On Saturday, 28th March over 50 participants attended the 6th annual conference of the IPPEA in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.

Following a welcome to the day’s proceedings by John Murphy, Chairperson of IPPEA, the conference started with a number of workshops based on Disability Sports (presented by Mark Barry – Irish Wheelchair Association – and Brenda Hopkins – Cerebal Palsy Sport Ireland), Active School Flag (presented by Michael Quealy – PPDS) and Salsa for Kids (presented by Carmel Smith – PPDS).

The 11.00 workshops consisted of practical sessions on Movement Programmes for children with motor disabilities (presented by Michael Quealy – PPDS) or Differentiating Athletics (presented by John O’Donnell – Athletics Ireland and PPDS).

Professor Margaret Talbot, CEO of the Association for Physical Education (UK) delivered the keynote address of the day. Margaret spoke on the current situation and position of PE within the educational system. She spoke of her vision of every child being enabled to systematically develop physical competency by moving efficiently, effectively and safely and understanding what they are doing. In essence, that every child should be enabled to develop physical literacy. Her enthusiasm for the subject was quite infectious and it is true to say that all participants left feeling very much at one with Margaret’s overall aim of Physical Education being at the heart of school life, for life.

After a much needed break for lunch and a chance to recharge the batteries, participants chose between three different workshops for the first session of the afternoon: Walking with physical and sensory challenges – Susan Marron (St. Patrick’s College), Rhythmic Gymnastics – Sarah Murray & Valentina Kolokova (Irish Rhythmic Gymnastics Association) or Games with the Frisbee – Tony Sweeney (Froebel College).

The final workshops of the day incorporated a repeat session of Rhythmic Gymnastics, a theoretical session on Encouraging children to be physically active at break time – Susan Marron (St. Patrick’s College) & Anne Cawley (St. John the Baptist Girls Primary School, Cashel, Co. Tipperary) or an outdoors session with John Murphy (PPDS) on Games and Activities for the development of ball skills.

Following a very enjoyable and active day the 6th Annual Conference of the IPPEA then drew to a close. Looking forward to seeing you all again in 2010.

Special thanks for the smooth running of the day are due to the staff of the PE Department – Frances Murphy, Maura Coulter and Susan Marron – and all the ancillary staff in St. Patricks College for ensuring that all aspects for the venue were in order.