Fiona Lawton has been teaching secondary students in Scoil Bernadette Special School for the last ten years. She graduated with a Masters in Drama and Theatre Studies in UCC in 1999. During that period Fiona has been involved in writing, directing, acting and producing plays around Cork. In 2005 she played the part of the Magistrate in the award winning film ‘The Wind that Shakes the Barley’. In 2008 Fiona returned to UCC to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Guidance and Counselling and subsequently in 2013 completed the Higher Diploma in Primary Education with Hibernia College. In school Fiona teaches a variety of subjects but has a passion for drama. Each year she works with a group of LCA students to devise, produce and perform a play. Fiona strongly believes in the importance of educating through the arts where creativity and collaboration are central to the learning process.
Creative Schools: Making Connections – Blog 2
Since our return to school in the New Year, we have begun the next stage of our Creative Schools journey, which is developing our school plan. In mid-January, I met with Naomi Cahill (Creative Schools Associate) to discuss our aims and objectives for the near future as a creative school. Using the framework provided, we were enabled to assess our current strengths and weaknesses in the following areas: Teaching and Learning; Leadership and Management; Children and Young People and Opportunities and Networks.
The process of writing the school plan has renewed our school’s commitment to the creative arts and also has highlighted the areas we would like to develop in the near future. We have committed to providing CPD (Continued Professional Development) for teachers in the next academic year. We will receive training on how best to use drama as a teaching methodology which can be integrated with all subjects across the curriculum.
Scoil Bernadette has a strong focus on the arts already and is involved in a number of extra-curricular creative projects including, dance, music, and theatre. In keeping with our overall objective, which is to enable all students to access a broad range of creative activities whilst in school, we have decided to organize additional visual arts workshops this year.
As Scoil Bernadette is a special school it is vital that all activities are accessible and inclusive for all students. Naomi has been invaluable in providing the school with links with a variety of organisations and practitioners that have experience in working with students with disabilities. It is important for us a school to expand our community network and provide as many opportunities as possible for our students to participate in activities that will aid their journey as lifelong learners.
We have made links with Mairead O’Callaghan in Crawford Art Gallery in Cork. Mairead facilitates visual arts workshops with a number of supported artists each week. (More information on supported artists and this project can be found here (www.crawfordartgallery.ie/Learn-and-Explore-Crawford-Supported-studio-Artists.html)
On 14th February 2019 Naomi, Mairead and I met to develop a plan where a series of six art workshops could be run in Scoil Bernadette during March and April. The workshops will be led by Mairead and co-facilitated by Rosaleen Moore and Ailbhe Barrett, two supported artists that attend the Crawford each week.
It is envisaged that this project will be collaborative and student-led. A group of ten to twelve students from Scoil Bernadette, one from each class, will attend each Friday in the school. The workshops will also involve a visit to the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork City. Together the students will decide on how the project will take shape. We hope to document the process with photographs which can be used to form part of an exhibition to be held in the school.
The workshops will begin on 8th March. We are looking forward to welcoming Mairead, Ailbhe, and Rosaleen to our school and beginning this new adventure.
We are excited to make new links with our local community which hopefully will expand both current and future possibilities for students in Scoil Bernadette.