Close icon
Close icon

MIC Thurles Summer School 2024


We are delighted to invite you to join us at our Mary Immaculate College Thurles Summer School, in partnership with the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, at St Patrick's Campus, Thurles on 11-13 June 2024. Celebrating 20 years of the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, the theme of this year’s summer school is how children’s voices have changed the landscape of education and participation over the past two decades.

The Summer School will hear directly from children, explore research and, over the course of the three days, will explore the theme Student Voices Now and Then; Best Practice and Critical Thinking on Student Voice, and Voices from the Edge. The Summer School will bring together educators, policy makers, student representatives, researchers, academics, and NGOs from Ireland and abroad.

The MIC Thurles Summer School is aimed at teachers, researchers, student teachers, parents, support service and policymakers, as well as anyone with an interest in exploring how teaching and learning can be improved. 

Presenters & Panellists 2024

The event will open with keynote addresses by General Secretary to the Department of Education, Bernie McNally and Adam Harris, Founder and CEO of AsIAm, Ireland's National Autism CharityThere will also be a host of international speakers including Child Participation expert, Professor Laura Lundy, and Professor Philip Jaffé, member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. 

Other guests across the event include:

  • Shari Irfan, President of the Irish Second-Level Students Union
  • Dr Craig Skerritt, University of Manchester
  • Suzanne Garcia Imbernon, European Network of Ombudsman for Children
  • Fiacre Ryan, Author of Speechless Reflections From My Voiceless World
  • Ann Piercy, HIV Ireland
  • Gráinne Smyth, Oberstown Children Detention Campus
  • Ahmed Hassan Mohamed, social activist and Community Sponsorship support worker at Doras, Limerick

There will also be inputs from:

  • Dr Patrick Sullivan, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment
  • Pairic Clerkin, CEO of IPPN
  • Helen Walsh, National Council for Special Education
  • Geraldine McTavish, GAA
  • Brenda O’Donnell, Active Disability
  • Dr Hannah McGinley on Traveller voice
  • Áine Lynch, National Parents Council

Programme Information 2024

Day One: Tuesday 11 June
Theme: Student Voices Now and Then
2pm: Welcome by Finn Ó'Murchú on behalf of MIC
2.15pm - 2.45pm: Bernie McNally, Secretary General, Department of Education
Keynote Speech - Policy Focus. The importance of the voice if the child within education varies widely. What lies ahead?
2.45pm - 3.15pm: Adam Harris, Founder & CEO, As I Am 
Keynote address on student voice in the education system with specific focus on voices from the edge/students who have not always been heard.
3.15pm - 3.30pm: Coffee break
3.30pm - 4pm: Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon.
Discussion on 20 years of the OCO, how education has changed, what lies ahead with a focus on student voice. 

4pm - 5pm: Panel Discussion with;

  • Dr Niall Muldoon, OCO
  • Adam Harris, AsIAm
  • Clíodhna O’Neill, Assistant Secretary
  • Áine Lynch, National Parents Council
Day Two: Wednesday 12 June
Theme: Best Practice and Critical Thinking on Student Voice
Morning Session: 10am - 12.30pm

10am - 10.30am: Professor Laura Lundy (TBC online or in person)

Participation in education system. Including the student voice. Learnings, best practice and recommended actions from attendees.

10.30 - 11.15am: Professor Philip Jaffe, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Student Voice best practice. International examples. How Ireland is doing. Changes we could make.

11.15 - 11.30am: Tea/Coffee

11.30am - 12pm: Local Schools and OCO Youth Advisory Panel

Presentation from local school and OCO YAP on student voice and how student voice could be better integrated into the education system.

12pm - 12.30pm: Review of morning session with Suzanne Garcia Imbernon, European Network of Ombudsman for Children.
12.30pm - 1.30pm: Lunch
Afternoon Session: Workshops 1.30pm - 2.15pm & 2pm - 3pm
Attendees will be invited to attend two of the following four sessions:
  • NCSE: Accessing Learner Voice (Room TBC)
  • Doctoral Research: Louise Platt (Room TBC)
  • Doctoral Research: Katie Chapple (Room TBC)
  • International Perspective: Suzanne Garcia Imbernon (Room TBC)
3pm - 3.15pm: Tea/Coffee
Evening Session: 3.15pm - 4.45pm
3.15pm - 3.45pm: Dr Craig Skerritt, Contemporary Issues in Education/Critical Education Policy
3.45pm - 4.45pm: Moderated Discussion with NCCA/NCSE/Craig Skerritt/Suzanne Garcia Imbernon
Day Three: Thursday 13 June
Theme: Voices from the Edge
9.30 - 10am: Fiacre Ryan, Writer, Poet and non-speaking Student
Featured in RTÉ documentary Speechless Reflections from My Voiceless World
10am - 11am: Panel Discussion - Learnings from the Community;
Brenda O’Donnell, Active Disability; Hannagh McGinley, Traveller Voice; Geraldine McTavish, GAA; Ahmed Hassan, Doras; Gráinne Smyth, Oberstown and Ann Piercy, HIV Ireland.
11am - 11.15am: Tea/Coffee
11.15am - 12.15pm: Panel Discussion - School Leadership
12.15pm - 12.30pm: Close of Conference by Dr Niall Muldoon

*Programme information is subject to change.

  • About
  • Presenters & Panellists 2024
  • Programme Information 2024