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Virtual SEN Conference - Saturday 13 November 2021

Virtual Region 3 SEN Conference - Unlocking Policy, Practice and Potential

Date: Saturday, 13th November 2021

Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m



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Detailed outline of the event:


Lorraine O'Gorman, Director of Co. Wexford Education Centre.


Literacy is probably the most fundamental and crucial part of education and life-long learning.  Without is, all other learning is impossible.  To this end, the Enabling Transitions AT Programme is going to focus on:

  • Rationale behind using Literacy Support Software
  • Emphasis on Speech to Text and Text to Speech Software.
  • Introduction to Assistive Technology literacy support on laptops/PC’s and Phones.
  • Focus is mainly on Freeware
  • Q&A Session

Presenter - Angela Costelloe 

Disability Officer, IT Carlow. Working at third level with students with Disabilities for over 10 years, with particular interest in Assistive Technology. Also involved in post-primary Assistive Technology support through the SOAR - PATH 3 project, since 2019.


Josepha Madigan is a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin-Rathdown Constituency. She was appointed as Minister of State with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion on July 1st 2020.

She previously served as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (November 2017-June 2020).

Following her election to the Dáil for the first time in 2016, Josepha was appointed to the Fine Gael Government Formation negotiation team by former-Taoiseach Enda Kenny. She served on the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee, the Future of Healthcare Committee, and was the Chairperson of the Budgetary Oversight Committee.

She was a Fine Gael Councillor for the Stillorgan Ward on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, from May 2014 until her election as a T.D.

Josepha practiced as a solicitor for twenty years. She won Family Lawyer of the year at the Irish Law Awards 2014. She is also an author of a handbook for family lawyers and their clients entitled “Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Ireland” (Jordan Publishing, 2012).


In this session, the inspectors will outline the key features of both SEN inspection models and how they operate in schools. They will outline some of the key findings and challenges that the evaluations are revealing about SEN provision in primary and post-primary schools. The session will also explore how schools could address these challenges. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss the inspection approaches and to seek further advice on supporting learners with special educational needs (SEN).

Presenters - Eamon Clavin & Susan White

Eamon Clavin - Eamon Clavin is a Divisional Inspector in the Department of Education of Skills. He is attached to the Inspectorate’s Teacher Education and Inclusion Evaluation and Policy Support Unit. He has a particular interest in Special Education, DEIS and Traveller Education. Eamon also carries out a range of evaluation and advisory work in mainstream and special schools and special care units. Eamon represents the Department of Education on the NCSE Council and also on the Board of the Oberstown Children Detention Campus. Prior to his appointment to the Inspectorate, Eamon was a teaching Principal in primary schools in Meath and Cavan.

Susan White - Susan White is a Post Primary Inspector in the Department of Education. With a background in the teaching of English, Maths and Music, Susan worked for many years as a Special Education Coordinator in post primary schools and training centres in Australia and in Ireland. Susan’s current evaluation and advisory work extends to mainstream schools, special schools and special care units. She also carries out link work with the School’s Excellence Fund project.



Student Support Planning for Students with SEN (Primary and Post Primary)

A practical talk looking at how to approach Student Support planning for students with SEN. We will look at the planning process and how to set SMART targets in the planning to make them as practical and user friendly as possible with targets that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed and meet the specific needs of the students we teach.

Presenter  - Annette Ormond, Grad Dip. SEN, M.Ed ASN.

Annette is a primary teacher working in schools for the past seventeen years. She is a passionate lifelong learner and is currently completing a Masters in Educational Leadership in Waterford Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in psychology with the Open University. She has completed many different courses in various areas about educating children with Special Educational Needs and she has significant and varied experience in the area. She believes wholeheartedly in the difference that can be made in the lives of people with many additional needs through our understanding and our knowledge. She worked with the Dyslexia Association of Ireland for eight years and was awarded the IATSE Testimonial and Award for excellence in Support Teaching in 2017 when studying in University College Dublin. Most recently Annette has started as a tutor on the SNA course with University College Dublin and as a tutor with Hibernia College on the Inclusion and Diversity module.

Strategies for Teaching Students with Dyslexia at Post Primary level

Students with dyslexia may struggle to achieve their potential at second level.  However there are strategies which can help them succeed.  This presentation looks at how dyslexia affects the student at second level and the practical school and classroom interventions that support such students.  

Although the course deals in particular with dyslexia, many of the strategies and resources will also help when working with students with other specific learning difficulties such as Dyspraxia and Autistic Spectrum.    


  • Dyslexia and how it affects students at second level
  • Classroom teaching and learning strategies
  • Resources, including subject specific resources.

Presenter   - Wyn McCormack

Wyn McCormack worked as guidance counsellor and special education teacher as well as being the parent of sons with dyslexia.  She has designed and presented courses on dyslexia for teachers, parents and students since 1996.   She is the author of the Factsheets on Dyslexia at Second Level (2014 and updated annually), Lost for Words 3rd Ed. 2007, and co-author of Dyslexia, an Irish Perspective 2nd Ed 2010.

Special Schools at the Crossroads of Inclusion

A philosophy of inclusion, based on the fundamental principles of human rights and equal opportunities for all, has become central to the education of students with special educational needs (SEN) in an inclusive education system, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) (UN 2006). However, the role of the special school, in terms of its value and purpose in an inclusive education system, is currently debated in international policy, which fundamentally supports the practice of inclusion in mainstream school settings. This presentation, based on a PhD study, will explore the voice of the special school principal in the dialogue on inclusive education in Ireland. 

Presenter - Dr. Catherine Merrigan

Dr. Catherine Merrigan has worked in the area of inclusive and special education for 22 years, as a special school teacher at Marino School, Bray, Co. Wicklow, and as a lecturer, academic supervisor and programme director at the School of Education, University College Dublin. She completed her PhD in Education at the School of Education, UCD, examining the emerging role of the special school in an inclusive education system.

Leading SEN Provision in Mainstream Primary Schools

This presentation will explore the meaning of inclusion and set the context for the implementation of the revised model of SEN provision in 2017. The Continuum of Support Framework will be explored along with the actions involved in implementing programmes of support for pupils with disabilities. The collaborative planning, implementation, monitoring and review of Student Support Plans will be examined, with models of provision including in-class support approaches, being discussed. 

Presenter - Dr. Celia Walsh

Dr. Celia Walsh is a former SET, Primary Principal & Director of Waterford Teachers Centre. She completed her M St in SEN in Trinity College, while her Doctoral research at Dublin City University examined the leadership and management of SEN provision in mainstream primary schools. She lectures part-time in educational leadership at the University of Limerick, while also providing online CPD in SEN through the Education Centre network and facilitating school staffs in developing effective SEN policy and practice. Her areas of educational interest include teacher professional networks, promoting school inclusion and developing effective school leadership.

How can teachers use music therapy strategies to support the social and emotional challenges facing a child with ASD integrating into a mainstream classroom? (Primary)

The aim of this dissertation is to establish how teachers can use music therapy to support the emotional and social challenges facing a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) integrating into a mainstream classroom.

Presenter - Niamh O’ Neill

Niamh O’ Neill is a newly qualified teacher from Marino Institute of Education and is at present working in SET. This research came out of her lifelong interest in music and her placement in special education.

13:00-14:00 pm NEPS The Continuum of Support and closing remarks

In this session Theresa will talk about the Department of Education Continuum of support, its underpinnings and how it can be helpful to teachers in supporting their work.

Presenter - Dr. Theresa Tierney

Dr. Theresa Tierney is a Senior Educational Psychologist in NEPS, Wexford.


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