Suzanne McCanney BW smallSuzanne McCanney is the Specialist Lead for Autism in the NCSE. Leading the practice autism practice in the NCSE. She has been in this role since 2020.

With a vision of creating educational landscapes that embrace neurodiversity, Suzanne, has accumulated a wealth of experience over 15 years in roles dedicated to special education. Through roles in Midldletown Centre for Autism and SESS, she honed her expertise in developing specialised support programmes, fostering inclusive classrooms, and collaborating with multidisciplinary teams to design personalised learning pathways.

At the heart of Suzanne's approach lies a deep respect for each individual's unique journey. Her philosophy centres on the belief that every person, regardless of their abilities, deserves a chance to learn and grow in an environment that celebrates their strengths and supports their challenges. By fostering a culture of empathy, patience, and continuous learning, Suzanne has positively impacted the lives of students, families, and educators.

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DRAFT Schedule 

(please note this is subject to change)

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Wednesday, November 15th 
08:00 - 18:00       Event Registration & Education Expo
09.30 - 10.30 Promoting Health & Wellbeing - stories from School
Lorraine Dempsey, Enda McGorman & Rachel Harper 
10.30 - 11.00 Education Expo & Refreshments 
11.00 - 13.00 Concurrent Seminars
12.30 - 14.30 Lunch & Education Expo
15.00 - 16.45 Plenary Session I 
Conference Opening - St. Joseph's PS Choir, Tipperary
Páiric Clerkin, IPPN CEO
Patricia Mannix McNamara (UL)
16.45 - 18.45 Education Expo 
17.45 - 18.45 Drinks Reception (available in Expo)
18.45 - 21.30 Dinner 
Thursday, November 16th
08.00- 09.00 Registration & Expo Viewing 
09.00 - 10.30 Plenary Session II
Marie Gleeson
Tomás Ó Ruairic, Department of Education 
10.30 - 11.00 Education Expo & Refreshments 
11.00 - 13.00 Concurrent Seminars
12.30 - 14.30 Lunch & Education Expo  
14.30 - 15.00  Passport Giveaway 
15.00 - 16.45 Pathways to Sustainable Leadership 
19.45 Conference Dinner 
Friday, November 17th 
10.30 - 12.00

Plenary Session III
Louise Tobin, IPPN President 
Bernie McNally, Secretary General, Department of Education
Conference Closing - Deirdre Kelly, IPPN President-Elect

12.00 - 13.30  Lunch 


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Pathways to Sustainable Leadership
Presenters: Rachel Doogue, Mary Pyne & Hannah Carney

The Leadership Pathways format has been reimagined. At the Principals’ Conference 2023 Pathways to Sustainable Leadership session, attendees will participate in and contribute to a ‘think tank’ to capture the practical ways in which school leaders are managing to maintain a focus on their core purpose and share leadership effectively. The wisdom of the collective will inform our practice as individuals, which has the potential to be hugely impactful.

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Caroline QuinnCaroline Quinn
Caroline Quinn has been in the teaching profession for 41 years and is a recently retired Principal at Our Lady of Good Counsel GNS in Johnstown, Killiney 2006-2022. This mainstream school has 450 pupils and three classes for ASD pupils since 2011.

Caroline served on the national Primary Curriculum Support Team 1999-2003 providing in-service training to schools on several aspects of the Primary Curriculum. She served as Lecturer in Education in the Marino Institute of Education in the areas of Literacy and Drama Education from 2003-2006, and is currently working there part-time. Caroline has delivered in-service in Austria and Luxembourg, through her work as Co-Ordinator at local and national level with the “Write-a-Book” Project.

Caroline has been a member of the IPPN National Council and is currently serving on the IPPN Leadership Support Team, with a particular interest in inclusive and special education in primary schools.
Caroline is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education since 2015 and served as Chairperson 2020-2021.

DOWNLOAD New IPPN Events App today

As part of our commitment to becoming a more sustainable organisation and to increase efficiency and management of Conference and Expo, IPPN is excited to announce the development of our Events App which will be used for all future events. This app can be downloaded from your AppStore.

Details included in the app will replace previously printed material such as individual schedules, maps, exhibitor guide etc. Additionally it includes a ‘Social Wall’ section which will enable you to contact other attendees. We encourage all members to download the app now and familiarise yourself with the content.


