compassion (they do not blog, however, so how can one ever know?)

'Professional', what a weasel word. It is used to imply higher-order knowledge, independent judgement, and an elevated moral code. Perhaps it still does. If only this could be so in ordinary reality. Try to imagine just how different the experience of the 'clients' might be if that were how things really are. If only professionals' hard-won qualifications were of transcending practical benefit to those at the front line, If only their highest moral principles were to take precedent over covering their backs and hiding blame.

The word 'professional' is the opposite of 'amateur'. It means 'paid'. Whatever the history of modern professions, in the early twenty-first century, most clients deal with the paid help, who should never be allowed to forget this. Where professionals are paid for through the public purse, they are public servants, something else that they should never be allowed to forget.

Who pays? We all do. It it were conceivable that better people would go into such trades. If there were better, more relevant knowledge to hand to prepare them to be of practical use in their jobs, if the organisations that employed them were conducive to creating and developing civilised, humane, services, shot through with those essential human elements of love and respect, then it might prove worth society's paying as it does, perhaps more even than we pay now.

As it is, however, you just can't get the help. 

I cannot see any ways in which our society (and perhaps other societies too) might work towards solving the problem of 'the professionals'. If there is no apparent solution to work for. it may be tempting to act as if there is no problem. And so there will be many more such meetings as recorded in Faithmummy's blog, and more of what they represent, certainly to see my time out, and maybe hers too.

Indeed, will anyone alive today live to see better things? Or it this it, for ever?


miriamgwynne (2016) The insignificant mother? Faithmummy, 24 May

Monday, 30 May 2016


Andrea Benyovszky

Andrea has been awarded her doctorate from ELTE (the Eőtvős Loránd University, Budapest), having successfully defended her dissertation on 4 May:

A konduktív pedagógia permanens jelenléte
az Amerikai Egyesült Államokban
(Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI, USA)

The continuous presence of conductive pedagogy
in the United States of America
(Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI, USA)

Summary in Hungarian:

Summary in English:

Andrea's listing in the Hungarian Academic Corpus (MTMT):

Franz Schaffhauser

Other conductors in the doctoral programme at ELTE

Horváthné, K. S., Nadási, Zs., Gál, F., Kokumbán, E., Benyovszky, A. (2014) Doktori kutátosok a Pető intézetben [Doctoral studies at the Pető Institute], Iskolakultúra12/4, pp. 20-34

Sunday, 29 May 2016


Tsad Kadima
Good show

From Israel Rony Schenker writes to tell me of a recent item in Jewish Journal, the largest Jewish weekly newspaper in the United States outside New York City

Guy Salomon, Executive Director of Tsad Kadima has been to Los Angeles. Whilst there he was interviewed by disability activist and parent blogger Michelle K. Wolf whose blog Jews and Special Needs has now reported this interview:


Her account, from what sounds like a first exposure to Conductive Education, covers ground familiar enough to readers of Conductive World. The story of Conductive Education is a complicated one and I often wonder how those who hear about it for the first time manage. Some, I guess, do not.  Despite some errors over some specific facts, however, Michelle has made a decent job of creating a first awareness within a new network.

Never mind the specifics which, right or wrong, are likely already forgotten by most who read the posting. A general impression may have been conveyed that there is something called Conductive Education, and that it does good things in a field in which more good is needed. Respect, Michelle.

But my own attention was particularly caught by the final paragraph of her posting:

I asked Guy if there were Haredi ultra-religious) families who sent their children and young adults to Tsad Kadima’s programs. As it turns out, the clients in Tsad Kadima come from every sector, secular to very religious Jews, and also Arab Israelis and Druze. Watch the video to see for yourself...


Respect, Tsad Kadima

The above video in this link, by the way, is to a short film of Tsad Kadima's young adults' housing programme (Hebrew soundtrack with English subtitles).

