The Creative Schools pilot is one of the flagship projects of the Creative Youth Plan, which seeks to enable the creative potential of every child and young person. This Plan is led by my Department, with the Departments of Education and Skills, and Children and Youth Affairs and the Arts Council, all working in partnership.
Creative Schools aims to understand, develop and celebrate the arts and creativity as a core aspect of school life. It strives to foster children and young people’s creativity, potential and participation in the arts as an integral part of their education. The initiative recognises that the arts are a powerful means through which children and young people can explore communication and collaboration, stimulate their imaginations to be inventive, and harness their boundless curiosity.
Schools selected to participate in the programme do so on a two-year cycle - the first to support them in developing a feasible creative plan for the school, and the second to enable them to implement this plan. Each participating school is provided with access to a Creative Associate, who are essential in embedding inspirational and sustainable creative practices in teaching and learning. Creative Associates are a mixture of practising artists and teachers with an understanding of creativity and its potential to transform the lives of children and young people. In addition, each school is allocated an annual grant of €2,000 to implement their plans.
There was significant interest in the pilot when launched in 2018 - with some 400 schools applying for 150 places. Given this level of interest, and the positive feedback from participants, total investment in the initiative for 2019 has increased to €2.36m - funded by my own Department as well as the Department of Education and Skills and the Arts Council. A second round of applications was opened in 2019 and just last week, the Minister for Education and Skills and I announced the details of a further 150 schools which have been selected to participate from this month.
The participating schools in Creative Schools from County Longford are:
- Gaelscoil an Longfoirt, Fearann Uí Dhuagáin, Co Longfoirt
- St Dominic’s National School,Kenagh, Co Longford
- Scoil Naomh Micheal, St. Mel's Road, Longford, Co Longford
The participating schools in Creative Schools from County Westmeath are:
- Ard na gCrath National School, Ard na gCraith, Walderstown, Athlone, Co Westmeath
- Naomh Mhuire, South Hill, Delvin, Co Westmeath
- SN An Cusan, An Cuasan, Castlequarter,Coosan, Athlone, Co Westmeath
- Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí, Lios Uí Mhulláin, Ath Luain, Co na hIarmhí
The Creative Youth Plan is ambitious and ever developing, and I hope that by 2022 it will have touched the lives of every child and young person in Ireland.