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The Arts Council: Creative Schools


a group of teenage school children surround a table with colourful craft making materials

Image Credit: The Arts Council, photograph Liam Kidney

Arts Council announces 186 new schools will join its Creative Schools initiative

The Arts Council recently announced that offers have been made to 186 schools and centres across Ireland who applied to be part of the Creative Schools initiative. The very high level of applications to be part of this 2-year process reflects the importance that schools and Youthreach centres put on creativity and their ambition to celebrate and put creative thinking at the very heart of what they do.

Speaking at the announcement Director of the Arts Council Maureen Kennelly said: “We warmly welcome our new cohort of 186 schools to Creative Schools. We are delighted that demand for the programme is so strong across the country and we are thrilled to say that by this stage of the programme, 20% of schools in Ireland have connected with us. Working with our partners in the Department of Education, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and Creative Ireland, we are looking forward to another school year full of creativity, consultation and exploration”.

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD said “I am delighted to welcome the 186 schools that are coming together to join the Creative Schools initiative 2022. I would like to welcome these new schools into this exciting initiative, and I look forward to seeing how these creative, colourful and captivating projects develop over the coming two years. Through Creative Schools the Department of Education supports critical thinking, cognitive and emotional wellbeing, encouraging a creative environment, without boundaries within the educational space.”

Also speaking, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD said “I would like to congratulate the 186 schools and Youthreach centres that have successfully applied to become a Creative School and now have the opportunity to embark on a two-year journey to place creativity at the heart of their school communities. With the addition of this new cohort, 1 in 5 schools in Ireland will have experienced Creative Schools since the programme commenced in 2018 and this year sees an increase in the diversity of settings in receipt of support. This is a testament to its impact and the strength of the partnership between the Art Council, the Department of Education and the all-of-government Creative Ireland Programme.”

The Creative Schools Initiative is designed to provide opportunities for children and young people to build their artistic and creative skills, each school taking part receives a grant and works with a professional Creative Associate who supports them to develop and implement their own bespoke Creative School Plan. Participation empowers children and young people to develop, implement and evaluate arts and creative activity throughout their schools/centres and stimulate additional ways of working which reinforce the impact of creativity on children and young people’s learning, development and well-being.

Creative Schools received applications from counties throughout the country to be part of the initiative and they were assessed on how Creative Schools would benefit learning and development in the school and how children and young people would play a central role in leading the process.

The programme was established in 2018 and more than 650 schools have been invited to participate to date. With this latest round of offers it means that 1 in 5 schools in Ireland will have / will be taking part in the Creative Schools initiative. Recipients range from large schools in major cities to smaller schools on islands including Inisboffin, Achill, Inis Oírr and Inis Meain. Creativity truly lives everywhere.

This year 131 more primary schools, 35 more post primary schools, 11 Special Schools and 5 Youthreach centres have been sent offers to join. Also joining the programme this year are four schools in Alternative Settings who cater for young people with severe emotional and behavioral challenges. Oberstown Children Detention Campus School, Co. Dublin, Ballydowd High Support Special School, Dublin 20, Crannóg Nua Special School, Portrane, Co. Dublin and St Canice’s Special School, Limerick will join the programme and receive enhanced supports.

The full list of the 186 Schools selected to participate in the Creative Schools programme in 2022-23 can be viewed on The Arts Council website at https://www.artscouncil.ie/schools-2022-23/.

Schools who have been taking part to date have explored creativity in all its forms and embraced how it can be celebrated in so many ways. From baking to creating and designing gardens, from photography to performance, from working with other community groups to transforming areas of their own schools, the impact of Creative Schools can be seen around the country.