Friday, 31 March 2017


A month of heat but little light

After more than a year of relative public quiet around the PAF (Andras Pető College, formerly the Pető Institute) another bitter political-financial row broke out around the PAF on 3 March.

The matter has concerned the salaries and terms and conditions of conductors who work there with adults. Regulations state that they cannot be paid as teachers and this threatens a cut in pay and an increase in hours. Conductors involved have walked away. The future of the Adults' Department and conductor-training to work with adults has seemed at risk. Then possible deal is tabled by management. What happens now is still not clear. Perhaps it will be on Monday, the first day of the new working week. Over the month there have been parliamentary and ministerial involvement, and an online public petition. What happens now and next is not clear.

Today is the last day of March. has been an awful lot in the Hungarian media but no investigative journalism to peel back what is happening beneath. The English-language press in Hungary has kept out of it – and so have media outside Hungary, despite the continuing ritual assertion that the PAF is 'world-famous', the world has either not noticed, or is just not interested

Conductive World has monitored these events. The month's postings are listed below as an appendix. One can certainly feel the heat and the intensity of the conflict. But these is little light shed


Wednesday and Thursday of this week seemed a little more hopeful for a settlement to the most immediate problem of keeping the PAF's Adults' Department going, for the sake of its clients and for its role in conductor-training. No longer-term future was indicated to, however, or consideration of any underlying problems:

Among all this media verbiage: Palkovics László, State Secretary for Education, has told ls Magyar Idők (a pro-Government newspaper) told –

...the leadership of the university acted according to the law, but the case has revealed that the institute's situation has to be considered.

Negotiations are going on about possible cooperation with Semmelweis University, but the Senates of two institutions will decide on this.

Video: the struggle continues...

The Pető affair: the battle has been won, but not yet the war

The Semmelweis University is a medical university. How might these negotiations lead on to solving the present problems? What might lie on that table? What unintended consequences could ensue?

Diplomatic initiative...

As far as is publicly known, CE institutions around the world, local, national or cross-national, have stood aside from these events. In Hungary.. This morning Norman Perrin blogged that he had written to the Hungarian Ambassador in London, asking him – urge all parties to take all necessary steps to ensure the continuation at Pető András Főiskola of services for adults, including the training of Conductors to work with them and, especially, to recognise the international importance of the adult services at the Pető András Főiskola to those of us working to promote and provide Conductive Education adults’ services outside Hungary.

He urged individuals concerned over this matter to write themselves to the Hungarian Ambassadors in their own countries to express their own views.


Conductive World's postings on PAF's
progress through Hungarian media
over March 2017

Media outside Hungary have just not noticed, or have nor been interested


Norman Perrin writes
Why don't you?

Yesterday Norman Perrin wrote to Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczki,  Ambassador of Hungary in London and today he blogged the following extract from his letter, requesting the Ambassador.– urge all parties to take all necessary steps to ensure the continuation at Pető András Főiskola of services for adults, including the training of Conductors to work with them and, especially, to recognise the international importance of the adult services at the Pető András Főiskola to those of us working to promote and provide Conductive Education adults’ services outside Hungary.

Norman goes to urge those who care about this matter, wherever, they may be, to write to the Hungarian Ambassadors in their own counties.

I you, so, do please communicate the response that you get to the wider world of Conductive Education. I am sure that Norman will.


Perrin, N. (2017) Does adult continuing Conductive Education have a future at Pető András Főiskola ? C.E. Jottings, 31 March

Thursday, 30 March 2017


Zsuzsa Szabó

Can anyone offer news of conductor Zsuzsa Szabó? I am not the only one who would like to hear:

Zsuzsa's story on TV, March 2011

Video, in Hungarian, six minutes:

More on Zsuzsa (English + Hungarian text):


...and some thoughts arising

I was looking at this photograph yesterday evening, and smiling. That is indeed a good explanatory photograph, I thought, one obviously selected with care. It is visually well-composed (a professional photographer?), the activity represented is disciplined and orderly, the room is tidy, one can almost feel the orchestrated concentration and commitment involved, and not just from the children stepping across the frame, but from the conductors too, and from the two children attentively waiting their turn. What one sees is patently not (ghastly expression) 'hands-on'. This is not a 'therapy' but an image of movement pedagogy, psychological and social to a T. People are working hard, concentrating and learning. And there are none of the hapless smiles so beloved of PR people.

