Ó Néill is Head of Education and Director of School Placement in the Froebel
Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education. He began his career as a
primary school teacher, having graduated from St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.
He subsequently served as Principal of Queen of Angels Primary School in South County
Dublin before joining Froebel College of Education in 2001 where he gained extensive
management and leadership experience as a member of the Froebel College Board
of Governors, chairing the Academic Council and co-ordinating the Strategic Planning
and Development Workgroup.
Within the Froebel
Department, Séamie’s role as Head of Education is to provide academic
leadership, with a strong focus on the strategic development of the Department,
in line with its mission statement in the context of the transition to Maynooth
University in 2013. He is an active member of the Academic Committee, Research
Committee and Development Inter-Cultural Education (DICE) Committee. He is
currently Chair of the School Placement Committee. Séamie teaches on the B.Ed.,
PM.Ed. and Master’s of Education programmes. He has been to the fore in the
development of the reconceptualised B.Ed. programme and in the design of a new
Master’s of Education (Research in Practice) programme, launched in August
2018. He was programme leader of the B. Ed. programme for a period of eight
years. He currently acts as dissertation supervisor on undergraduate and post
The founder of the
Dissolving Boundaries Leadership Programme for final year students, which
allows students to engage in community leadership projects, Séamie also designed,
and teaches on, an elective module entitled Dissolving
Boundaries:Education Projects in the Community. He is the founder of Machnamh, the Froebel Department
He is a strong supporter
of the Froebel Department / Hope Foundation Teacher Education Partnership and he
has provided professional development to our partner teachers in Kolkata, and
previously in Kenya. Séamie contributes in a variety of ways to Froebel Week,
an annual celebratory festival of Froebelian practice.
Séamie has wide experience
of educational reform nationally, having been an
active member of several committees of the National Council for Curriculum and
Assessment (NCCA), including the NCCA Language Advisory Group, which informed
the development of the new Integrated Language Curriculum for primary schools.
He acted as chair of the Early Childhood and Primary Language Development Group
(EPLDG) for a period of four years.
He is a
member of the National Interagency Committee National Pilot Project on Teaching
Induction; the North-South Student Teacher Exchange Committee; the Forum of
Heads of Education, and the Standing Committee of Heads of Education and
Teacher Unions. He regularly advises national education bodies on
education policy and practice. Séamie is
co-author of a report for the Standing Conference of Teacher Educators North
and South (SCoTENS) Supporting the Role
of the Supervising Tutor on School Placement. The report represents a
synthesis of the findings of a collaborative enquiry by Directors of School
Placement North and South on the area of professional learning for supervising
tutors in initial primary teacher education. He is currently one of three External
Examiners for the B.Ed. and P.ME. programmes in DCU and provides advisory
support to the DES Gaeltacht Education unit. He also sits on the panel for the
UL EHS Excellence in Teaching Awards. In
November 2018 he was appointed to the Teaching Council School Placement Working
research interests include developing best practice within initial teacher
education, with a particular focus on the development of student teacher
professional agency. He is also
interested in self-study practitioner research, inclusive education, modhanna múinte na Gaeilge, culturally
responsive teaching, school partnerships and developing leadership ability
among student teachers.
of his research on Irish language learning and teaching methods, Séamie has
developed programmes for the primary school and has worked closely with
publishers to produce materials for the classroom. He is the creator of
ELeathanach (electronic newsletter), which is distributed to around 2,000
primary schools on a weekly basis. ELeathanach was awarded the Language Label,
the European Award for Languages.
nach beag aige i gcúrsaí Gaeilge. Mar chomhordaitheoir ar Roinn na Gaeilge i
gColáiste Froebel chuir sé tús le plean stratéiseach don Ghaeilge sa choláiste.
D’éirigh an Roinn an cultúr Gaelach agus an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn ar
bhealach tarraingteach, forásach. Mar thoradh ar an obair sin, fuair an
coláiste aitheantas ó Ghlór na nGael, COGG agus Léargas.
collaboration with colleagues, he was successful in bringing the INTO School-College Partnerships Seminar
and the Erasmus+ project Conference: A Digital
Journey in Europe and the INTO Joint Seminar: School College Partnerships Seminar
to Maynooth in the last academic year.
In 2017-18, he has represented the Froebel
Department on numerous occasions, including:
- 2018: Presentation at LITASA Conference:
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
- 2018 Presentation to Swedish Teacher
Educators: B.Ed. programme in Froebel Department, Maynooth University.
- 2018 Presentation to INTO Joint Seminar:
School College Partnerships, Maynooth University.
- 2018 Presentation to North South Teacher
Exchange: An Overview of the Primary School Curriculum, Maynooth
Presented at the Froebel-hosted Erasmus+ project Conference: A Digital
Journey in Europe. May 2018.
Presentation as co-presenter with Laura Thornton NIPT/ITE Forum:
Reflective Practice in the Froebel
B. Ed., Maynooth University.
In his role
as Director of School Placement, Séamie oversees the organisation of approximately
one thousand placements annually, supported by Vera Timmons, School Placement
Officer, the School Placement Committee and a team of HEI tutors (supervisors),
many of whom are experienced teachers and principals. He regularly convenes
focus groups for partner schools with a view to improving the school-university
partnership. In the current academic year, Séamie has become involved in the
Turn to Teaching programme, working with student teachers to mentor and support
students on the programme.
his free time Séamie, as a passionate enthusiast of hurling, is part of the
backroom team which manages the Maynooth University Fresher’s hurling team.