The Creative Youth Plan was published by the government in December 2017 as one of the five pillars of the Creative Ireland Programme. The Plan sets out a number of measures designed to enable the creative potential of every young person, both within the formal education system and in informal or community settings.
As well as specific measures and strategies, the Plan proposes a broader long-term objective – to help promote a society in which knowledge and creativity are equal partners in the formation of our young people and where schools can support creativity and innovation in teaching and learning in an integrated way.
Implementation of the Plan is led by my Department in partnership with the Department of Education, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and the Arts Council. Significant progress on the delivery of its objectives has been achieved to date. Further details on the range of initiatives and projects which are being supported under the Creative Youth Plan are available from the Creative Ireland Programme website here.
Commenced in September 2018, Creative Schools is one of the key in-school initiatives of the Creative Youth Plan and is managed by the Arts Council. The initiative supports schools to put arts and creativity at the heart of school life, supporting them to develop and implement their own creative plan, while strengthening the relationships between schools and the broader cultural and community infrastructure. It recognises that schools play an important role in providing opportunities for children to participate in arts and culture, and also the important role that such participation can have in the overall development and education of young people.
The initiative provides tangible supports to participating schools. Each school is supported by a Creative Associate, who works closely with the school to examine their current engagement with the arts and creativity, and to assist them in developing a sustainable Creative Schools Plan. In addition, each participating school receives a grant of €2,000 per annum for 2 years. The total budgeted expenditure on the programme for 2021 amounts to €2.9 million.
During the most recent academic year 314 schools right across the country participated in the initiative – including primary and post-primary schools, YouthReach centres, schools in DEIS areas and special schools. Earlier this year, in consultation with my colleague the Minister for Education, I announced an increase in the number of participating schools that would be invited to join the programme this year. In September next a further 190 schools will take part in Creative Schools, this builds upon the increased intake which I provided for in 2020 and will bring to 654 the total number of schools that have been able to start a new creative journey through the programme since its launch in 2018.