NABMSE Annual Conference and AGM 2019

10th & 11th October | Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath



Creating A Brighter Future Together

In hosting this conference, it is NABMSE’s intention to give Boards of Management information on the many changes and initiatives in the education sector to assist them in the running of their schools

Who should attend

The Conference is open to any member of a Board of Management from special and mainstream primary and post primary schools interested in getting the most up-to-date information for their school.

To reserve your place, you must register in advance. Places are limited. There is no fee for members to attend. However, a fee of €50 per school applies to non-members.

Please contact the office at 045 533753 for further details.

The conference is hosted by NABMSE and supported by the Teacher Education section of the Department of Education and Skills.


Joe Mc Hugh

Minster for Education and Skills

Joe McHugh TD is Minister for Education and Skills. He previously served as Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Culture with responsibility for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands up to October 2018. He was previously appointedas Co-Chairperson of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly in July 2011. InJuly 2012 Deputy McHugh was elected as Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Deputy McHugh was re-elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD for Donegal in 2016. Joe was educated at Umlagh NS and at the Loreto Convent, Milford. He graduated from St Patrick’s College Maynooth (NUI) with an honours degree in Economics and Sociology in 1992 and subsequently with a Higher Diploma in Education in 1993. He was a geography and maths teacher at Loreto Convent in Letterkenny from 1993-95 and taught A-level economics in Dubai in 1995- 96. He worked as a Community Youth Worker in Glenwood, Letterkenny from 1996-1999. Joe became a Fine Gael public representative in June 1999 when he was elected to represent the Milford electoral area on Donegal County Council. Among his work was to propose the establishment of Donegal Youth Council, which led to the first democratically-elected youth forum in Ireland. He served as Chair of the European Region Network for the Application of Communications Technology, where he placed emphasis on broadband provision in border areas. He was elected to Seanad Éireann in 2002 and was Fine Gael Seanad spokesman on Community, Rural, Gaeltacht and Marine Affairs from 2002-2007. He previously served as Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development. Joe is married to Olwyn Enright and they have three children and live in Claggan, Carrigart.

Professor Emer Ring

Mary Immaculate College

Prof. Emer Ring is Dean of Early Childhood and Teacher Education at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland. Emer leads and manages the Faculty of Education, which is one of the largest education faculties in Ireland, providing a wide range of teacher education programmes from early childhood to post-primary level, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Almost forty per cent of all the state-funded primary teachers in Ireland are educated at Mary Immaculate College, which is an acknowledged centre of excellence, both nationally and internationally. Emer previously worked as a primary mainstream class teacher, teacher of children with additional needs and a senior inspector with the Department of Education and Skills in Ireland. In her work with the Inspectorate, in addition to school inspection and probationary work with teachers, Emer was involved in a wide range of research projects focused on special education provision. She has presented widely at conferences internationally and has been involved in education projects in Moldova, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, India and Mexico. Emer has presented and published widely in the area of early childhood and primary education and is co-editor and author of the recently published ‘Autism from the Inside Out: A Handbook for Parents, Early Childhood, Primary, Post-Primary and Special School Settings’ published recently by Peter Lang, Oxford. Emer is currently joint-principal investigator on the University College Cork (UCC) and MIC research team evaluating the inschool therapy demonstration project across early years, primary, postprimary and special school settings commissioned by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). Emer has a strong belief in the transformative power of education for society and the central role of high-quality teacher education in creating a more just and equitable world.

Emer’s presentation, ‘Reflections on our Journey from Exclusion to Inclusion and Beyond’ will chart the journey of the education system in Ireland from the foundation of the National School System in 1831 and explore the central role of special schools in this journey. Moving beyond the historical context, Emer will interrogate the contribution of recent policy developments to creating a school system focused on enabling all children to flourish.

Dr. Niall Muldoon

Ombudsman for Children

Dr Niall Muldoon is Ireland’s second Ombudsman for Children. Niall, who is a clinical and counselling psychologist and was previously Director of Investigations at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO), was appointed by President Michael D Higgins on February 17th 2015. The OCO is an independent Office that investigates complaints about services provided to children by public organisations. As Ombudsman for Children Niall has focused on generating an Ireland where children and young people are actively heard, particularly those who are most vulnerable. During his tenure the OCO has published special topic reports on Education, Mental Health, Scoliosis, School Transport, as well as investigations highlighting cases where children’s rights were not respected in the provision of disability supports, in the care system and Housing. Working with others, Niall has contributed to the introduction of a pilot co-location service for young people who have suffered sexual abuse and bringing an end to the detention of young people being held in adult prisons. The Office has carried out consultations with young people availing of Ireland’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), those in Ireland’s children’s hospitals, young people living in Family Hubs and young people affected by Brexit. The Office has developed resources to support other organisations to promote children’s rights including A Guide to Child Centred Complaint Handling and Good Practice for Children’s Participation in Decision Making.

