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Sheffield UK
Former CEO & Co-Founder of Paces; Dad to Sarah, a young woman with cerebral palsy, living independently thanks to Conductive Education
Recent Activity
"It is not just the absence of disease or preservation of function that we should be concerned with, but the potential for a continuing development throughout life. Cerebral function is not like cardiac or renal function, which proceeds autonomously, almost mechanically, in a fairly uniform way throughout life. The brain/mind, in contrast, is anything but automatic, for it is always seeking to categorise and recategorise the world, to give meaning to its own experience. "It is the nature of living... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2019 at C.E. Jottings
"Britain’s cruel care system shames us all" by Ian Birrell in "The Times" today. "The details are shocking. A troubled girl just 14 years old, sent for the first time into a place of supposed sanctuary for her psychiatric problems. She was subjected to the terror of physical restraint by four adults on her second day, then many more times over subsequent weeks. She was forcibly injected with drugs. She was bullied. And then she killed herself, despite warnings about... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2019 at C.E. Jottings
A Fitbit. For someone who doesn’t walk or take the stairs. Is there any point? Discuss, please. So asked Glenda Watson-Hyatt on Facebook a few days ago. Glenda’s interest was in how much, as an electric wheelchair user, she actually moves. If you’d like to read the whole fascinating series of comments and discussion that followed, you can find it here. Some of the comments focused factually on what a FitBit can actually do: from the maybe well-known such as... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2019 at C.E. Jottings
West Ham beat Newcastle Untied 2-0 at the weekend. I watched the first half on TV. To be honest, I wasn’t terribly interested in either side and it wasn’t a top game. When West Ham went 2-0 up just before half-time, I switched the TV off. Nothing much happened in the second half, it seems. No goals anyway. Actually, I was only filling time, waiting for my grandson to contact me on FaceTime. He’d just got the results of an... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2019 at C.E. Jottings
I wrote last about Trusteeship ... on Trustees' role as Guardians of the definition of success and how soccer clubs treasure "a sense of what they stand for, what they are and a respect for those who have 'gone before’" Another way of saying the 'definition of success' is 'Purpose'. So how about this from today's Independent? "Never underestimate the power of a purpose. From Klopp’s Liverpool to Warnock’s Cardiff, from Pep’s City to Pulis’s Middlesbrough, the modern club -... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2019 at C.E. Jottings
A few days ago, I had a brief email exchange with Andrew Sutton about Trusteeship. The topic was prompted by Stick 'n Step's detailed description of the Trustee role which they were seeking to fill (not an easy task at the best of times - so good luck). I happened to comment to Andrew that the best summary I'd ever been told of what it was to be a Trustee was also the briefest: "Trustees are the guardians of the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2019 at C.E. Jottings
A moment ago, I was on Gill Maguire's Conductive Education Information website searching for something, and was reminded of this posting "Air, Food & Experience" by Judit Szathmary. If you've not read it, you should. If you did read it when Judit published it November, then I urge you to read it again, as I have just done. "There is a significantly different experience between mainstream special education combined with therapy and conductive movement pedagogy. Conductive movement pedagogy is about... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
To the eye of this parent and English-trained teacher, the Petö Institute could be a challenging environment. One of the more curious features of conductive education as practised at Kútvölgyi út was the responsibility taken by Conductors for the equipment they worked with and the rooms they worked in, including responsibility at the end of one working day for cleaning and setting up their room for the next day's session. As I came to understand Conductive Education, or Conductive Movement... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
A week ago last Wednesday, I spent a very pleasurable and interesting 30 minutes at the presentation by Masters' students from Sheffield University Architecture Department, of a design for a new facility for Paces Sheffield "to create one of the leading purpose-built conductive education centres in the country." (Andrew Sutton's Facebook post "Something of wider significance at Paces Sheffield" has some useful links.) The students had clearly put a lot of work into their proposed design and presentation. The 3-D... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
Four unrelated events have recently come my way : One: I've recently been working to recover the website for the Sheffield Symposium on adult and continuing conductive education that was thought to have been 'terminated' (I'll let you know when it's back online); Two: The report of the year long EU Erasmus Project on adults and conductive education is imminent. I'm looking forward to reading it; Three: Paces Sheffield, working with architecture Masters' students from Sheffield University is undertaking a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
Searching for something else, I came across this earlier today. Written when our daughter Sarah was 18 (so about 2000), for a purpose long since forgotten, possibly publication, its subject is the transition from children' services to adults' services, from childhood to adulthood. It's a bleak picture as bleak as the Joseph Rowntree Report that it refers to "Hurtling Into A Void?" Would that someone could tell me how much better transition is for young people and their families today,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
I'll keep this brief: Have you or anyone you know ever had the opportunity to design dedicated spaces specifically for adult and continuing conductive education services? If so, I'd love to hear from you at Many thanks. Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
