Past Events

JMB Education Conference 2023


Wednesday 9 August 2023

JMB Education Conference 2023

Special Classes in Mainstream Secondary Schools

Event date: 15/09/2023 Export event

JMB Education Conference 2023

The aim of our Conference this year was to offer peer and specialist-delivered workshops on establishing and developing special classes at your school, 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 special education teachers – with greater clarity around policy, practice and possibilities for innovative teaching and learning for all our students.

As well as a series of relevant workshops, we had an important keynote panel discussion from

  • Mr Joe Hayes, Outgoing Chairperson, NCSE
  • Mr John Kearney, CEO, NCSE, and,
  • Dr Johanna Fitzgerald, Head of Educational Psychology, Inclusive and Special Education, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

JMB Education Conference 2023 - Programme



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.


Landmarks in Establishing a Special Class:

Ms Deirdre Bourke, NCSE
Ms Sinead McDonnell, Department of Education Planning and Building Unit;
Mr Martin McLoughlin, Principal Officer, Special Education Section;
Ms Amy O’Grady, Assistant Principal Officer, Schools’ Capital Appraisal Section

  • First steps on receiving the request from NCSE
  • Engaging your BOM, Patron and school community
  • Accessing resources for buildings, infrastructure, and furnishing

Ms Sarah Ledwidge & Ms Deirdre Bourke - Slides
Mr Martin McLoughlin - Slides


Special Class Pedagogy – Unique yet Universal:

Dr Fiona McCaffrey, Middletown Centre for Autism;
Mr Billy Redmond, Principal, North Wicklow ETSS

  • Providing for the most appropriate curriculums and differentiated teaching
  • Integrating students with mainstream classes
  • Deploying a Universal Design for Learning’ mindset

Dr Fiona McCaffrey - Slides
Mr Billy Redmond - Slides


From Establishment to Embedding:

Mr Pádhraic Gibbons, Principal, Our Lady of Mercy (OLM) Secondary School, Drimnagh;
Ms Alison Smith, AEN Coordinator, OLM;
Ms Kate Montgomery-Martin, Special Needs Assistant, OLM

  • Sharing our particular journey – from forming to norming to performing
  • What are the key success indicators to look out for?
  • Where are the ‘bear-traps’?

Slides (Members only)


Engaging Parents – Transitions, Welcomes, and Authentic Partnerships:

Mr Adam Harris, CEO, AsIAm;
Ms Zarah Doyle, Training Manager, AsIAm

  • Sharing our first-hand parent experiences, beginning with the primary to secondary transition
  • Respecting roles and boundaries – what does effective partnership look like?
  • Optimising communication and anxiety management

Slides (Members only)


Specialist Support and Development:

Ms Joan McDonald, Specialist Teacher - Posautive
Ms Suzanne McCanney, Specialist Autism Lead, NCSE

  • Needs identification in students with complex conditions
  • Tracking and recording developmental progress
  • Building agility into a bespoke curriculum

Ms Joan McDonald - Slides
Ms Suzanne McCanney - Slides


Individual and School-Wide Support and Development:

Dr Christine Chapple, NEPS;
Ms Helen Walsh, Head of Operations – Inclusion and Education Services, NCSE

  • NEPS supports for individual students, parents, and special class personnel
  • School-wide professional learning and development opportunities
  • Accessing resources and supports for school leaders, SENCOs, SETs, mainstream teachers, students, SNAs, and parents


Who can attend

Principals, Chairpersons, Deputy Principals, SENCOs, and special education teachers


€150 for one person and €130 per person thereafter

This event has passed.

All attendees must register on-line prior to attending training/events.
Payment for JMB events/training will only be accepted by credit/debit card, as with all other on-line bookings/purchases.

Cancellation Policy: Please note that refunds will only be given if cancellation is made three days before event by email to


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