A new year. A new decade. Uncertain times, indeed.
One certainty, however, is that when the new decade ends, in 2020, there will be a new Chief Executive of Paces. In fact, it is a racing certainty that before the decade even reaches its half way point, I shall no longer be in that post. Forgive me,then, if I suggest that this might, for someone, be the very best job in conductive education in the UK.
In the time remaining to me, what are some of the priorities for conductive education and Paces? Where ought I direct my energies as Paces CEO? If the times are uncertain, they are also replete with opportunities, if we are brave enough to seize them. What might be possible?
Collaboration: As a project, Paces is almost exactly co-terminous with the New Labour project. Yet whilst the Paces' project has gradually flourished, we in the UK conductive education movement (unlike advocates in autism, for instance) have nationally failed to have any impact on the Government. Indeed, the use of the word "movement" in either of its senses, merely underlines the failure. A few months from now, the country could have a new Government. New MPs; new Ministers; new education policies - new opportunities for conductive education? Shall we speak up together?
Environment: 2009 saw the granting of a long lease to High Green Development Trust, the cooperative of resident groups that since 2003 has managed Paces Campus. Come what may, the capital redevelopment of the Campus will rightly loom large. It is an excellent site and the Development Trust has exciting plans. The co-location of conductive education activities with local community activities and of third sector services alongside public and private sector services is an innovative model that offers a flexible environment for future growth of conductive education.
Communication: I happen to be one of those who is convinced that online social networking (blogs; facebook; twitter et al) not only makes different kinds of conversation possible, but is also changing the relationships of power between participants. We have seen little of this in conductive education yet. It will come. Think of the challenge that Mumsnet (not to be confused with the larger NetMums) recently presented to both Gordon Brown and to David Cameron, in coming to grips with those particular conversations.
Governance & Management: If Paces is to transform itself during the coming half-decade, major changes and improvements in governance and management structure will be required, starting with enhancing the Trustee body and dealing with succession issues - which brings this posting back to round to where it began: managing uncertainty and certainty.
I have not mentioned growing our services, or the need for training and research. Notably, I have not mentioned money, which might surprise some in these financially straightened times - but money, after all, is merely one resource, one means of securing our ends.
So, having been out this first bright and sharply cold afternoon of 2010, down to Bakewell, in Derbyshire, with Sarah and my wife Dru, to feed the ducks on the river, I start the decade with these three formidable challenges near the forefront of my mind as Paces CEO.