I had come across this photo on Hungarian Opposition MP Timea Szabó's latest Facebook posting, in which she writes about the present negotiations (is that the right word?) over the salaries and conditions of service of adults' conductors at the PAF in Budapest:

Then I stopped smiling. I recognised people, the place, the clothing. I recognised the photograph. It was taken some years ago in the Early Intervention group at the National Institute of Conductive Education, in Birmingham. So I laughed instead. I have no problem with people's lifting images displayed on line in order to illustrate something (I do it myself, my attitude being that if someone publishes something on line it is de facto in the public domain): Granting this:
  • it would be nicer if the illustration selected could be relevant, in this instance, to adults' work rather than that of kindergarten children (there are plenty of good examples on line)
  • whatever an image's origin or relevance, however, it is nice to see a decent example of conductive pedagogy selected and shown
  • it is not so nice to be reminded of the dreadful images of purported Conductive Education that also abound on line (videos as well as still photos), confusing or even damaging professional and public understanding of the work by potentially generating impressions that are the very antithesis of those that made me smile at the old photograph referred to here.
Not just PAF in the market

This is yet another reminder that the media and political fuss over the PAF has been precisely that – a fuss over the PAF, one institution, in Budapest, Hungary. The fuss has not been about Conductive Education which is a far wider (and more important) matter, something manifest not just elsewhere in Hungary but in many other places too. In 2017 Conductive Education around the world is bigger and possibly no less important for the future than what happens now in that one embattled institution in Budapest.

As far as the Hungarian public discourse seems to go, the PAF's wider context amounts to no more than some unstated sphere in which the PAF is 'world-famous'. On the other hand:
  • those who live in the real world know that the things are rather more complex than that
  • it needs hardly pointing out that there may be but a narrow cusp (catastrophe theory) between fame and notoriety and that, when a tree is seriously shaken, there is no telling what will fall out (folk wisdom!)
The PAF does remain the world's major single supplier of conductive staff – though whether it will remain so in the vital matter of staff professionally prepared to work with adults may now be in the balance.

How the world's conductor-supply market might adapt and develop should the PAF withdraw from the adults' training market, could be be an interesting pointer to how the  presently much larger children's market might respond to relevant future problems.


(And in the UK, SEN too)

Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced
with the permission of Parliament


'The greatest existential threat to the United Kingdom; since the Second World War'.

Well, maybe, but certainly a most important factor in many aspects of people's lives in the UK, in the EU and perhaps in other places too:

Conductive Education

This applies to CE too. How precisely this will be is too early to say. Most apparently at the moment (D+1 of the official notice to leave) Brexit could affect the following.
  1. Conductors from EU countries planning to live and work in the UK. Those hoping to live and work in the UK will be subject to  discussions expected in the early stages of the negotiation. If they come from EU countries they will no longer be joining the queue for UK and EU citizens at Arrivals. If it is like previously then their potential employers may have to make a special case to employ them. If expecting to be self-employed then they might have to make their own individual special cases. And then there may be the possible question around their qualifications that will also need sorting out individual – all time, effort and uncertainty for everyone involved.
  2. Conductors from EU countries already living and working in the UK. So far the signs look good that they and their families will be granted permanent stay.
  3. Conductors from the UK wishing to live and work in the EU and conductors from the UK already living and working in the EU. Whatever is decided upon will doubtless have to be reciprocal to points 1 and 2 above. The numbers involved will certainly be much smaller but the implications for individuals involved an no less.
  4. Those in the UK and the EU, either planning to employ or already employing conductors from the other side of the new frontier. They will presumably have to take points 1-4 above into their consideration too and act accordingly. 
  5. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland . These have been rendered largely TERRÆ NON-CONDUCTIVÆ (CE-free zones) on the world conductive map. Who knows, what happens over the next coupe of years just might stimulate new initiatives in a future world that will be rather different from our own...
  6. 'European' developments. The has a been a long-standing minority lobby to create a 'European' entity, both institutional and conceptual – and to draw people in the UK into this (with greater attention this to that granted to developments in the rest of the EU). Whatever happens now, as far as the UK's relationship with CE the EU is concerned, in two years this will be something that is happening not just overseas but in a foreign country. As a minor corollary, that could be the end of British participation in EU-funded discussion groups.
  7. Elsewhere. Whatever happens now as a result of Brexit between the UK and its big new neighbour the EU – and what may happens within the EU too – will certainly impact in presently unforeseeable ways in countries in the rest of the world. This likelihood  should be particularly obvious to those who like to think holistically. Correspondingly, this will apply too in the little world of Conductive Education. Again, the conductor jobs market comes most obviously to mind, with particular knock-on effects on the jobs market in German- and English-speaking countries. How and how else one shall have to wait, even to speculate...
Speculation is all that one has to go on at the moment, for any of this. Speculation is the best that may be possible to be done in prudent consideration of risk factors, personal or institutional, though as the two years of negotiation proceed then some at least of the details will likely sharpen.

