Thousands of children and young people to have increased access to creative activities in schools as part of Arts Council led initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme.
Today, 150 schools across Ireland, reflecting all types of education settings across the country, have been chosen to participate in the Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools pilot programme. Launched earlier this year by Minister Bruton and Minister Madigan, the programme is a central initiative of Pillar 1 of the Government’s Creative Ireland Programme, which puts the arts and creativity at the heart of children and young people’s lives.
Two of those schools are in Co. Longford - St. Michael's Boy’s National School and Gaelscoil Longfoirt.
Chosen from over 400 applicants, schools chosen to take part in the programme include primary schools, secondary schools, Youthreach centres, special schools, DEIS schools, co-educational schools, rural, urban, single-sex and Irish-language medium schools. Work will begin in September 2018 and run through to the end of the school year in 2019.
In their application, schools had to explain how their participation would support learning and development in the arts and creativity, their capacity to engage as a school and their plans for ensuring that children and young people play an active role in developing, implementing and evaluating their work as a Creative School. Through the programme, the Arts Council is engaging with children and young people across the country enabling their creativity and linking them in with the arts and creative infrastructure in their locality and nationally.
Assistant Principal at St. Michael's Boy’s National School, Mary Sorohan, said:
“Access to quality support from creative artists to develop potential in the area of creativity is important to us. Most of our pupils do not have access to after-school creative activities because of financial constraints. It will help to build confidence among our EAL pupils.”
Mary Corkery, Teacher at Gaelscoil Longfoirt, said:
“We fully believe in the importance of Arts Education. We believe that all children should have access to Arts education regardless of background and status. We also understand the link between the arts and learning and how it benefits academic learning so we are delighted to be part of the programme.”
Schools selected for the pilot will be provided with a package of support which includes funding and expertise from a Creative Associate to enable them to explore the potential impact of the arts and creativity on school life. With the support of their Creative Associate, schools will develop a Creative School plan and design a unique programme that responds to the needs and priorities of their school. This process will support children and young people to challenge themselves in new ways, to gain in confidence and to take a more active role in learning
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan T.D., said:
“Today is a hugely significant moment, not just for the Creative Ireland Programme, but for the thousands of children and young people who will have the opportunity to experience creativity as a key part of school life.
Today, we reinforce the idea that the arts are a powerful means through which our children and young people can develop their creative capacities and skills, which in turn will help guide and empower them as they embark upon their own journeys of discovery, inspiration and achievement.
I am delighted that every county across the country will have the opportunity to participate in the pilot Creative Schools programme and to see the range and diversity of schools who will begin the programme in September. Today’s announcement would not be possible without the support of my colleague Minister Bruton and the passion and commitment of the Arts Council and the many artists who will be involved in bringing the Creative Schools programme to life in the coming weeks and months.”
Minister Bruton said:
“I would like to congratulate the 150 schools who have been selected to participate in this first phase of Creative Schools. This initiative underlines the importance that arts and creativity can play in our education system, not just as a curriculum subject, but as a vital part of the personal development and creative expression of our children and young people.
Every child has the ability within them to be creative and through this initiative, and the support and resources of the team of Creative Associates working with teachers and students, they will have the opportunity to explore the world around them and discover a new way of learning.
I am delighted that the Department of Education and Skills is collaborating with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Arts Council on this exciting initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme and I look forward to visiting some of the Creative Schools later this year.”
The initiative is important because 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 curiosity. Engagement in the arts and creativity requires rigour, discipline and resilience, nurturing learners’ sense of agency and self-worth. This combination of skills underpins all successful learning.
The long-term aim is for every school nationwide to have the opportunity to participate in Creative Schools.
Director of the Arts Council, Orlaith McBride said;
“We are extremely grateful to all schools that applied to participate in this initiative as they have demonstrated the value they place on the arts and creativity in their schools and their commitment to this area. There is clearly a strong appetite in schools across Ireland to ensure their students have more opportunities to fully engage with the arts. We hope all schools will continue to engage with the Creative Schools initiative as it develops. We value the work of our partners at local and national level and hope this initiative will support schools to fully engage with the arts and cultural resources in their community, to develop and share best practice, and maximise the impact and reach of arts and cultural programmes and resources available to schools.”
McBride continued: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht for this initiative, as by working together we can better plan and provide for children and young people. Creative Schools is significant not only because of the benefits it promises in terms of young people’s learning and wellbeing, but because it enables us to ensure children and young people have better opportunities to fully participate in our cultural life in Ireland.”