Briefing Day App Image   

KathrynCorbett BW2021Kathryn Corbett

Dr. Kathryn Corbett is currently principal of Bishop Galvin NS, a large senior primary school in Templeogue, Dublin. She is a member of the IPPN Board of Directors. Previous to this, she was seconded to the National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT) as a Regional Development Officer. She also worked as Professional Learning Officer, a member of the senior management team with the Teaching Council.
Kathryn completed her M.Ed. with Maynooth University, and in 2020 was awarded a PhD from UL, with her research on teachers’ professional learning portfolios. She also has a Diploma in Counselling Skills. She has worked as an occasional lecturer on the B.Ed. programme with Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education in Maynooth University, and on the Post Graduate Diploma for School Leadership (PDSL) with University of Limerick. She recently co-founded the WILL (Women In Learning & Leadership) Network, to support aspiring and inspiring female leaders across all sectors in education.



Catherine Carragher
Catherine is Principal in Scoil Mochua, a large vertical primary school in Celbridge, Co Kildare. A native of Dublin, Catherine graduated from Trinity College in 1993 with a degree in Computer Science, Linguistics and French. She worked in the IT sector as a programmer in AIB Bank Centre and as an IT Consultant for US firm Cambridge Technology Partners and ESB HQ in Dublin 2. A change of career beckoned when Catherine followed her heart into teaching. She completed the Post-Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching in St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, and started her teaching career in Scoil Mochua in 2002.

Catherine completed her Post-Graduate Diploma in School Leadership in Maynooth University in 2012. Having worked as an Associate for the National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT) for a year, she was seconded to the NIPT as a Regional Development Officer from 2013 to 2016. During this time, she worked as part of a dynamic, innovative team that led the transformation of the mentoring and induction process for Newly Qualified Teachers throughout the country. Catherine developed and delivered training for principals and school teams nationwide, and supported countless schools and NQTs through school visits, Education Centre workshops and the provision of online material. 

Catherine returned to Scoil Mochua in 2016 to take up the role of Principal. She is supported by a hard-working, enthusiastic Leadership and Management team, an active and effective Parents’ Association, and a Board of Management with a keen interest in and loyalty to the school. The school currently has a teaching staff of 37, and almost 700 pupils.


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Seminar Synopsis

As a busy school Principal, you manage a wide range of areas in your school. While ICT and technical support are important areas, they are still just one of the many priorities under your responsibility. Given the range of ICT options from different companies, and the wide range of views from ‘experts’, it can be difficult to determine how to select, procure, deploy and maintain ICT to support teaching and learning in your school. The whole process can be demanding, time-consuming and stressful.

This seminar will focus on practical ways of assisting you as a school principal to review the areas of ICT infrastructure and technical support, provide clarity and advice in a number of key areas, and hopefully reduce the amount of time and stress involved in managing these areas in your school.

Seminar attendees will also have an opportunity to take our 'ICT Infrastructure Stress Test'.


About Deirdre 
Deirdre is Project Officer for ICT Infrastructure with PDST Technology in Education, where she provides information and advice on how fit-for-purpose ICT’s can improve schools’ ICT infrastructure / whole-school planning to support teaching and learning. This includes a wide range of technologies such as computing devices, presentation technologies, networking solutions - including Wi-Fi, servers, cloud-based applications, printing, technical support advice and other technologies relevant to schools. Deirdre worked for many years in a number of multi-national organisations, providing technical support and in IS administration roles. She subsequently worked in both primary and post-primary schools as an ICT co-ordinator as well as working as an ICT Advisor for the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools.


About Tom  
Tom is National Coordinator for Technology Integration in PDST Technology in Education,, and previously in the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE). Tom has worked in a number of technical roles in Ireland, Canada, and the UK. He provides advice and support to schools on ICT infrastructure and technical support to help achieve improved learning outcomes. He also works on the Schools Broadband Programme in collaboration with the DES and HEAnet.


Title    Facilitators    Synopsis
A partnership approach to school leadership    Ann Lynskey & Aoife O’Connor   

Ann and Aoife will explore the elements of effective partnership and how their co-leadership approach works in practice as Principal and Deputy Principal of Tierneevin NS

Developing a Growth Mindset in Primary Schools  

Edelle O’Donovan, 
Sinead O’Doherty, Catherine Blackburn & Muireann Sadlier.

  A Growth Mindset encourages us to focus on the process rather than the end result, to try, fail, learn from our mistakes and believe that our talents are always improving. In this seminar we will outline the benefits and strategies to develop Growth Mindset among primary school children from a school leader’s perspective.

Effective professional relationships-the pathway to purposeful leadership


  Dr.  Joe O’Connell   This seminar will examine the best approaches to fostering effective professional relationships that cohere members of the school community around the school’s common purpose. It will review the range of relationships that require nurturing and consider best practices in restoring professional relationships that may have fractured.

