Past Events

JMB Education Conference 2019


Wednesday 7 August 2019

JMB Education Conference 2019

Unlocking Potential: Support for All, Some and Few in the Secondary School. Inclusion - Intervention - Innovation

Event date: 19/09/2019 Export event

The aim of our Conference this year was to offer peer and specialist-delivered workshops on emerging developments in special needs education as well as offering opportunities for you to interact with policy makers, practitioners, specialists, support services and relevant commercial enterprises.

We intended to leave our participants – principals, chairpersons, deputy principals, SENCOs and teachers – with greater clarity around policy, practice and possibilities for inclusive and innovative teaching and learning for all our students.


  • Professor Tim O’Brien,  Senior Visiting Fellow in Psychology and Human Development at UCL Institute of Education
  • Dr Johanna Fitzgerald, Lecturer at Mary Immaculate College with a particular interest in the role of Special Educational Needs Coordinators, teacher professional learning, and inclusive and special education


Keynote Speakers

Professor Tim O'BrienProfessor Tim O’Brien is Senior Visiting Fellow in Psychology and Human Development at UCL Institute of Education and also a fellow of The UCL Centre for Inclusive Education.

Tim has written extensively in the field of SEN, inclusion and psychology. His first book was about behaviour and was published in 1998. His most recent book is about the mind and was published in 2016. He has also co-written, edited and contributed to books. Tim is a member of the UK Department for Education Expert Advisory Group on Teacher Wellbeing. He designed and led the Teacher Wellbeing programme that took place in government-identified ‘opportunity areas’ across the UK.

Tim taught and held senior positions in mainstream and special education and was involved in leading a special school out of a ‘failing’ category to become an ‘outstanding’ school. He has won awards for his work in the field of emotional and behavioural needs.


Dr Johanna Fitzgerald

Dr Johanna Fitzgerald is Head of Educational Psychology, Inclusive and Special Education in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. She lectures across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Inclusive and Special Education in Mary Immaculate College and supervises postgraduate research. She worked as a post-primary teacher, SENCO and Special Education Teacher for a number of years, both in Ireland and the UK. She also worked with the Special Education Support Service (SESS) as an Assistant National Coordinator. She is involved with a number of research and knowledge exchange projects with both the Joint Managerial Body and the Education and Training Board of Ireland and provides CPD to post-primary schools. She coordinates and chairs the MIC SENCO Forum, a professional learning network for special educational needs coordinators in post-primary schools in Munster. She is Chairperson of the JMB Special Educational Needs Advisory Group. Current research interests include leadership in education, with a particular emphasis on developing the role of Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) as strategic leaders; teacher professional learning; and inclusive and special education.


Please note that each workshop will be presented twice, morning and afternoon, so if your chosen workshop is closed due to being booked-out, please check the alternative presentation on the schedule.


Leadership for Inclusion:

Mr. Joe Lynch, Psychotherapist, educationalist and former SENCO

  • The Special Education Agenda for Principals, Deputies and SENCOs
  • Achieving Whole-School Awareness and Action
  • The Leadership Mind-Set

The New Model of SEN Evaluation:

Ms. Shirley Murphy, Senior SEN Inspector

  • Policy and Process
  • Your Inspectors’ Expectations
  • Supporting Positive Change

Progression and Employment:

Ms. Catherine Kelly, Director of WALK

  • Considering Post-school Destinations for Students with SEN
  • What Happens When Students Reach 18?
  • Emerging Learning and Employment Options

Supporting Students with Autism:

Dr Patsy Daly, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and
Dr Fiona McCaffrey, Director of Research, Middletown Centre for Autism

  • Maximising Social and Educational Experience and Outcomes
  • Managing anxiety in young people with ASD
  • Towards Inclusive Language and Universal Design

Students in Crisis – Working with Mental Health Professionals:

Dr Aileen Murtagh, Assistant Medical Director 
with Special Responsibility for Adolescent 
Mental Health Services & Consultant Child & Adolescent 
Psychiatrist, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Dublin
  • Mental Health Difficulties in the Classroom
  • Referral Criteria and Service Pathways
  • CAMHS Service Provision

Succeeding with Assistive Technologies:

Mr. James Northridge, Founder and CEO, UrAbility

  • Technology to Support Universal Engagement & Inclusion
  • Technology Tools to Empower Good Teaching for All
  • Insights on how Technology can Enhance Learning for Free!

What Should SENCOs Do?!

Ms. Davina Walsh, CBS Sexton St., Limerick and
Ms. Deirdre Bourke, Scoil Pól, Kilfinane

  • Two Current Co-ordinators Share ‘What Works’ for Their Schools
  • Managing Expanding Demands
  • Creating an Effective Team & Engaging the Whole Staff

Providing for English Language and SEN Support:

Ms. Colette Kearney and
Ms. Narrell Byrne, Mount Sion CBS, Waterford

  • Strategies for meaningful inclusion in teaching
  • Helping EAL students navigate curricular and social landscapes
  • Working with parents and teachers

Your Regional NCSE Team:

Mr. Gerard Hogan, SENO, NCSE Galway

  • Working in Partnership with your SENO, Visiting Teachers and Advisors
  • How to Engage your Regional NCSE Team
  • Emerging Policy on SNAs and Therapeutic Supports


Documents to download

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