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269 new schools added to the Creative Schools & Creative Clusters initiatives

3 min read

269 new schools added to the Creative Schools & Creative Clusters initiatives

3 min read


269 new schools added to the Creative Schools & Creative Clusters initiatives

Ministers Martin and Foley have announced the 269 new schools due to participate in the Creative Ireland Programme’s Creative Schools and Creative Clusters initiatives.

This announcement means a further 188 schools will join the Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools initiative. Led by the Arts Council in partnership with the Department of Education, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht Sport and Media and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, selected schools are provided with access to a ‘Creative Associate’ to assist in developing a creative plan for each school. Creative Associates may be either teachers or from a range of creative professions who draw on their practical experience of ‘creativity’ to respond to each school’s individual needs.

Announcing the schools selected to participate in Creative Schools, Minister Catherine Martin said: “I am delighted to welcome a further 188 schools as our latest Creative Schools – the largest intake of schools in a single year since the establishment of the programme in 2018. This increased intake of schools, in line with the commitment made in the Programme for Government to expand the initiative, will enable even greater numbers of our youngest citizens to discover and develop new skills and talents that enhance their development and growth, and add to the richness of their overall learning experience through increased engagement with cultural creativity.”

Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council said: “The Arts Council is thrilled to welcome the wide range of schools and Youthreach centres across the country that are joining the Creative Schools programme for the period 2021-2023. These schools will participate in a guided journey to establish a Creative Schools Plan bespoke to each and every one of them. This creative and democratic process gives primacy to children and young people’s voices in creativity planning in their schools.”

"“In just three years almost 1,000 schools have been given the opportunity to engage with arts, culture and creativity in new ways”"

An additional 81 schools will also join the Schools Excellence Fund – Creative Clusters initiative, forming 21 new Creative Clusters. A Creative Cluster consists of between three and five schools collaborating on the design, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of an innovative arts and creative learning project which supports them in addressing a common issue or challenge, identified by that cluster. Clusters can consist of primary schools only, post-primary schools only or a combination of primary and post-primary schools. 

Announcing the creation of 21 new Creative Clusters, Minister Norma Foley said: “Now more than ever, it is important that our students are supported to develop their creativity and given flexibility to express themselves in a variety of exciting new ways. Today I am delighted to announce the 81 schools that are coming together to form 21 new Creative Clusters. I would like to welcome these new schools into this Schools Excellence Fund initiative, and I look forward to seeing how these exciting projects develop over the coming two years. This year has seen a very significant level of interest from schools applying to participate in the 2021 Creative Clusters initiative across the country. I am hoping to increase the number of Creative Clusters in the 2022 intake. 

In addition, the new BLAST initiative I announced earlier this year will also provide opportunities for schools to collaborate with established artists, supporting our children and young people to collaborate and engage in creative and critical thinking – all crucial skills for their futures. Applications for BLAST closed recently and I look forward to finalising the details of this exciting programme in the coming weeks.”

Creative Clusters is a pilot initiative of the Department of Education, led by and in partnership with Ireland’s 21 full-time education centres and funded through the Schools Excellence Fund. 

Close up of boy writing on paper

In addition to Creative Schools and Creative Clusters, the Creative Ireland Programme continues to support a wide range of both school- and community-based initiatives to enable greater participation by children and young people in all forms of creative activities. 

Minister Martin added: “Our ongoing commitment to Creative Schools and Creative Clusters has meant that in just three years almost 1,000 schools have been given the opportunity to engage with arts, culture and creativity in new ways, helping to enrich the learning experience of thousands of children and young people. Together with our continued investment in an array of community-based initiatives and projects, made possible by the Creative Ireland Programme, young people are being provided with evermore opportunities to engage in creative activities – not only as a support to their learning and development, but also for the sheer enjoyment and hopefully to develop a lifelong love of arts, culture and creativity.”

Find out more about Creative Schools here and see the 2021-22 list of participating schools here.

Details of new schools participating in Creative Clusters from September 2021 are available here.


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