Essential Law for You - Top Tips for the School Leader


Prim EdOL 

  David Ruddy, BL  

Given the increasing complexity and legislative demands on school management, knowledge of some aspects of law is essential. Your initial response to a scenario could be critical to the outcome. The seminar will address:
1. Child Safeguarding: An allegation against a parent or staff member 
2. Behaviours of concern – balancing rights
3. Data access requests and parental complaints 
4. Staff underperformance - The elephant in the room
5. What is reasonable accommodation?

From the Boiler House to Curriculum Leadership   Séamie O’Neill    The principal is responsible for the instruction provided to students in schools. This seminar will enable principals to examine their role as leaders of curriculum in their schools, through the lens of agency and curriculum.

Leading Meetings for Better Outcomes  - Transforming Meetings™ for School Leaders



  Rachel Doogue & Mary Pyne   Are you are under pressure to get through long agendas rather than achieving your purpose, collaborating to explore new ideas and taking action? Experience Transforming Meetings™ methods to improve engagement before, during and after meetings, enhance quality thinking, get quieter voices into the room, move though conflict, achieve better decision making and accountability.
Leading to Lead   Kathryn Corbett & Catherine Carragher   This workshop will explore developing leadership capacity in your school. A practical and interactive approach will be used to discuss: 
-empowering staff to take on and carry out leadership roles,
- running effective In School Leadership team meetings,
-reflecting on the development of pupil participation in your school, and
-discussing the benefits of networking  

Participants will be encouraged to share practical examples on their experience of seeking feedback, conducting collaborative reflection, and strategies for effective teamwork and motivation.

NCSE update on operational and policy developments   Helen Walsh (NCSE Head of Operations) & John Kearney (NCSE CEO)   In this session, Helen and John will provide updates on the work of NCSE in terms of operational and policy development and they will also follow up on the issues and challenges that were identified by school leaders in the seminar they facilitated at last year’s conference.

Planning for & responding to behaviours of concern

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  Sharon Healy, NCSE Behaviour Specialist   Taking account of the guidelines that are due to issue to schools - Understanding Behaviours of Concern and Responding to Crisis Situations – this session will explore how schools can better support children who experience challenge in this regard. The session will also explore what schools can do to prevent crisis situations from developing but also how to respond to such situations when they do.
Facilitating inclusive best practice   Stephanie Kelly 
NCSE Advisor
  Drawing on the experience of working with schools all around the country, this session will explore the challenge of inclusive leadership and practical ways in which active and inclusive approaches, good relationships and regulation can be developed and embedded.
Opening a Special Class - the opportunities, challenges and the joys.   Caroline Quinn   The main purpose in opening a special class is to create a positive learning environment and learning experiences for pupils within an inclusive school culture. The Inclusion Illusion challenges all of us to question whether we are an inclusive school and whether our SEN pupils are involved in success-oriented learning with meaningful learning tasks. This is our story.
Principal ResearchMeet 2023   Linda Dennehy   Principal ResearchMeet 2023 is the perfect opportunity to maximise the value of your time spent at conference. It is an opportunity to listen to your fellow principals share good practice, practical ideas and personal insights into primary education and leadership, as well as research conclusions where applicable. Each speaker will have approximately 5 minutes to speak on their given topic, so participants will leave with several examples of good practice. The session is informal but organised. You can simply relax and listen, or you may like to present!
Trauma Responsive Schools and Leadership in times of change   Marie Delaney  

There seems to be increasing numbers of children and adults in our schools affected by trauma. This seminar explores: the reasons for and the pathway towards becoming a ‘Trauma Responsive School’ ; the links with teaching, learning and behaviour ; the demands placed on school leaders and practical ways forward.

Seminar Synopsis 

The aim of this presentation is help schools compile a student support plan (SSP) for a pupil with HFA. It will include information on assessments, social skills development; learning style; NEPS problem solving process to include of a pupil with HFA in the mainstream class, and much more.


About Dr. Dunleavy

Dr Michele Dunleavy BA, PGCE (UK), PGD (Trinity), PGD (UK), M.St (SEN), D.Ed. (SEN)

Michele has a number of years’ experience teaching in a primary, special class and special school setting. Michele was seconded as an Advisor to the special education support service (SESS) .Michele also worked as a part-time and Guest lecturer in a number of College including NUIG, UCC, and Trinity College Dublin.
Michele now works as a Lecturer in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick where she lectures on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Additionally, she supervises undergraduate dissertations and Masters and Doctoral Theses.

Michele has a particular interest in autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and inclusion. She completed her Masters and Doctoral research in these areas. Michele has presented at many International ad National conferences on the topic of ASD and inclusion and continues to conduct research in the area of special education.
Michele is also a member of the National Executive Committee of the Irish Learning Support Association (ILSA) holding many positions including that of Chairperson.

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