Inclusion & Wellbeing MENA 2023 - Dubai - SOLD OUT - Speakers

Tuesday 14 Mar 2023 - Wednesday 15 Mar 2023
Sofitel Downtown Dubai

Daniel Sobel, Chief Exec of Inclusion Expert and Chair of the International Forums of Inclusion Practitioners (IFIP) (Chair, Inclusion day)

Founder of Inclusion Expert, Daniel has worked as a consultant and advisor to over ten thousand schools, along with governments, UNESCO, UN and the EU. He is Chair of the International Forums of Inclusion Practitioners (IFIP) which has representation in 120 countries, Founder of the Global Inclusive Teaching Initiative (GITI), Daniel has authored three best-selling books - the latest is The Inclusive Classroom trending on Amazon as the number one education book for a year. Daniel has also authored over 90 articles and a successful Master’s programme at the University of Buckingham in Inclusive Educational Leadership. Daniel is a major influencer in education with a massive following on LinkedIn.

Shahana Knight, Childhood Trauma and Behaviour Specialist, Founder and Director of TPC Therapy Ltd. (Chair, Wellbeing day)

Shahana is director of TPC Therapy, a mental health service that supports organisations to become trauma informed and attachment aware. She is also the creator of the Therapeutic Schools approach through which she is working with schools across England to put children's wellbeing at the core of education. Pioneering a vision for all schools to become therapeutic schools, Shahana’s unique approach has been recognised and featured by BBC Newsround and BBC Teach. She recently won the Business Entrepreneur Award at the Katie Piper Foundation’s inspirational women’s awards 2021. Shahana also writes a regular segment in Head Teachers Update magazine.

Noora Alsaadi, Bilingual Inspector, Schools Inspection Bureau, Knowledge & Human Development Authority

Noora is an Inspector under the Knowledge and Human Development Authority and a specialist in the area of special educational needs. She is a passionate advocate for the development of inclusive education and achieving educational excellence for all.  Noora holds specialist degrees in both Early Childhood Development and Special Educational Needs, and began her career teaching young children with special educational needs and supporting them to reach their highest potential.

Ingrid Babayan, Head of EAL, GEMS FirstPoint School

Ingrid is a passionate linguist and an experienced language acquisition teacher, having taught Russian and English as second languages in the States and the UAE. She has been based in Dubai for over ten years and has experience in leading EAL provision in both the IB and British curricula. She is a firm believer that within an international school setting every teacher is a language acquisition teacher.

Dr Pashu Bhattacharya, Head of Department - Inclusion, GEMS Modern Academy

Armed with a degree in special education from the National Institute of Mental Health and Sciences (India) and board-certified assistant behavior analyst (theory only) from Florida Institute of Technology, Dr. Pashu Bhattacharya has been working in the field of special education for 19 years out of which she has been with GEMS Modern Academy for the last ten years and is currently heading the Department of Inclusion. Passionate and compassionate, she leads by example and helps empower students with diverse needs by providing them with skills set that make them lifelong learners in the mainstream environment. Undaunted by challenges, Dr. Pashu firmly believes that great educators learn and grow with their students. Early identification and planning and strategizing interventions are her strengths, and she has gained experience by working in diverse environments including Oman, India, and the UAE. Dr. Pashu has conducted workshops, orientations, and awareness programmes for parents and teachers. Her intervention is not only limited to school but also cascades to guiding parents to support their child at home and in other environments.

Priyanka Bhattacharya, Head of Senior School, The Millennium School, Dubai

Priyanka has more than 18 years’ experience of teaching English, debating, public speaking, writing, and editing. She has taught across the IB, the IGCSE ISC and now CBSE curricula. She has a deep interest in pastoral care, having taught at boarding schools for the greater part of her career. Priyanka is the Wellbeing Lead at her current school.

Stacey Bradwell, Director of Inclusion, GEMS Wellington Academy Al Khail

Stacey qualified as a primary teacher in the UK and decided to specialise in SEND, working within both residential and mainstream settings. In 2012, she joined the GEMS Wellington network in Dubai and is now working as the Director of Inclusion at GEMS Wellington Academy Al Khail (WEK) overseeing the support for Students of Determination and English Language Learners. Her main passion is supporting every student to reach their full potential through personalised curriculums and pathways.   She is a firm believer that all children can be successful and that a happy child is a child who can learn.