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


Not quite the same, but still heuristic

There is a Capita 'conference' in Manchester on 7 July that on first seeing I thought might ideally be just the sort of thing that Conductive Education could contribute to and benefit from.

I was wrong, misled by the fog of new jargon and euphemism. It is actually about education for children who have been thrown out of school.

All the same, some of the the issues being covered seem hauntingly familiar...

It does make me wonder, however, whether there are public fora in which 'alternative provisions' of the kind represented by Conductive Education might usefully learn from each other and from others in analogous situations, about common concerns and possible resolution...

I am glad that I am no longer in the field. I might have felt sorely tempted to organise something.

Monday, 23 May 2016


Requested clarification


Last week Conductive World mentioned a 'co-ordination meeting' between management of the PAF (formerly the Pető Institute) and the members of the Board of the European Conductive Association, at which PAF announced some of its plans for the future:


Information on this meeting became publicly available because the German Conductors' Association has reported it on its website. Other organisations represented there have yet to mention it:

PAF's plans are wide-ranging and if realised could have Europe-wide implications for the future of Conductive Education.

This was 'a very open discussion'. Without further elaboration, the German Conductors' Association added –
The proposals also met critical voices from those present. Board members from Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Germany discussed them openly and repeatedly pointed out to PAF the desire for effective networking and collaborative working.

The posting on Conductive World was headed 'More Kremlin-watching'


At the weekend this posting attracted an unsigned Comment –
What does this have to do with Kremlin?

The expression 'Kremlin watching' originated during the Cold War. It referred not so much to a specific building, the Moscow Kremlin, but to the institution that it represented – the Soviet Government. This was an institution that those outside had good reason to watch with care, and often trepidation, but was an informational black hole from which few certain clues of what was planned or intended ever emerged. The 'watching' was an attempt to cull clues from any source that might be offer some indication of what was going on and what might be expected next.

A overlapping concept from those days was Kremlinology. Another was intelligence.

During the last twenty or so years the days of such activities might have been regarded as over. Perhaps they were. The expression 'Kremlin-watching, however, persisted in the English language, being used by extension to apply figuratively to any large but opaque (non-transparent) institution. Now I see it is back in common usage with respect to the Government of the Russian Federation, So it goes.

Through a glass, darkly

The expression was used figuratively in Conductive World, to suggest that if the matters dealt with at this meeting are important to anybody then they are surely important enough to be dealt with in a spirit of transparency,.


'Anonymous' has made frequent Comments on Conductive Education, on Conductive World and elsewhere  over the years.

There may unfortunately be good reasons why people in Conductive Education are reluctant to identify themselves publicly. On the other hand, the overall effect is yet further lack of transparency. In the twenty-first tradition Conductive Education needs clarity, not cloak and dagger.

Hot tip: look it up

If you find something on the Internet that you do not understand, you presumably already have your computer switched on. It then takes but a few seconds to look up the puzzling term in your preferred search engine...#

Sunday, 22 May 2016


András Pető: a tribute in verse

 The young Pető and the words of Zoltán Vitó, one his pupils

Judit Szathmáry writes –
Whoever offered the wine of movement,
The beautiful intoxication of motion
And whoever has been taught to walk,
That person will always know
How incredible it may be
That everything is possible anywhere.
People can overcome any monster
If they have the will, the heart and the intelligence
The magic consciousness always helps
Zoltán Vitό, Hungarian writer and one of the pupils of Dr András Pető, gives a clear picture of what he learnt growing up under the guidance of Dr András Pető.
A spark of a reminder of the 'old school conductor-training' we have been part of.
There are now not many of us around... few and far between. We must take care of each other, support each other and preserve what we were handed down by Dr. András Pető and Dr. Mária Hári.
I know that it is not easy. It is hard not to give in to circumstances, new trends, just to be accepted or to have an easier life, but it is much easier for us than what they had to go through in their lives, without giving in and giving up. 

