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Special Educational Needs Summit

A platform for educational practitioners to discuss the most prevalent issues in special education and accrue professional development points for attending.

15 – 16 May 2017 | Swissotel Sydney

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K-12 & Govt Rates available - See pricing section below


Earn CPD points by attending this event

After the success of STEM 2016 and EBT 2016, we’re pleased to announce the newest edition to the Informa education series, the Special Educational Needs Summit 2017.

The summit will hear from key international perspectives, address learning difficulties and the education of gifted & talented.

Special Education is a vital part of all teaching & learning and has an effect on both the practice of educators and the learning of students/pupils.

The difficulty for practitioners lies in the wide ranging nature of factors that can give children difficulty in connecting and retaining with their education. ASD, behavioural disorders and disability can all make school a difficult time for pupils and only through teacher preparation and continual professional development can children with learning difficulties experience an education that is truly specialised to their strengths and weaknesses.

Similarly, pupils deemed to be gifted & talented also need teachers, educators and schools that are able to identify pathways to ensure they fulfil a heightened potential.

This summit will allow a platform for educational practitioners to both learn and discuss the most prevalent issues in special education, as well as accrue professional development points for attending.


8:50 am

OPENING | Opening remarks from the Chair

Dr Michelle Eady, Senior Lecturer, University of Wollongong


9:00 am

As numerous teachers will resonate, the policy of teaching doesn’t always align perfectly with the act of teaching;

  • What does inclusive policy/education look like in the classroom?
  • How can institutions adopt a whole-school culture of inclusive education?
  • How important is inclusive education to allow equal education for all?

9:45 am

Creating effective inclusive school programs involves more than just teachers, but the collaboration and input of all stakeholders including students, parents, school leaders, teachers, and support staff. Each of these individuals plays a key role in creating inclusive school cultures and implementing inclusive programs. This presentation will outline current research and knowledge about the ways that leaders, teachers, parents and students can take action both individually and collaboratively to create inclusive school communities that support all students to achieve while promoting the wellbeing of all stakeholders.

10:15 am

This session takes a look at Tewantin School’s initiative of ensuring every student experiences engaging and purposeful Science, Technology, engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) activities that prepare them for an exciting future.

10:45 am

Networking and refreshment break


11:15 am

Behavioural disruptions are commonplace in all classrooms and, for the majority of times, teachers react pertinently and effectively – providing contusive learning environments that allow self-regulation and positive reinforcement of positive behaviour. But, what about the learners who have significant behavioural problems? How can schools and teachers pacify and educate learners with severe difficulties in regulating behaviour? How can we, as highly skilled practitioners, eradicate the persona of the ‘naughty child’?

11:45 am

Drawing on the perspective of the CEA (Canadian Education Association) and the strides being made in Canada in including wellbeing for students and educators;

  • Looking at how can teachers be mindful of the mental health of learning to approach behavioural challenges in the classroom.
  • Exploring a teacher’s role is diverse and requires a great deal of interpersonal skills.
  • Should psychological literacy be included in teacher training and development?

12:30 pm

Lunch and networking break


2:00 pm

Hear the strategies from a school specialising in the education of students with ASD and how they can be applied to any environment, including students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


2:30 pm

Key points including;

  • Is it as simple as purely the teacher’s prerogative to manage the education of children with specific needs?
  • A discussion on the influence of ‘stakeholders’ in the personalised and individualised education of leaners.
  • How can home-life, school-life, social-life and interventions be intertwined to ensure that the educational gap is bridged for those with SEN?
  • How can schools incorporate agencies and parents to form a collaborative pedagogical approach?

3:15 pm

Networking and refreshment break


3:45 pm

An outlining of the obligations of educational organisations to ensure equal treatment of all students

4:15 pm

Current practices in schooling transitions of students with disabilities

Associate Professor Terry Cumming, Special Education, UNSW

4:45 pm

  • Consulting with users is critical in process of designing environments that encompass the needs of students, teachers and parents and the community.
  • Universal design is a design philosophy and movement that aims to create environments that meet the needs of all users.
  • All levels of government around Australia are implementing policies and legislation around incorporating universal design in the built environment.

5:15 pm

CLOSING | Closing remarks from the Chair

Dr Michelle Eady, Senior Lecturer, University of Wollongong

5:30 pm

Networking drinks

9:00 am

OPENING | Opening remarks from the Chair

Sheldon Boland, Deputy Principal, Tewantin State School



  • Pre-service teacher training in gifted and talented education.
  • Should teachers be able to ‘specialise’ in G&T teaching?
  • Teacher attitudes towards the gifted.
  • The importance of professional development and school culture.

Examples of excellent practice of G&T teaching and learning

9:30 am

A close look at the pioneering emotional intelligence program from St Ives North Public School, aiming to support and progress the gifted and talented.

