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Is a Detox Overdue?

April 2nd, 2009

Sometimes the words we use are the great mischief makers in our brains, setting our thoughts off on the wrong track, in the wrong direction.

We need a detox. We have to rid ourselves of toxins in our language; some of the words we use every day when we talk politics and, in particular here, special educational needs, SEN. There’s also quite a bit of purging to be done elsewhere; cleaning out some of the rubbish in the corridors of power.

In this Blog I shall explore new ways of thinking and doing things.

Some innocent looking words have made great mischief for years and some we treasure are not as innocent as they look. They have snarled up our thoughts for far too long.

I will tell you here four of them that I have in mind. You may have others. They are, in alphabetical order, “Equality”,” Inclusion”, “Outcomes”, and “Rights.”  I would bin the word “Outcomes”.

’‘Outcome’ is a fine old word. ‘Outcomes’ is a horrid little new one. It has been designed by social engineers for social engineering. It is all about overall results that do not take account of individual needs. Travel on the London underground in the rush hour. See why it is impossible for a Whitehall civil servant to think in terms of a policy to meet individual needs. There are so many people that such a quest seems impossible. But further down the line, that is precisely what those in the public service have to do if they want to be effective, to help in any meaningful way.

Once they use the word ‘outcomes’ they start to get it wrong. Those who have a mandate to govern must do so, but they must be sensitive to individual need. This is not just bourgeois self-indulgence as some may think, it is the real world.

I also want to examine the pressure that people are subjected to get them to do what they don’t want to do, or not do what they should. It happens today all too often in the private sector as well as the public sector.

This is a pivotal issue in my play