Judit Szathmáry, writing on her Facebook page a week ago, on 15 May – she first published this English translation on her now discontinued blog Conductive Education Journal. 

Zoltán's poem is worth running again and I am pleased to share it more widely – thank you, Judit.

András Pető's own verse was rather different in tone. For published examples, see pages 153-160 (English translations) and 259-266 (German originals) of the book András Pető:

(Copies can be ordered through this link)

Friday, 20 May 2016


Training again

The German Conductors' Association has reported –
European project for recognition of qualifications in Europe
Within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme, 'for quality-assurance at European level to improve the transparency and recognition of competences and qualifications', in February this year the PAF [formerly the Pető Institute] initiated a European project called 'Quality Levels in Conductive Education' (QLINCE).
As well as PAF, also involved are the National Institute of Conductive Education (NICE), England, Move&Walk, Sweden – and FortSchritt Starnberg e.V., which brings our own Federal Association into the project.
Whether the project can take place, we will find out in June 2016. If it is approved, the first working meeting is to be held in Brussels on 4-7 July this year. The results have to be published in 2018.
Cui bono?

(2016) Aktuelle Themen: Europäisches Projekt zur Anerkennung von Qualifikationen in Europa, Verband det Tätigen in Deutchkand KonduktorInninen, 1 March

Thursday, 19 May 2016


An Irish one

Oh, the terrible stories that I have heard out of Ireland over the years. How typical they are of living with disability on the island of Ireland and the quality of services provided over there, I have no way to know. That I have heard them at all, and kept hearing them over thirty years, really is appalling.

This latest one – what a dreadful tale it is to read in a respectable, authoritative, national newspaper. Surely there are politicians, journalists, churchmen, advocacy bodies, ordinary decent Irish people enough, who on reading such a tale feel shame, indignation – or just plain curiosity to see whether there is are reasonable responses to the questions that it raises? At the very least, surely the story poses the question of whether something deeply troubling is showing through the surface here, another potential institutional care scandal.

And the better informed may reflect that this little boy's childhood and the well-being of his family might have been less afflicted by unnecessary woes if individuals and institutions north and south of the Border had not so powerfully and persistently stonewalled to block development of conductive initiatives over there for almost three decades.

And Rory's pottying and therefore his nursery placement might have been swiftly sorted, at minimal expense.

Meanwhile, hats off to the Lighthouse and Buddy Bear Trusts for soldiering on these many years, and keeping the conductive flag flying over there in the graveyard of conductive dreams – and probably of so many other dreams too, one feels forced to wonder...


Brady, S. (2016) 'I'm hurt and broken by the system' – Mother's heartbreak as the HSE advises her cerebral palsy son can't attend school (24 hours before his first day), The Irish Independent, 15 May

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Something stirs

There was a joint meeting of the PAF (formerly the Pető Institute) and the Board of the European Conductive Association in Budapest on 31 March – 1 April.

In accord with custom, neither the PAF nor the ECA appears to have published the contents or outcomes of this – but the German Conductors' Association has since published a summary of the proposals that the PAF put forward on the day.

PAF Rector Andrea Zsebe announced wide-ranging plans that would affect 'European partners':
The proposals also met critical voices from those present. Board members from Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Germany discussed them openly and repeatedly pointed out to PAF the desire for effective networking and collaborative working.
At the end, the Rector of PAF and the President of the ECA signed a Memorandum of Understanding for future exchanges and cooperation.

It would take a good English translation plus knowledgeable annotation for me even to begin to understand what is being proposed here. Those who feel it important to look into this further for themselves should in the first instance consult the German report.

Meanwhile, at least they have been informed. Yes, it would be very nice if there could be effective networking and collaborative working, but this can hardly even begin if there it not at least effective communication and meaningful consultation...

Note that the ECA is not a representative organisation.


