2017 Conference - Stranmillis University College, August 2017

In August 2017, CCEA hosted a one day conference highlighting how creativity and aspirational thinking can enhance classroom practice within special educational needs schools. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from key speakers in this area and were able to engage in a series of workshops facilitated by teachers, allied professionals and academics. The workshops provided teachers with practical activities that they could take away and use in their classrooms.

2017 Speakers

2017 Conference Speaker: Prof Frank Lyons


Prof Frank LyonsProfessor Frank Lyons is Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Institute and Head of School of Creative Arts and Technologies at Ulster University.

Inclusive Creativity is a concept devised by Professor Frank Lyons at Ulster University in collaboration with key partners such as Share Music Sweden, Drake Music Project and Stravaganza, which aims to level the playing field in performance and composition for disabled musicians by developing new technologies and methodologies for their use.

2017 Conference Speaker: Wayne Denner


Wayne DennerAuthor of 'The Student's Guide to an Epic Online Reputation... and parents too', Educator, Entrepreneur, Speaker and Trainer, Wayne Denner set up Ireland's first social networking platform at the age of 17 in the early noughties -before Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Bebo! Wayne has now 20 years experience in the online space and is internationally regarded as a thought leader and influencer of online safeguarding, youth engagement online and emerging trends in today's rapidly changing online environment.

Wayne inspires and motivates young people and adults to protect their well-being online, take control and maximise their individual talent in today's digital world. Wayne tells his story and provides sound advice on protecting personal, professional and organisational reputation online and using social networks, the internet and smartphones to your advantage.

2017 Workshop: Session 1

Recording observations using the Quest for learning software

Andrew Douglas, CCEA

This session introduced the attendees to the recently updated Quest for learning software. Attendees were given a demonstration of its interface and features, and had the opportunity to sign their school up to use the software if they had not already done so.

Information on the content covered and the Quest in general, can be found here:

Quest for learning ccea.org.uk

Learning for Life and Work in the SLD classroom

Treasa Hawksford, CCEA

Treasa gave an overview of the Learning for Life and Work resources for severe learning difficulties that CCEA have available. She also discussed their contribution to a sensory curriculum.

Learning for Life and Work  in the SLD classroom 6 MB - Uploaded 03-10-2017

Drama in the SLD classroom

Brendan McAfee, Roddensvale School

Brendan has extensive experience in creating wonderful drama productions with his classes of learners with SLD. He shared some practical ideas for developing learners’ creative side.

Qualifications for learners with SEN

Teresa Robb, CCEA

Teresa presented an overview of CCEA's qualifications provision for learners with SEN including the new Entry level Life Skills which is available for first teaching from September 2017.

Information on the Entry Level Life Skills qualification can be found here:

Entry Level Life Skills ccea.org.uk

An introduction to 'Shine'


'Shine' is based on a pre-existing highly effective, evidence-based programme All Stars 'Core'. This is designed to prevent or delay risky behaviour and is tailored for pupils who have mild to moderate learning difficulties.

We are ALL STARS 53.7 MB - Uploaded 03-10-2017

Infant Mental Health

Deirdre McAliskey, National Children's Bureau

The National Children’s Bureau presented details of research into infant mental health and linked this to effective classroom strategies for teachers.

Infant Mental Health​ - Supporting the best start in life for children in Northern Ireland​ 1.9 MB - Uploaded 03-10-2017

Deaf Awareness

Jordanstown School

This session aimed to make teachers aware of approaches they can use in the classroom with children who are deaf.

Deaf Awareness Workshop 4.9 MB - Uploaded 03-10-2017

2017 Workshop: Session 2

An introduction to the new Q Skills recording software

Andrew Douglas, CCEA

This workshop introduced attendees to the new Q Skills software. They were given a demonstration of its interface and features, and had the opportunity to sign their school up to use the software.

Information on the content covered and the Q Skills in general, can be found here:

Prerequisite Skills (Q Skills) ccea.org.uk

"Never Say Can't" Art in the classroom

Wendy Davey, Killard School

This workshop looked at art methods and approaches in the classroom for post-primary pupils with moderate learning difficulties.