10:00 am

The role of social context in the process of managing talent from K-12?

10:30 am

Networking and refreshment break


11:00 am

  • What role does differentiation play in the accommodation of gifted pupils?
  • What intervention strategies are proven to accelerate the learning of the highest achieving learners?

11:30 am


  • What provision should there be for gifted leaners, federally, as a school and in the classroom?
  • The funds and resources earmarked for those who are deemed gifted can often be perceived as favouritism or unfairness; how can schools ensure the parity of all pupils to achieve their utmost potential, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic background or gender?

12:15 pm


  • The emergence of 2e into mainstream education
  • What is truly meant be the term Twice-Exceptional?
  • How can educators identify, encourage and support pupils who they assess are twice-exceptional?

12:45 pm

Lunch and networking break


2:30 pm


  • What role does curriculum play for the gifted and talented? Looking at whether a nationalised curriculum stifles the gifted or supports them.
  • Exploring the Steiner method and how it approaches those children identified as gifted and talented.

3:00 pm

Network and refreshment break


3:30 pm

Hear from UNSW’s GERRIC.on what practical strategies can you enact throughout your schools and classrooms to motivate the highest achievers, amongst your student/pupil base?

4:00 pm

Hear from the organisation that selects only the most capable minds on the planet. What does MENSA offer the children of Australia, to accelerate and stimulate their leaning outside of school walls?

4:20 pm

With STEM rising to such prominence in recent times and the obvious leaning towards STEM disciplines in the future, hear all about Australia’s foremost science competition for young learner; The Australian Science Olympiad. How can your school get involved?

4:40 pm

CLOSING | Closing remarks from the Chair

Sheldon Boland, Deputy Principal, Tewantin State School

4:45 pm



Packages Price
Package(Two Days) $1695+GSTEarly Bird
Day One $1295+GSTEarly Bird
Day Two $1295+GSTEarly Bird
Packages Price
Day One $595+GSTEarly Bird
Day Two $595+GSTEarly Bird
Package(Two Days) $795+GSTEarly Bird
Packages Price
Day One $995+GSTEarly Bird
Day Two $995+GSTEarly Bird
Package(Two Days) $1295+GSTEarly Bird

Event Pricing

  • Standard registration pricing
    – Two day conference: $1,695 + GST
    – Day One: $1,295 + GST (SAVE $200) + GST
    – Day Two: $1,295 + GST (SAVE $200) + GST
  • K-12 rates & Govt rates available – see rate tabs above


Dr Michelle Eady

Senior Lecturer, University of Wollongong


Fiona Forbes

National President, Australian Special Education Principals Association, WA


Dr Amanda Webster

Senior Lecturer, University of Wollongong


Sheldon Boland

Deputy Principal, Tewantin State School


Judith Foggett

Senior Lecturer - Education, University of Newcastle


Ron Canuel

CEO, Canadian Education Association, Canada


Prof Sylvia Rodger AM

Director of Research and Education, Autism CRC

Daniel Lynch

Principal, The Joseph Varga School


Dr Christine Grima-Farrell

President, NSW Institute for Educational Research, Lecturer in Special Education, University of NSW

Jill Duncan

Conjoint Associate Professor School of Education, University of Newcastle


Prof Umesh Sharma

Associate Professor, Monash University

Associate Professor Terry Cumming

Special Education, UNSW


Cathryn Grant

Senior Access Consultant, Architecture & Access


Prof. Jim Watters

Associate Professor, Australian Catholic University

Carmela May

Deputy Principal, St Ives North Public School


Dr Katrina Eddles-Hirsch

Senior Lecturer, Notre Dame University, Australia


Christine Ireland

President, AAEGT


Melinda Gindy

President, Gifted Families Support Group


Dr Cathie Harrison

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education


Dr Dan White

Executive Director, Sydney Catholic Schools


Dr Louise Porter

Child Psychologist, Small Poppies International


Mohan Dhall

CEO, Australian Tutoring Association


Dr Susen Smith

Senior Lecturer in Gifted & Special Education, GERRIC

Dr Shelley Davidow

Author & Educator, Steiner Education Australia and Lecturer, University of Sunshine Coast

Dean Taylor

State President, MENSA (NSW)


Dr Julie Cooke

Program Director, Australian Biology Olympiad

when & where

15 - 16 May 2017

Swissotel Sydney
68 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000
02 9238 8888

Book Accommodation with Lido Group
For your convenience Lido Group will manage your accommodation needs. Click here or call 02 8585 0808.


Still have a question?

Alex Cook
Sponsorship Manager
+61 (02) 9080 4425

Christopher Platt
Conference Producer
+61 (02) 9080 4037

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