(2016) Koordinationstagung der Petö András Hochschule und ECA Board am 31.3.-1.4.2016 in Budapest, Bundesverband des in Deutchland Tatigung KonductorInnen, 3 May


Virag Czibok on TV
Very Magyar, and very Kiwi!

From New Zealand, Lisa Gombinsky writes to tell me about last Sunday's edition of NZ TV documentary programme Neighbourhood
The programme looks at little communities in New Zealand – this case Fairfield just outside of Hamilton in Waikato region – and profiles individuals.

The segment about Virag talks about her own early life and schooling in Hungary (with emphasis on music education as part of her upbringing). She then goes into being invited to NZ to help set up one of the first CE schools here – and how she knew nothing at all about NZ before she came.

The musical upbringing is revisited, She does not talk about rhythmical intention but about using music to help the kids know whether they should move quickly or relax, plus to establish the routine of the programme and to settle children in, especially those with more complex needs She talks about CE was developed in Hungary as a way to help children with cerebral palsy, but also how international programmes have brought other children in and shown that CE is effective beyond motor disorder... i.e. for children with behavioral, learning and sensory impairment, and a bit about CE Waikato (children up to age 6).

She talks about her specialty – very young children under age two – and about bringing positive movement experiences to very young children who might not otherwise get them. . Her Facebook page is Early Arrivals NZ if you want to read more). There is a few minutes of her working with a gorgeous little girl and of the family saying how great Virag is A very lovely little piece

See the programme?

Wherever you are you can watch a couple of minutes' taster on Fairfield Online Extra in which Virag speaks about her strong connection to her Hungarian culture.:

The full programme is available as TV on demand, but only if you live within the New Zealand timezone:

Virag on Facebook


Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Who led the NZFCE

I did not know Dave personally, we did not even meet. But half the planet away, I could sense the force of his presence, by deed and by repute,. Of course the remarkable collective achievement eatablishment of Conductive Education in New Zealand over the years has come about through many forces and as a result of the colossal efforts of many people – but the focus that New Zealand has achieved has depended largely upon a single human agency, and that agency was Dave's.

Around the world the most effective development of Conductive Education has rested upon the collaborative efforts of three estates:
  • users and would-be users of conductive services
  • conductors
  • a 'third estate' of individuals from diverse other backgrounds, with their own personal commitments to the cause and their own especial contributions to make.
Dave was one of this third estate, with a long background in educational leadership and the wider world of voluntary community effort, and understandings, bringing experience and passions not otherwise to hand. There have been examples enough of where the advance of conductive movements have been hampered or even stymied for lack of such nous. Dave's hand on the helm of the New Zealand Foundation for Conductive Education has been a vital factor in the advancement of Conductive Education in New Zealand.

In perpetuum, Frater, ave atque vale...

Monday, 16 May 2016


Success for two conductive schools
Move&Walk has announced that its schools at Malmö and Gothenberg have attained high scores in the recent Schools Inspectorate survey, collectively achieving higher than the national averages for special schools in Sweden, with Malmö winning the highest score possible under Elevens utveckling ('pupil development').

Spokeswoman Jenny Haagman says – 

She adds –
That we have more satisfied pupils, parents and staff than all other special schools, all points, shows that conductive education really works for our group of pupils... Our teachers have a holistic perspective that makes reasonable demands of the students, which helps them feel that they can. Everyone can develop in their own terms.
A useful precedent for others

Those struggling against state education services in other countries might remember that the strongest evidence that politicians  and officials might see is information on what politicians and officials in other countries are already accepting– established memes not 'research'.

Some tables 



– (2015) Friskolan Move & Walk – grundsärskolan som får bäst resultat, Fiskolornas Riksforbund, 16 May

Most recent item on Move&Walk



A seven-minute video from Lars Mulback is inncluded with this item:

'Move@Walk school – everyone has a right to education':

Sunday, 15 May 2016


Conductor training beyond frontiers?

