Dr. Paul Downes, Associate Professor of Education (Psychology), School of Human Development, gave the opening keynote presentation at the Austrian Ministry of Education Conference, Vienna, on 20-21 November. His presentation, How to tackle bullying and prevent school violence in Europe, was based on the report for the European Commission of the same title that he led.
The national conference was opened by the Austrian Minister for Education, Dr. Sonja Hammerschmid and was attended by school psychologists, social workers and teachers across Austria, as well as by Senior Education Ministry officials in Austria, including the Director-General for Schools.
Dr. Downes' presentation called for stronger structural links between health and education as part of a combined strategy for school bullying and early leaving prevention. He offered a critique of current peer support approaches, of the limitations of much of US research regarding older students and bullying, as well as highlighting the importance of parental involvement, while observing key weaknesses in current international approaches to parental involvement for school violence prevention.
Paul Downes gave a keynote presentation at the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, Annual Conference, From Wellbeing to Learning Motivation, in Tartu, Estonia, December 5-6. Dr. Downes´ presentation was entitled, Inclusive School Climate and Learning Environment in and around Schools: Emotional-Relational Dimensions for the Inclusion of Marginalised Students.
The other international keynote presenter was Tue Halgreen, OECD, Directorate for Education and Skills who presented on Wellbeing of Estonian pupils according to OECD research. The conference was attended by over 200 school principals, teachers, school psychologists, Education Ministry officials and researchers.
Paul Downes also gave an invited presentation to the National Advisory Council for the Irish Department of Children and Youth Affairs’ Better Outcomes Brighter Futures National Strategy on 22nd November. His presentation was entitled, Better Outcomes Brighter Futures and the National Education Welfare Service: The Strategic Drift regarding Poverty and Social Inclusion, including Emotional Counselling Supports. The other invited presentation to the National Advisory Council was by Noel Kelly, Director of the National Education Welfare Services.