 Louise Dawson, Education Consultant and Inclusion Specialist 

Louise is an independent consultant, supporting schools with inclusion across the Middle East.  Louise has worked in Dubai for nine years and Hong Kong for eight.  Previously with Jumeirah College, Kings’ School Al Barsha, and Wellington International School, she is well placed to understand international education systems. She has an in-depth knowledge of leading inclusion within international private schools, as well as understanding the Inclusion journey that the UAE has been on.  Previously the BSME Network Lead for Inclusion, Louise writes and delivers training for Infinite Learning, Real Training, nasen and EduCare.  She works closely with Inclusion Expert to bring quality training opportunities to the Middle East.  Louise is co-founder of the International Forums of Inclusion Practitioners, and speaks frequently across many education platforms, including hosting two sessions with What Works for KHDA.  An advocate of assistive technology, she also works with IDL, Cricksoft and Texthelp to bring supporting software to the Middle East.   Prior to Dubai, Louise spent six years in mainstream and a special school in England.

 Harmeet Dhillon, Co-Founder, Incluzun

Harmeet is the co-founder of  - a socially responsible enterprise supporting parents and all stakeholders with inclusion across the United Arab Emirates. Harmeet has worked in Dubai for the last 15 years and in Singapore and Malaysia for the previous 15. She has worked tirelessly to support and train stakeholders to promote inclusion in schools, with a particular focus on learning support assistants. In addition to running many successful training workshops, her brainchild, The LSA Forum, is a successful platform where she trains LSAs to present on various topics to other LSAs.

Sarah Feeney, Head of Inclusion for Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, Safa Community School

Sarah previously taught a special school in Ireland, which caters for the largest cohort nationwide of students with Autism. A primary teacher for almost twenty years, Sarah has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs followed by a Master’s in Special Education. Sarah has worked as a part-time lecturer in Ireland, lecturing in the area of special and inclusive education for pre-primary educators, primary and post primary teachers.

Mike Glanville, Chief Safeguarding Officer, The Safeguarding Company

Mike is a co-founder and the Chief Safeguarding Officer at The Safeguarding Company. A former child protection officer, Mike served as a UK police officer for 30 years and as an Assistant Chief Constable had overall responsibility for all aspects of safeguarding and public protection in his force. In his current role he oversees the development and delivery of safeguarding training and customer success using his experience to deliver high-quality services and support across a wide range of sectors. Mike has also been a school governor since 2010 and is currently the Chair of Governors at a primary school located in Dorset, UK.

Ambika Gulati, Principal, The Millennium School

Ambika Gulati is the Principal of The Millennium School, Dubai. With over 20 years' experience in school leadership across schools in India and the UAE, Ambika has a zeal for making a difference in the lives of children. Though she began her career as an investment banker, she soon realised her passion for teaching and learning and for educational research. Ambika’s forte is in leading pedagogical transformation and inspiring her team to make shifts in their practice. Her firm belief that happy teachers create a happy school has led her to work strategically on the wellbeing of both teachers and students at her school, especially incubating the Mental Toughness Programme.

Joe Hall, Head of Sixth Form, Brighton College Dubai

Joe has worked in education since 2005 and has taught in the state sector in the UK as well as internationally in Mexico, Korea and the United Arab Emirates. His background is in as a history, politics and economics teacher, with a particular interest in post-16 education. He is an experienced guidance counsellor and has established two new Sixth Forms within British curriculum schools. He spends most of his time thinking about developing high quality pastoral care, building resilient and meaningful relationships and bringing mental health awareness and education to the forefront of Sixth Form provision. He has devised a number of pastoral programmes which address insecurities around climate change and global insecurity as well as wellbeing curriculum design which focuses on building autonomy, confidence and self-sufficiency in 16-18 students.

Wendy Harris, GEMS Wellington Director for Inclusion

Equipped with a PGCE in Drama and History, Wendy started her career more than 25 years ago as a Drama teacher. She soon found a passion for inclusive education, studying for a postgraduate qualification in dyslexia and then in ASD. She has achieved the postgraduate National Award for SENDCOs and the CCET qualification. Previously a SENDCo in the UK, Wendy relocated to GEMS Wellington International School (WIS), Dubai, where she has been for 12 years. She is the Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion at WIS and she is also the Director of Inclusion for the GEMS Wellington Cluster of schools. Wendy says, "To me, inclusion is about being proactive in identifying and managing barriers which may limit achievement, participation and progress and ensuring a quality education for all."