The PAF, formerly the Pető Institute, recently completed a three-week demonstration service in the city of Senta in northern Serbia (one-time Hungarian Zenta).

At the closing ceremony Jenő Hajnal, President of the Hungarian National Council said that conductive pedagogy can bring miraculous results without need for much equipment, but the project's wider importance lie in its implications for future conductor-training, which could take place in Santa as well as in Budapest. Not many people actually came forward for this three-week course but it is hoped that news of what has been done at Santa will attract more – not just those of Hungarian background. It is also hoped that benefits might extend to other parts of Serbia.

PAF Rector Andrea Zsebe also spoke, pointing out that this course had been preceded by screening to select from those put forward, as the method is not suitable for all disabled people. She also said that the PAF's intention to decentralise and be less Budapest-centred, also extends beyond the present political frontiers of Hungary.

The main coordinator of Senta course was Attila Perpauer, Chairman of the Hungarian National Council's Education Committee. He reported that family-members taking part had a positive attitude towards the programme, and that attendance had sometimes involved huge personal sacrifices, with some families travelling daily, others sleeping in Santa. He added that parents are already awaiting the next course, to be organised in the autumn.

Some background to this story


(2016 ) Szinte csodát tud művelni. Véget ért a budapesti Pető András Főiskola zentai kurzusa, Magyar Szó, 6 May

Saturday, 14 May 2016



The last public word from ACP was on its Facebook posting of 14 December 2015 
We're redeveloping our website at the moment. Thanks for your patience. Exciting news about ACP in the New Year! http://www.actioncp.org/

That was on 14 December 2015, six months ago today. ACP's Website has now gone off line.

Did I miss something?

What has happened about the 'multi-disciplinary research study to increase motor control in people with cerebral palsy', to the 'exciting news... in the New Year', and to the 'broad range of stakeholders'?

Thirteen organisations operating under the rubric of Conductive Education kicked ACE off. A commercial company, Whitehouse Public Relations Consultancy contributed a year's work pro bono. Two Members of Parliament were drawn in. People gave their time and energy. Where are they in all this?

ACP registered as a charity (England and Wales, children and young people under 25 years of age) in January this year, to do many things:

Where's the action?

And where's Conductive Education?

Thursday, 12 May 2016


And a model for others

From Luxembourg, Schrëtt fir Schrëtt links to the official outcome of the debate of the Parliamentary education committee –
Revision of the law on private education
In search of a solution, MPs and the Minister have therefore agreed on a two-step procedure. In the short term, the Association continues to operate without change of status and retaining public funding of up to 80%. Subsequently, an external educational assessment and discussions with members of the Association are expected to come to a medium-term solution. Several ways were discussed: either the Pető method could be integrated into the [system of] differentiated education, a new institute could be established [and] a collaboration could be defined between the two.

In parallel, a revision of the law on private education is being considered. Reform should be accompanied by broader reflection on the funding of private schools, on the control and the criteria for access, as well as a possible opening up the field of children with special needs.

In parallel, a revision of the law on private education is being considered. Reform should be accompanied by broader reflection on the funding of private schools, on the control and the criteria for access, as well as a possible opening up the field of children with special needs.

What to make of this?

As Mao Tsetung (allegedly) said about the implications of the French revolution, it is too early to tell. 

So, is this Luxembourg result...
  • an official fudge or a famous victory, or
  • the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning for the struggles of CE in Luxembourg?
Either way the next stage should be be very interesting for CE people around the world: an 'external educational assessment'. And the parallel stage might have wider beneficial implications for other groups of children in Luxembourg. In both cases, this will depend upon how others use it.

In Luxembourg Conductive Education has taken on its state educational system head on, and achieved a result, perhaps for the wider benefit of disabled children their families and future special-educational provision as a whole. It is now up to those outside Luxembourg to see how what happens there now can be utilised for their own benefit.

Read, note, mark, and inwardly digest.

Who dares, wins.

Previous item on this saga


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