Presenters: Áine Lynch, National Parents Council & Leah O'Toole, Maynooth University

This seminar will give participants an opportunity to engage with the many Elements of working in partnership with parents. We will explore the impact of partnership work on outcomes for children, the experience of partnership through and post COVID and examine evidence based strategies that work to support partnerships.


AineLynchÁine Lynch

Áine started her career as a trainee accountant, then changed direction and spent the following eight years undertaking a nursing career as a general and paediatric nurse. After nursing Aine went back to fulltime education for a number of years. Following her third-level education Áine worked for two years in the area of residential child and adolescent psychiatry following which she went on to work for the ISPCC as the Childline Manager. She finished nine years with the ISPCC as the Director of Services, and in August 2007 was appointed CEO of the National Parents Council Primary (NPC).

In her role as CEO in the NPC Áine was appointed to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) by the Minister for Education and Skills; served on the Board of the Children’s Rights Alliance and was appointed to the Teaching Council in April 2016 and served on the first fitness-to-teach hearing panel.

Áine has served on a number of Department of Education and Skill’s committees, including the National Advisory Group for School Self Evaluation, the Advisory Committee on Traveller Education and the Child Protection Review Committee. Áine sits on the Internet Safety Advisory Committee (ISAC) which advises the Office for Internet Safety/Department of Justice & Equality. Outside of Ireland Áine represents NPC on the European Parents’ Association.

During Áine’s long career working with children and families she has held a child centred and children’s rights approach at the core of her practice and believes that working in partnership with children and young people is essential.


LeahOTooleDr. Leah O'Toole 

Dr Leah O’Toole is Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education in the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education, Maynooth University. Her doctoral study investigated parental involvement in children’s education, and some recent research projects include Parental Involvement, Engagement and Partnership in Children’s Education in the Primary Years (NCCA / NPC), Evaluation of Partnership Schools Ireland (NPC), Consultation with Babies, Toddlers and Young Children to inform update of Aistear (NCCA), and THRIECE (Teaching for Holistic, Relational and Inclusive Early Childhood Education – Erasmus+). She is co-author of Introducing Bronfenbrenner: A Guide for Practitioners and Students in Early Years Education, and her most recent book is Supporting positive behaviour in early childhood settings and primary schools: Relationships, reciprocity and reflective practice. She has also authored a wide range of book chapters and journal articles, and the defining theme of her work is the crucial nature of relationships for learning and development in early childhood and beyond.


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