Andaleeb Ishteyaq, Head of Inclusion and Pastoral Care, JSS Private School Dubai

Andaleeb is the Head of Inclusion and Pastoral Care at JSS Private School, Dubai. His passion and specialisation relate to working with Students of Determination and Gifted and Talented students. Some of his other key areas of interests are career counselling, wellbeing, staff mentoring, mindfulness, improvisation and creativity. He has participated as SME, Head of Section (Lead Teacher) to review National Professional Standards for the UAE education and private sectors organised by MOE and NQC. Andaleeb has been conferred the prestigious “AKS Global Teacher Award 2019” as part of recognising the excellent teachers from all regions and communities of the world.

Aoife Killane, Head of Inclusion - Secondary, Safa Community School

Aoife has worked in the area of Inclusion for almost 13 years. She previously worked in Dublin where she also completed a Masters in Special Educational Needs. Aoife has been working in Dubai for five years. She is passionate about developing truly inclusive cultures within school settings to ensure that every student identifies strengths, has support in overcoming barriers and is given the tools to thrive in school and beyond.

Julia Knight, Head of Primary and Senior Girls, Beech Hall School, Riyadh

Julia has been working internationally since 2012 and is a passionate advocate for children’s well-being in and out of the classroom. She says, 'having worked extensively across all phases from EYFS to Sixth Form in a variety of roles, I know that happy children are successful students.'

Lou Lynton, School Counsellor, Inclusion Team, Hartland International School

Lou is a helping professional who has designed programmes for social change on behalf of local authorities, governmental agencies, and schools in various countries throughout her varied career. She has a background in social work, psychology and sociology as well as being a ballet teacher, inclusion teacher and restorative practices trainer. Lou enjoys helping people of all ages and walks of life whether individually, as a group, or through systems change. Her perspective on human development and counselling and solutions-focussed therapy is grounded in health psychology principles.

Catherine O'Farrell, Education Consultant, Co-Founder, Incluzun

Catherine is an experienced educational leader and consultant. An international school inspector and a founder of, she hosts an international voluntary forum for Inclusion & Wellbeing leaders. Catherine holds degrees including education, psychology and a masters in systems. She also holds graduate-level degrees in counselling and psychotherapy. With 16 years' experience in international education, Catherine has served as Director and Group Head for a number of large school groups. An advocate for special education and inclusion communities, she is practising across the MENA region, working under the Global Sustainability Network striving toward the UNSDG Goal 8. Catherine is a regular media contributor and conference speaker.

Lee Prichard, Head of Partnerships, Thrive

A former teacher, SENCO and senior leader, Lee has championed wellbeing in schools for over 20 years. She joined Thrive in 2014 to help young people understand and manage their emotions so they could feel safe, supported, and ready to learn. As Head of Partnerships, Lee works with organisations far and wide to improve the life chances of as many children and young people as possible. When she isn’t busy supporting educators to boost wellbeing and attainment or to collect evidence for improvement work and inspection teams, you’ll find her enjoying the Welsh coastline.

Mark Samways, Counselling Psychologist, Director of School and Organisational Wellbeing, The Free Spirit Collective

Mark is the Director of Wellbeing at The Free Spirit Collective, an integrative Psychology and Wellbeing centre in City Walk, Dubai. Mark is a CDA licensed Psychologist who helps schools and organisations implement a sustained approach to Wellbeing and knows first hand the challenges that face schols having spent over a decade working in schools. He has written academic research on the effectiveness of whole school wellbeing programmes in the UAE.

Mark Swaine, Transition Lead & Grade 6 Learning Coordinator, Swiss International Scientific School Dubai

Mark's passion for student wellbeing has seen him deliver many workshops for students and athletes around USA and Ireland, speak at The Mental Health & Wellbeing Summit, and co-found 'Warriors of the Light', a mental health charity. He holds degrees in Education and Communication, and an MSc in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology where he specialised in adult development. Mark is the current Grade 6 Learning Coordinator and Transition Lead at the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai where he is responsible for ensuring a smooth transition of students from primary to secondary education and equipping them with the skills to flourish in this new challenging environment.