That is speculation too!

SEN ('Special Educational Needs')

To put it politely SEN has not been going well. Nor has education as a whole in the United Kingdom (in some pares more so that in others).. Over the next two years 'SEN' would ideally benefit from serious Parliamentary scrutiny. In the meantime and by default, however, it will remain largely in the hands of the functionaries and the pressure groups who have been a major cause of present problems in the first place. Anyone who has seriously hoped for major Parliamentary time to start cleansing this Augean stable should ask which will have the greatest priority for official time, SEN or Brexit.

The Great Appeal Bill is coming. No contest:

(Conductive Education is well off the national radar in the UK and so very unlikely to feature explicitly in national consideration of SEN).

Who knows, about any of this?

Me, you, Theresa May? None of us.

104 weeks are a very long time in politics. One thing alone is certain: in two years' time nothing will be as anyone foresees it today.

Die Welt this morning confidently predicts the long-term outcome  as 'somewhere between Apocalypse and Wonderland'. You can't say fairer than that.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


Gleam of progress...?

Yesterday's statement from Párbeszéd (the Dialogue party)

Dialogue's proposal that there should be a unified salary scales and conditions of service (i.e. hours and holidays) for all conductors at the PAF has been voted down in committee, but the party claims to have 'managed to save two of the major programmes of the world-famous institution'.

Opposition MP Timea Szabo concluded the statement in confident manner –

Dialogue is confident that the Government and the Chancellor will in future make every effort to secure the functioning of the institution. Dialogue will continue monitoring events and fighting for our valued vulnerable people.

But as for the actual content and outcome of the meeting reported here, I am confused –

A Párbeszéd információi szerint a Pető Intézet vezetői a közeljövőben visszahívják a kényszerből távozott konduktorokat, akik ismét a pedagógus bértábla alapján kapják majd a fizetésüket. Úgy tűnik, ezzel sikerül biztosítani a felnőtt ambulancia és a nemzetközi intézet zavartalan működését, és ellátni a több száz sérült gyereket és felnőttet.

Habár a kormánypárti képviselők a kulturális bizottságban ma leszavazták és politikai kampánynak minősítették a Párbeszéd azon javaslatát, amely alapján a konduktorok egységes bértábla és egységes szabályok alapján dolgozhatnának a jövőben, mégis sikerült megmenteni a világhírű intézmény két fontos programját.

Információink szerint tegnap a vezetőség összehívta a konduktorokat, és közölték, hogy visszahívják dolgozni azokat, akik a megalázó feltételek miatt nem voltak hajlandóak aláírni a fizetéscsökkentéssel és a kötelező óraszámuk növekedésével járó új munkaszerződésüket. A vezetőség ezen a találkozón ugyan hangot adott a Párbeszéd iránti ellenszenvének, a párt örömét fejezi ki, hogy a kancellár a jövőben végre az intézmény és a beteg, sérült emberek érdekeit tartja majd szem előtt.

Perhaps someone could explain...



Казахстан зовeт!

The PAF is still seeking conductors for its Kazakhstan project, from May and June.


Competitive salary, a beautiful environment!
We ask: conductor education, basic Russian language skills.
Flights, visas, insurance? All found

What is there not to like?


Tuesday, 28 March 2017


Missed and not to be forgotten

James Forliti (Blue's Dad) used to write a wonderful 'conductive blog'.

James was born and raised in Minnesota, and was living and working in British Columbia. His blog presented a strong and sardonic take to bringing up a son with cerebral palsy, and on the agencies that he met along the way. He was also a powerful advocate for Conductive EducationJames was born and raised in Minnesota, lived and worked in British Columbia.

His blog had a strong and sardonic take on bringing up a son with cerebral palsy, and on the agencies that he met along the way.

Most of those who blog, and those who comment on the blogs of others (on any topic, I think) tend to let it go after a time, leaving a few anoraks. James no longer blogs but yesterday Facebook reminded me that I had mentioned James and Blue on 27 March 2010. Others might like to meet him:

Here's just another example of James' to-the-point postings


Speleen test

My son is 'integrated' into his school classroom. Hmmm, sounds rather like a piece of equipment; bolted onto a machine. It's old news that he is 'integrated' into his school; but every once in a while it just hits me again how bloody low the bar is set for him. His little log book from the classroom aide reports that his task at school today was to give the spelling words to the other kids for a spelling test. This means that someone else recorded the words into a computer, he hits his head on the button (I think, or maybe they held his hand and hit the button with his hand) and the word is blurted out for the OTHER STUDENTS to do their chores. Holy smokes, is that what my boy is worth in the classroom? He helps the other kids practise spelling, yet no one is asking him to try to speak, or use his hands? Only conductors have touched that path with him. Sigh. I could just pull my hair out, but then my hair wouldn't be 'integrated' with my scalp any more. And my goodness, what would the ears and forehead think? Scandalous. Just plain skandullis.