Dr. Muldoon’s presentation will examine the rights of children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs and how these have progressed in the past fifty years. He will explore progress needed in the future especially in the context of the education system and access to education.


Dr. Susan Gibney

Director, Blackrock Education Centre

Dr Susan Gibney is currently Director of Blackrock Education Centre, on secondment from her role as Principal Teacher of Queen of Angels PS, Sandyford, Dublin. On her appointment as Principal in Queen of Angels PS in 2008, Susan looked for an intervention that would make a difference in her school by seeking to remove the barriers to learning, and helping her teachers to more successfully engage their children in their teaching and learning. Thus began her interest in, and her passion for, nurture and nurturing interventions.

Susan began her career as a primary school teacher and has taught in a number of schools in Dublin, London and the Sultanate of Oman. Susan’s PhD explores another passion of hers – parental involvement – and is entitled ‘Parental Involvement in Primary Education – Rhetoric or Reality’.

Susan has worked closely with NurtureUK over the last two years and has overseen the growth of nurture interventions in schools in Ireland. Susan has been appointed NurtureUK’s Ambassador for Nurture in Ireland and, in collaboration with the network of 21 Education Support Centres in Ireland (ESCI), has co-ordinated and delivered professional development on nurture for schools all over Ireland. She is currently working with UCD to develop an innovative Modular Masters Programme and with Dr. Seaneen Sloan in UCD, to conduct research on Nurture Groups in Ireland.

Susan is an associate member of the Leadership Team in PDST facilitating courses for newly-appointed principals and deputy principals. She is also an associate member of CSL facilitating training for experienced principals to train as mentors for newly appointed principals.

Susan’s presentation will explain the concept of Nurture Groups and Nurturing schools which are founded on evidence-based practices and offer short-term, inclusive, focused interventions that work in the long term. Nurture groups support young people in all settings. Nurturing Schools are an extension of the principles of Nurture Groups into the whole school, where all children are nurtured by all staff.

Ian O Herlihy

Head of Education Unit, Mason, Hayes and Curran

Ian is a Partner and Head of Education Unit. With over 30 years’ experience Ian is one of Ireland’s foremost employment law practitioners, particularly well
known for his market-leading practice in the education sector.

Ian advises educational institutions from primary level through to third level, acting for all the education management organisations in the primary and secondary sectors and for several hundred individual education institutions at primary, secondary and third level.

Ian is one of the most renowned litigators in the Irish legal community with extensive experience in employment related civil actions. He has acted in many leading employment cases in recent years before the High Court and Supreme Court. He regularly appears before the Circuit Court, the Employment Appeals Tribunal, the Labour Court and the Equality Tribunal. Ian is a recognised and respected thought leader in his field. He is a member of the Education Lawyers
Association (UK) and regularly lectures on employment law and educational law throughout the education sector. He provides training courses and delivers seminars on a range of employment law and education law issues.

This presentation will focus on answering the common legal issues
encountered by schools. Member schools have been invited to submit these to the NABMSE office in advance.

Thursday 10th October 2019: 6.30pm – 8.30pm NABMSE AGM

Running Order: Friday 11th October 2019

8.30amRegistration, Tea/Coffee
9.00amIntroduction and Welcome by Chairperson
9.15amNABMSE over the years (Video)
9.25amMinisterial Address
Mr. Joe McHugh, T.D. Minster for Education and Skills
9.45amReflections on our Journey from Exclusion to Inclusion and Beyond
Professor Emer Ring, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick
10.15amNew developments for Boards:

• Nurturing Schools
Dr. Susan Gibney, Director, Blackrock Education Centre
• Update on Behaviour Guidelines
Department of Education and Skills

11.30amChildrens Rights
Dr. Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children
12 noonPanel Discussion / Questions and Answers
1.30pmNABMSE Data Protection Services
Ms. Noeline Kavanagh, Data Protection Officer
1.40pmLegal Issues for Boards of Management
Mr. Ian O’Herlihy, Partner, Mason, Hayes and Curran
3.30pm Questions and Answers
3.45pmClose of Conference