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Educational Disadvantage Centre

Conference Proceedings


The Conference took place in Rome (Italy) on May 14-16, 2018.  Hosted by the Italian eTwinning National Support Service (NSS), the Conference is organized in collaboration with the eTwinning Central Support Service (CSS), EACEA, the European Commission, the Italian National Agency Erasmus+/INDIRE, and the other NSSs and PSAs participating in this event.   Paul Downes article, Developing a whole school approach for promoting inclusive systems in and around schools: some issues for eTwinning? can be found on page 21 of the Conference Proceedings HERE


Download the conference proceedings HERE

Over 300 participants attended the Joint Conference of the INTO and the Educational Disadvantage Centre, St. Patrick’s College, REVIEW OF DEIS: Poverty and Social Inclusion in Education in the College on Saturday December 5th 2015.   The Conference was opened by: Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Minister of State, Department of Justice and Equality and Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; the College President, Professor Dáire Keogh and Sheila Nunan, INTO General Secretary.

Keynote speakers were Dr. Carol Coulter and Pat Courtney, Principal of St. Vincent’s Boys NS, North William Street,  who received a standing ovation from an enthusiastic audience. Key recommendations and questions from discussion groups and workshops at the national conference were put to a panel of experts and senior civil servants, chaired by Dr. Paul Downes, Director of the Educational Disadvantage Centre.

The panel included: Bernie Mc Nally, Assistant Secretary General, Department of Children and Youth Affairs; Caitriona O’Brien, Principal Officer, Social Inclusion, Department of Education and Skills; Eibhlin Byrne, Director of Educational Welfare Services, TUSLA, the Child and Family Agency; Dr. Deirbhile Nic Craith, Director of Education & Research with the INTO; Anne Colgan, Centre for Effective Services and Pat Courtney. Key issues which emerged for discussion throughout included: gaps in mental health services and in emotional and behavioural supports at primary level; the need for multidisciplinary teams in and around schools, including for family support; the need for a national hunger prevention strategy in schools, and more focused supports for Travellers and ethnic minorities.

Paul Downes and Emma Dineen, INTO President, closed the conference.


Celebrating Childhood Beyond the School Bell:Framing Policy and Practice for Quality Out of School Services

The QDOSS network held its national conference, Celebrating Childhood Beyond the School Bell: Framing Policy and Practice for Quality Out of School Services, at Croke Park, on April 18th. The conference was opened by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, who participated in the subsequent discussion, after presentations by Niall McLoughlin, Director of Development with the Irish Youth Foundation, John Carr, Independent Chairperson of QDOSS and former General-Secretary of the INTO, and by Professor Pat Petrie, Institute of Education, University of London. The Educational Disadvantage Centre is a founding member of the QDOSS network, established in 2006, with staff members Dr Paul Downes (2007) and Dr Catherine Maunsell (2011) having previously served as its Chairperson. The Centre’s administrator, Valerie McLoughlin was centrally involved in the organisation of this year’s conference, as was Centre Director, Paul Downes, in key issues concerning its design. On behalf of QDOSS, John Carr called for a national strategy for out of school services, building on key strengths of both national and international practice. Minister Frances Fitzgerald expressed her strong interest in developing this area at national level, in dialogue with QDOSS. Professor Pat Petrie highlighted key features of out of school services in France and Scandinavia, while Dr. Ann Higgins, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick highlighted research to illustrate the benefits of such out of school services, especially for those at risk of social exclusion and early school leaving. Building on the QDOSS Agenda for Development document compiled by Paul Downes on behalf of the QDOSS Network, (2006/2010), regarding key features of a national strategy for out of school services, Imelda Graham, Barnardos, presented key findings from the recent regional consultation report on out of school services, commissioned by QDOSS. The conference was funded by the Irish Youth Foundation.


Primary Education: Ending Disadvantage Proceedings and Action Plan of the National Forum

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Achieving Equality in Children's Education Research Report by Dr. Katherine Zappone. 2002

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Messages from the Children by Dr. Katherine Zappone, Colm Hefferon and Paul Murphy. 2002

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