Never Say Can't 2.1 MB - Uploaded 03-10-2017

Creative Learning with Technology in SEN

Sarah Lawrence and Sharon Tosh from the Nerve, Creative Learning Centres

Over the last 12 years the Creative Learning Centres (AmmA Centre, Nerve Centre and Nerve Belfast) have supported a large number of schools and youth and community groups across Northern Ireland gaining knowledge and experience of working with children with a variety of additional needs.

This workshop explored how the combination of a creative learning approach and the use of technology can positively impact on the teaching and learning of SEN pupils. It also allowed participants time to find out more about opportunities for support from the Creative Learning Centres as well explore some new creative technologies available.

For more information on the work of Nerve and the support and resources available, visit their website:

Nerve Belfast - Creative Learning Centre nervebelfast.org


Treasa Hawksford, CCEA

This workshop assisted school staff on identifying and supporting learners with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) with a particular focus on the issues of learners with severe learning difficulties.

Guidance for identification & support of learners with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) 1.1 MB - Uploaded 03-10-2017

Sensory impairment

Jordanstown School

This workshop aimed to provide the opportunity for teachers to

  • experience how children with visual impairment see the world;
  • the implications of this for the classroom; and
  • how some of these implications can be addressed.

Visual Impairment Workshop 18.1 MB - Uploaded 03-10-2017

Food for Life

Glynis Henderson, CCEA

As part of the Food in Schools Policy, the Food in Schools resources group provide support to all schools for the teaching of food and nutrition. In the workshop we provided guidance on the policy, an introduction to available resources, the use of 'food@ my school' Fronter room in partnership with C2k and ideas for practical food activities.

Information on the Food in Schools resources group can be found here:

Department of Education - Food in schools resources education-ni.gov.uk

Disablist bullying

Dr. Noel Purdy, Director of Research and Scholarship, Stranmillis University College, Belfast. Former Chair, NI Anti-Bullying Forum

This seminar outlined the nature and incidence of bullying in schools, with particular reference to children with special educational needs and disabilities. It addressed the particular challenges involved for teachers, and outlined the likely implications of the Addressing Bullying in Schools (NI) Act 2016. Advice and guidance will be provided based on national and international research in this area.

2017 Workshop: Session 3

Music Therapy for children with special educational needs.

Emma Donnelly, Music Therapy Connections NI

Music therapy uses music as a tool for communication and expression. Making connections through music can have a positive impact on: - self-esteem - sense of identity - communication skills - social skills and physical development. If a child or adult is well equipped in these areas they are more likely to engage positively in their education.

Autism: Prepare, Capture and Engage

Lorna Fitzpatrick - Autism Trainer / Advisor, Middletown Centre for Autism

During this workshop, attendees learnt how to:

  • prepare the environment for learners with autism;
  • capture the attention of the learner; and
  • engage pupils in meaningful activities which develop skills.

For more information on the work of Middletown and the support and resources available, visit their website:

Middletown Centre for Autism middletownautism.com

Physical Activity for All

Mark George, Harberton School

This workshop provided teachers with practical suggestions for including all learners in physical activity. It looked at sports that appeal to a range of interests and abilities.

Making Physical Education​ more Inclusive​ Workshop 223 KB - Uploaded 03-10-2017

Using sensory resources: can the expense make sense?

Gillian Beck, NASEN NI (President)

This session was an introduction to the issues underlying sensory provision in an educational setting. The use of sensory resources and even sensory rooms is becoming ever more popular but are teachers confident not only of the how but the why of this kind of SEN provision?

For more information on the work of NASEN NI and the support and resources available, visit their website:

nasen Northern Ireland nasen.org.uk

Levels of Progression in Communication & Using Maths

Jennifer Robinson, CCEA

This workshop looked at end of Key Stage Statutory Assessment and in particular the lower levels (LoP) for Communication and Using Mathematics.

Mindfulness for learners with SEN

Viv Bannon, EnvisageNow Ltd

This workshop by EnvisageNow demonstrated the benefits of using mindfulness strategies for learners with SEN. It also looked at some short practical activities for the classroom.

Creativity and Mindfulnesss​ 264.1 KB - Uploaded 03-10-2017

Preparation for Transition

National Children's Bureau

Transition from school to adult services is always a difficult time for both learners and families. This workshop looked at suitable methods to prepare learners for transition. It also shared current examples of good practice.

Preparation for Transition - Supporting Potential 1.1 MB - Uploaded 03-10-2017