NABMSE Annual Conference and AGM 2018

18th & 19th October | Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

Changes and Challenges

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.

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.


Fergus Finlay

CEO – Barnardos

Fergus Finlay is a leading children’s rights campaigner. He is CEO of Barnardos, a children’s charity dedicated to working with vulnerable children and their families in Ireland. In his role as CEO, Mr Finlay brings together a variety of services to respond to the needs of children who are at risk or who are experiencing difficult times by providing practical and professional support. Mr Finlay campaigns to improve laws, policies and procedures across all areas that affect children’s lives including education, health, child protection, poverty and housing. Mr Finlay has worked as an advisor to the Labour Party, and to three Governments. He has written four books and writes a weekly column for the Irish Examiner. In the roles of journalist, lobbyist, strategist, advisor and leader, Mr Finlay advocates for the rights of children, seeking to redress inequalities and to ensure educational opportunities and supports are provided to children and young people living in poverty. He has also been a life-long advocate for the rights of people with a disability.

Louise McNamara

Director Financial Services Support Unit

Louise is a Chartered Accountant who previously worked in the private sector. She joined the Financial Support Services Unit as FSSU Accountant in September 2007. In September 2013, she became Director of the FSSU. In this role she will lead the FSSU Team in continuing to provide financial management support to all schools in the Voluntary sector. Louise’s presentation will give the opportunity for NABMSE members to become familiar with this new service for special schools and mainstream primary schools.

Nuala Ward

Director of Investigations, Office of the Ombudsman for Children

Nuala has over twenty years’ experience working in children’s services in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. Before taking on the role of Director of Investigations with the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, she was involved in the inspection and regulation of
services provided to children by Government bodies and other agencies. This experience, alongside her qualifications in social work and psychology, guides her in the management of complaints made by or on behalf of children against public bodies including
primary and post primary schools. Nuala has developed a detailed understanding of the complexities in making fair and impartial decisions in a child centred manner.


Dolores McDonagh


Dolores McDonagh is the Director of the Centre for Special Education Needs, Inclusion and Diversity (CSENID) in St. Angela’s College Sligo; Lecturer in Special Education; Pathway Leader for Masters Programmes in Special Education.
Her research interests include:
• Bus Transport Project – Development of National Training Programme for Bus Escorts
• Altered Provision Project – an alternative model of provision of support for students with Emotional Disturbance/Behaviour Disorder (EBD) in Post-Primary Schools
• Investigating the training needs of SNAs in the Border, Midland and Western region
• Teachers’ Perspectives on the Practicum element of the Post-Graduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs (Autism Spectrum Disorders)
• Reconceptualising school placement as part of ITE in Ireland, North and
South: the role of specialist school placement.
This presentation will focus on the proposed Bus Escort Training programme.

Margaret Flood is the SEN Education Officer for the NCCA since September 2017. She has 19 years’ experience working in the area of inclusive and special education; including teaching, teacher CPD, policy development and curriculum design.

Jenn Ewing has worked with children with additional needs for 10 years and has specialised in teaching children with severe-profound intellectual needs for the last 4 years. She currently teaches a class of 5 children with severe-profound intellectual disabilities and additional medical needs in Carmona School, Glenageary. Jenn participated in a school trial of the Level 1 Learning Programme in 2017-2018, submitting a case study of the school’s findings.

This presentation will introduce attendees to the L1LPs; it’s links with the junior and senior cycle principles, the PLUs, Short Courses and the routes students can take. It will give schools information on the L1LPs which will be available to schools from September 2018. It is a student centred programme for students who have learning disabilities in the low moderate to severe and profound range of ability. It consists of six Priority Learning Units and two Short Courses and is broadly aligned with Level 1 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Aine Lynch


Áine Lynch was appointed CEO of the National Parents Council Primary (NPC) in August 2007 after a varied career in Accounting, Nursing and Director of Services of ISPCC. She is a member of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), Internet Safety Committee, numerous Department of Education and Skills committees and has served on the Board of the Children’s Rights Alliance. Áine was appointed to the Teaching Council in April 2016 and served on the first fitness-to-teach hearing panel. In December 2017, she was awarded a Masters in Executive Leadership by the University of Ulster. Áine passionately believes all decisions in schools should be child centred and that this will be best achieved by fostering positive relationships between parents and schools, and by ensuring the voice of the child is also included.

This presentation will focus on the Partnership Schools Initiative where the whole school community plans and works in partnership on agreed activities with the objective of achieving better outcomes for children.

Margaret Gorman

Head of Education, Eversheds Sutherland

Margaret Gorman heads up Eversheds Education Group and advises educational institutions at first, second and third level on all aspects of education law. She has a unique client perspective on legal and HR concerns facing those in the education sector as she was formerly Assistant
General Secretary of CPSMA. Margaret acts for boards of management, colleges, patrons, trustees, insurers, management bodies and a host of other education providers on contentious and non-contentious matters. She advises them in relation to employment, HR and IR issues as well as disciplinary, grievance and complaints procedures. She drafts contracts of employment, handbooks and an extensive number of education related policies. She has in-depth experience of dealing with statutory bodies including the Child & Family Agency and Ombudsman for Children and is an expert in Child Protection. Margaret is a litigator with many years’ experience of complex court proceedings including the High Court, dismissal cases before Rights Commissioners and the Employment Appeals Tribunal, Circuit Court and Equality cases. Margaret also works in Eversheds Sutherland’s Data Protection Group and advises clients on data protection issues.

In her presentation, Margaret will outline the necessary recommendations that schools should be considering to ensure full compliance with the new legislation in advance of enrolments for the next school year and avoid compliance sanctions.

Thursday 18th October 2018: 6.30pm – 8.30pm NABMSE AGM

Running Order: Friday 19th October 2018

8.30amRegistration, Tea/Coffee
9.00amIntroduction and Welcome by Chairperson
9.15amKeynote Address
Fergus Finlay, CEO, Barnardos
9.35amFundamentals of Budgeting for Schools
Louise McNamara, Director, FSSU
10.05amWhat does a Child Centred Approach to Complaint
Handling Look Like?
Nuala Ward, Director of Investigations,
Office of the Ombudsman for Children

Dolores McDonagh, Director CSENID,
St. Angela’s College, Sligo

co-presented by Margaret Flood, NCCA &
Jenn Ewing, Carmona School, Dublin

Áine Lynch, National Parents Council & Partnership School

1.30pmHow will your School Prepare for the New Enrolment
Margaret Gorman, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland
3.30pm Questions and Answers
3.45pmClose of Conference