Sunday, 5 March 2017

AND EVERYTHING'S JUST SPLENDID TOO

In English SEN

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Perhaps in response to growing public expression that the recent legislation to rejig public services for children and young people with 'special educational needs' is not producing the goods, the Government is responding to the problem in one of the few ways that it knows, chuck money at it – particularly, buy 'stuff'.

The English Department of Education has announced £216,000,000 –

To transform the lives of thousands of children with special educational needs and disabilities, by increasing school capacity and making it easier for them to access good school places

To transform lives...?

Suggestionsfor its use include building new specialised classrooms for children with emotional, social and mental health difficulties, expanding existing classrooms to increase their size for those using mobility aids or perhaps creating storage facilities for wheelchairs if needed.

As ever, ensuring that the school system and its staff have appropriate pedagogies does not arise as a question since the state education system as a whole remains steadfastly blind to the very notion of pedagogy.

Edward Timpson. the 'Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families' (what an impudent job title) says –

This Government is determined to build a country that works for everyone – a country where every child has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of their background, and any‎ challenges they may face.

We’ve already made the biggest changes for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in a generation, but we want to go further and build on that success. 

Our multi-million pound investment will enable local councils to build new classrooms and improve facilities for pupils‎, ensuring that no child is left behind.

Perhaps the highlighted words are suggestive the underlying educational philosophy of the Minister, those who brief him (civil servants and lobbyists) and much of the system over which he presides. Small wonder that disabled children are 'vulnerable'. Vulnerable to what, I wonder. Could it be state-sponsored pedagogic neglect?

It may be very nice to enjoy sparkling new physical facilities but it would be nicer still to for disabled children to spend their school hours in active pedagogic settings exercising philosophies and practices attuned to advancing their development.

Conductive Education?

Doubts have been already advanced that all the promised money will all find its way through the local-authority system to its intended beneficiaries:


Ultimately, however, this is a mere detail, just nuts and bolts. The public-education service will continue to fail disabled children as long as it fails to recognise that, without appropriate pedagogies, without proper understandings of what to aim for, and the practical means to get there, all the stuff in the world will not advance the children's education and upbringing one iota.

In the meantime –

The investment can be used in mainstream schools, including academies, free schools and grammar schools, special units, special schools, early years settings, further education colleges or other provision for children and young people aged from 0-25...



How might Conductive Education in England benefit from any of this?

The simple answer is that to a very large degree it cannot access this money. Not all services that might be viewed as conductive education schools are neither 'maintained' or 'non-maintained schools'. There are no conductive free schools, or anything conductive in any of the other eligible categories listed above. Independent schools are what they say – independent – and therefore outside the system.

Conductive Education in England (and the rest on the United Kingdom) has not so much painted itself into a corner with regard to educational funding from the state, as out of the door, out of sight and out of mind.

References

(2017) New funding boost for pupils with SEND (press release), London, Department of Education, 4 March
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-boost-for-pupils-with-send

Tiraoro, T. (2017) £215 million cash boost for local areas to improve SEND facilities, Special Needs Jungle, 4 March


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