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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
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 6 days ago 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 7 days ago 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
We all talk about "cerebral palsy" as if it exists, don't we? Or we can't get away from using the term because everyone else does. What if cerebral palsy doesn't exist? What if it's just a label, a label of convenience? What if ADHD does not exist? Or dyslexia? What if "cerebral palsy" is a "crypto-pathology" as Tom Bennett writing recently in the Times Educational Supplement, described ADHD and Dyslexia? Be reassured! No, I haven't suddenly lost my mind. But... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
On the experience of being a parent of a disabled child (or adult) engaging with care professionals. What follows is reblogged from 'faithmummy" posted almost a year ago on 24th May 2016 as "The Insignificant Mother". Miriam, for that is her name, captures precisely the culture endemic to professionals in the care system and their attitudes that so need to change. Parents of adult children with disabilities may fare even worse as those who follow Mark Neary's blog, 'Love, Belief... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
I do enjoy finding support for conductive education principles and practices outside conductive education itself. Here are two examples, the first is Ed Balls talking about his Strictly Come Dancing training partner Katya Jones and how she taught him to "inhabit the characters he was playing more fully". As a politician, he says, "you're used to performance. But in a dance performance you have to put yourself aside." (Sunday Times Magazine April 16 2017) Jones got Balls to embrace his... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
Today, I read that the Charity Commission for England and Wales is undertaking a consultation that "will inform the review of the approach to registering organisations that promote complementary and alternative therapies." (CAM). "What's that to do with us?" I can hear managers and parents and Trustees saying. "What's that got to do with conductive education? Well, as most conductive education organisations in the Uk are registered charities, depending in some cases entirely on charitable fundraised income, what would you... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
Yesterday, I wrote to His Excellency Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, the Ambassador of Hungary in London. If you care about adult continuing conductive education, I suggest you do the same. If you are not in the UK, write to your own country's Ambassador. My message was simple: to request the Ambassador to use his good offices "to 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... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at C.E. Jottings
For many of us in conductive education, our fundamental purpose is that children and young people with motor disorders become independent adults as active citizens. My daughter Sarah lives independently in the community in a supported living arrangement along with two of her friends. She accesses adult and continuing conductive education thanks to Paces. It is a wholly successful arrangement that has enabled her to grow and mature as a person. You may not be familiar with DoLS - the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2017 at C.E. Jottings