Saturday, 26 February 2011

Effecting change

Research or politics
Or what?

The recent TV report on Percy Headley School in England raises enough discussion points to entertain a half-day seminar. One of these is what is the likely most productive path to achieving institutional change for Conductive Education.

REPORTER.  There has been no large-scale scientific research that proves 100% that Conductive Education is effective and that is why education authorities are reluctant to spend the £25,000 a year it takes... Future development for adults in particular here, could hinge on a masive new international research project led by Percy Hedley.

MIKE HORSELY.  Dear Mr Cameron, you have the potential and the power to do something about this. Looking at Conductive Education, looking at what the Hungarians do, would you get a move on because there's no tjime to lose, and it's too precious and too full of potental to lose. And what a fitting memorial for your son and mine.

It has always struck me as self-evident that public bodies in England and elswhere care not a jot for 'reseach' when it comes to prioritising resources (except of course in instances where they might cite it to support what they are doing anyway). Their decisions depend upon ideology, politics, micro-politics, and always of course the money to do things. This ha been the case since the year dot but in 2011 (and 2012, and 2012, and probably evermore) there is no argument on Earth that will swing public bodies to prioritise theru vanishing resources the way that seems to be suggested in the first of the above quotations.

It would be very interesting to hear more about this massive new international research project, not least because such a thing could affect the fortunes of a wide range of people (as 'CE research' has already well demonstrated, in spades). And remember do, that such effects might not necessarily be positive, as previous experience of 'CE research' has already more than amply demonstrated.

Mike Horsely has gone to the heart of the matter, as he does. This is a political problem and it requires a political response. Where a better opportunity than in a country with a Prime Minister who knows the problems of severely disabled children and their parents far better than most of those he governs – and that includes those paid to work in this sector? There was a time when such understanding political backing, from the very top, could have done wonders for the then existant CE movement in the UK. But now? I doubt that he could offer much more than moral support and encouragement in the years ahead of us.

Share your dreams

I do not wish to appear negative, on the contary, but in all reasonableness the 'research' route to CE's salvation was probably never a runner, and never will be. The personal-political strategy might just possibly lead somewhere, one day – but where? What is your vision of how a twenty-first liberal democracy might provide for its motor-disordered children and their families – and how might a future Conductive Education aim to fit into this?  And please, no social-policy pie in the sky like 'enough conductors for everyone who might benefit'.
There may of course be other visions for the future, and other strategies for how to achieve these.

Do let us hear them.

If we cannot change the world outside Conductive Education, its politics and its economics, then if change is what is wanted, then we should perhaps be looking to change Conductive Education itself and how its essences are delivered. In some respects there have been already been significant changes over the last twenty years or so, and some of this has been for the better  – so change is indeed possible, beneficial change at that.

So, where to go, how to get there? Do tell.

Inside out

This report on Percy Hedley School is the middle of three items in a thirty-minute local news programme called Inside out. It starts about twelve minutes in and runs for some eight minutes.

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Blogger Susie Mallett said...


I tried to listen to this report two days ago unfortunately this is not available to me in Germany.

If anyone can supply a transcript, or even supply a little more information about what is reported, so that those who cannot watch the newsreel can have a bit more background material in order to have a better understanding of what you are discussing.

Thank you

Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 12:45:00 GMT  
Blogger Susie Mallett said...

You were asking:

"What is your vision of how a twenty-first liberal democracy might provide for its motor-disordered children and their families – and how might a future Conductive Education aim to fit into this? And please, no social-policy pie in the sky like 'enough conductors for everyone who might benefit'."

I suddenly thought: That's just it, people are always thinking about how to provide for motor-disordered children and their families. We should be thinking about what to provide for these motor-disordered peope for their whole lives. This is where your the other blog posting, about the name, comes in too.

People with a motor disorder can live as long as you and I. We are children for only a quarter of the years that we actually live. I know that the upbringing in those first years is so important but I think now of one of my young adult clients. It is the transfer from childhood into adulthood that is causing him so much problem, as it is only now that he is more able physically, and also psychologically and socially, so that he can actually go out alone in the world to learn things. It is only now that he is able to understand why he needs to learn to read and write, and manage his money.

I never did understand why the talk is always about providing for children. It is all to soon not children that we are providing for. We need to provide for people with disabilty and not for children specifically. That is why "education" is a not very useful word to describe conduction, as people usually associate education with children not with forty-years-old with a motor disorder.

Sunday, 27 February 2011 at 18:49:00 GMT  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Sorry to hear that Germany is blocking transmission from BBC NE and Cumbria. I don't have any remedy to suggest.

It is a shame because announcement of an major international study merits an international audience. Let us hope that further information will soon be more widely accessible.


Sunday, 27 February 2011 at 18:56:00 GMT  

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