[Highlighting by Conductive World, for added emphasis]

I learned a lot from James' blogs. Are there not other parent-bloggers out there now in the same conductive vein? Where?

Monday, 27 March 2017


You may wish to sign and share...

In English

My own (insufficient) summary of this –

A public petition is now on line to secure the work of the PAF's Adult Department. It states that that this Department is expected to cease operation at the end of this month, along with training of conductors to work with adults It also points out that the PAF is now to start training, in Transylvania, and requests similar attention to meeting needs back home. Proper career-structure is requested, like teachers have, along with maintaining present working hours and holidays for conductors who work with adults.

Perhaps surprisingly here, it is also requested that residential child-care should not be discontinued, thus closing off the possibility of Conductive Education to country children from outside Budapest..

It also calls for a new chancellor.

Hungarian original

Tisztességes bánásmódot a konduktoroknak és a rászorulóknak!

1. Kérjük, hogy a Pető András Intézet kiskorú és felnőtt ellátottjainak eddigi magas szintű rehabilitációs ellátása ne sérüljön, sem színvonalban, sem lehetőségeiben! A Felnőtt ambulancia részt vesz a főiskolai hallgatók képzésében, de az ott kezelt betegek ellátására nincs állami támogatás. A határon túli projektekben a mi konduktoraink is aktívan részt vesznek, Erdélyben például, az ottani felnőtt betegekről az anyaország gondoskodik, nagyon helyesen, mi csupán annyit kérünk, hogy hozzájuk hasonlóan az itthoniak is kapják meg ugyanezt a támogatást kezelésükhöz, különös tekintettel arra, hogy a Felnőtt Ambulancián is folyik oktató munka! Ehhez szerencsés lenne, ha ezt nem a kancellária, hanem a főiskola rektorátusa felügyelné, egyrészt mert ott a szakmai kompetencia ehhez, másrészt mert a kancellária eredeti létrehozása, kihelyezése bizonyos intézmények élére elsősorban a gazdasági, pénzügyi átvilágítások céljából jött létre.
2. Kérjük, hogy sorolják a konduktorokat képzettségüknek, munkakörüknek, szakmai gyakorlatuknak, hallgatókkal végzett oktatómunkájuk szintjének megfelelő konduktori bértáblázatba, a pedagógusokkal azonos módon és feltételekkel, életpályamodell megalkotásával! A pedagógusi besorolással a heti óraszám és a szabadság is az eddigi maradhat.
3. Kérjük, hogy ne szüntessék meg a bentlakásos gyermekek ellátást, mert így semmi esélye a vidéki gyerekeknek a mindennapi konduktív foglalkozásra, fejlődésük nem lenne biztosított. Ne csorbuljon a gyerekek konduktív pedagógiához való joga.
4. Kérjük, hogy az évek óta húzódó tisztázatlan anyagi elszámolásokat, az Intézet gazdálkodását, a mindenkori felelős vezetőket egyszer s mindenkorra világítsák át.
5,   Kérjük, hogy az összes vitás kérdésben együttműködésre képes, mozgássérült gyerekek és felnőttek sorsáért tenni akaró új kancellárt jelöljenek ki a Pető Intézet élére. Hívja vissza az elküldött nagy tudású konduktorokat, hogy a harmadik generációval ne szűnjön meg a konduktív pedagógia, és ne szűnjön meg egy világhírű hungaricum. Mivel a felnőtt terület igen speciális, a konduktorhallgatók keveset tanulnak róla, ezért mindig szakavatott konduktori gárda tanította be a terület iránt hivatást érző újakat. Nélkülük nem fejlődhet ki egy professzionális új generáció. Tehát kérjük vissza az elküldött konduktorainkat, számukra elfogadható, emberséges körülményekkel, szerződéssel!
6. Mind a kiskorúak szülei, mind a felnőtt ellátottak az intézettől kapjanak értesítést az őket érintő változtatásokról, ne a médiából értesüljenek elsőként.
This petition went on line two days ago, since when one-and-a-half thousand Facebookers have shared this petition, of whom 1037 have themselves signed.
The petition
Contact the author of this petition, Pető SM Csoport
(2017) Tisztességes bánásmódot a konduktoroknak és a rászorulóknak! [Fair treatment for conductors and those in need], online petition, 25 March 2017
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