How important to motivation is the Group in conductive education? Consider: " The traditional view of motivation was individualistic. Humans were deemed to be rational maximisers of self-interest. If you want someone to do something, pay them. If you want them to try harder, increase the size of the bonus. This remains the dominant paradigm in business and, indeed, economic theory" "We are belatedly discovering, however, that humans are not economic automatons. We are not interested merely in self-enrichment. We... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
Questions are being asked about the integrity of a top UK charity's governance and prudent use of charitable funds, after it paid a large sum to a departing chief executive in return for a confidentiality agreement. According to The Times yesterday, the Charity Commission has sought "urgent assurances" from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) about a payment made to its former CEO in return for which a confidentiality agreement prevents him from discussing the... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
Continued from "Fat-Cat Academy Pay Costs Pupils, Say MPs" My interest in the recent story from The Times under the headline "Fat-Cat Academy Pay Costs Pupils, Say MPs" was not prompted by an a priori antagonism to Academies nor to highly-paid individuals. What prompted it I merely hinted at – and then not well - in the final sentence: “…the intrusion of corporatisation even into the charity sector”. What’s this to do with conductive education, some will ask. I suggest... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
That was the headline of an article by Rosemary Bennett, Education Editor of The Times, March 30th. Here are two extracts: School academies that pay their executives and head teachers fat-cat salaries are depriving the front line of vital funds, MPs say. The lack of accountability is "alarming" and in most cases pay packages of more than £150,000 have not been adequately explained, a Commons committee has said. Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the public accounts committee, told The Times that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
Is one of the best jobs in conductive education in the UK the job for you? Paces Sheffield is searching for a new Chief Executive. You'll have to move quickly - applications close on 15th February. More information: JDB People Management 07891 365288 PACES SHEFFIELD JOB ADVERTISEMENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO) Dates: Applications will close on Thursday 15 February 2018. Applications Process: Candidates will be required to submit an application form, covering letter and CVShortlisting will be on Friday... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2018 at C.E. Jottings
Sarah needs a new wheelchair. There are two criteria (i) that she maintains her mobility, moving herself around independently and (ii) some form of support to help her sit up straighter. Shouldn't be difficult, should it, you'd think. Well, I'll not go into the details but have a read of someone else's experience. Read Chris Whittaker's account of what his wife Fran faced. Getting a wheelchair that is fit for purpose: Mission Impossible? "Fran’s wheelchair is quite literally the centre... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
"If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. Tears of grief at the loss of a beautiful, vulnerable 18 year old young man, tears of love for his amazing mother, family and friends, and tears of rage about a system that didn’t just let him die through neglect, but consistently refused to take responsibility for his death and for far too long failed to give him and his family justice." So begins Stephen Unwin's review of "Justice for Laughing... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
On the very day that "Justice for Laughing Boy. Connor Sparrowhawk - A Death by Indifference " is published, also launched is a new website "An Ordinary Home". An Ordinary Home "is a family led forum that offers support, resources and campaigning for people detained in assessment and treatment units; secure hospitals; locked rehab units. The aim is for the people to be released from detention into a home of their choosing in their community." "This forum is private. It... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
Conductive living? Conductive lifestyle? Lifetime conductive education? Call it what you will, there's shockingly little in the literature. What does continuing conductive education mean for young people when school years are left behind and especially for adults as they grow older? In late October, in Sheffield, we hope ask these questions and begin to share some answers. But first a little personal history. When we first went to the Petö Institute, Sarah was still young but no longer a little... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
Consider this: “At the seminar, during a break, I asked one of the speakers when she had most recently heard that the education of children with cerebral palsy was a 'problem', a matter for public debate? As she appeared not to comprehend the question, I suggested she substitute autism, or dyslexia or emotional and behavioural difficulties for cerebral palsy. She then agreed that she was indeed aware of the continuing public discussion about the education of children with autism or... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
We have gone beyond "could do better". If you doubt that we are living within a system collapsing into chaos, then read these reports. My concern is for adults and the system of adult social care in England. So it might seem odd that I begin with a report on teenagers: "The wellbeing of secondary school pupils with special educational needs". In a moment I will focus on the report but first the report's title and a question. What happens... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
In the great scheme of things, it matters not a lot. But it matters to me. In 2013, at the 8th World Congress of Conductive Education in Munich, I was immensely proud (and not a little humbled) to be made an Honorary Conductor. Ever since, I have described myself (in my standard email signature, for instance) as an "Honorary Conductor of the Petö Andras College of Conductive Education". In a few days time, on the 1st August, the Petö Andras... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2017 at C.E. Jottings