General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Major North-South teacher conference opened in Belfast



Paul Sweeney, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education, and the southern Minister for Lifelong Learning Seán Haughey, jointly opened the event, which brings together over 100 teachers and educationalists from both the north and south of Ireland.

Speaking as he addressed delegates, Mr Sweeney said: “It is vitally important in today’s world that we have a school system in which every girl and boy has the same opportunity to succeed, regardless of socio-economic background, gender, race or special needs. Inclusion for all is a theme that is central to the work of the Department and underpins much of the work we do to ensure that teaching professionals can deliver high quality provision across Northern Ireland.

“There are many forms of diversity in society and we see this in our schools, where we have a great many children and young people with, for instance, Special Educational Needs, or from a Traveller background, or for whom English is not their first language. This conference represents an excellent opportunity for practitioners from across the island to hear from leading international educationalists and share views with each other on best practice.

“I commend the Centre for Cross Border Studies for its hard work in organising the conference and I look forward to hearing some of the views and opinions put forward during the event.”

Speaking at the conference, Seán Haughey TD, Minister for Lifelong Learning said: “As Minister for Lifelong Learning, I am pleased to be able to support SCoTENS and its agenda of work, which greatly enhances and advances our engagement with the pressing issues in education today.

“SCoTENS provides a valuable forum where areas of mutual interest regarding teacher education can be discussed. This North-South platform has gone from strength to strength in building professional partnerships and personal networks through its wide-ranging activities and research activities.

“It is encouraging to see that SCoTENS has identified Teacher Education for Inclusion as the theme for this year’s Conference. Teacher education is the key to developing an attitude of inclusion.

“The ongoing review and accreditation of Teacher Education Programmes in the south presents a unique opportunity for teacher educators to reflect on the competencies required for the new generation of teachers to implement successful inclusive polices and practices. This will require our teacher education institutions to review and enhance existing provision in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion.”

Teacher Education for Inclusion is the eighth annual conference of SCoTENS, the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South.


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