The announcement also included the creation of 21 new Creative Clusters (list available here), Minister Foley said: “The last few months have been particularly challenging for the whole school community. In these challenging times, it is important that our students are supported to develop their creativity and are given flexibility to allow them to face new challenges, and to express themselves in new ways. Today 72 schools are coming together to form 21 new Creative Clusters in an initiative which offers schools and students the freedom and flexibility to explore together new and exciting creative areas that are of interest to them. 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 years.”
In addition to announcing the new schools (full list available here) that will be participating in the third round of each programme, Minister Martin and Minister Foley also announced increased funding with the total support available for these two exciting initiatives rising from €2,900,000 to €3,600,000.
Minister Martin added: “I am particularly pleased that as part of the additional resources I have made available to the Arts Council during these unprecedented times, they have been in a position to facilitate an increased intake into Creative Schools this year – and that these additional places have been targeted at DEIS schools. This increased investment will enable even more children and young people to experience the joy of creative activity – to quote one of the teachers who has engaged with the programme over the past two years ‘If a child is happy and engaged and connected at school then their learning experience is going to be richer full stop’.”
Creative Schools aims to develop and celebrate the arts and creativity in schools. The initiative will support schools to develop and implement their own Creative School plan and strengthen the relationships between schools and the broader cultural and community infrastructure within their community.
The long term aim is for every school to be supported to fully embrace the arts and creativity, ensuring a positive experience and strong outcomes for our children and young people.
Applications are open to all primary and post primary schools as well as Youthreach settings from all over the country. A Creative Associate is allocated to each school to work with the young people on creative projects for up to nine days over the school year. The Creative Associate will support the school in developing a plan for the arts and creativity, and will assist in creating or developing links between schools and with artists and arts and cultural organisations locally and/or nationally. Where schools have existing school plans encompassing artistic, cultural and creative activity, the Creative Associate can assist the school to review and further develop these plans.
Participating schools undergo a two-year cycle in the Creative Schools Programme.
In May 2020, RTÉ One television aired a new documentary, commissioned by the Creative Ireland Programme which demonstrated the powerful effect that creativity has on our youngest citizens. Creative Kids was filmed over a period of several months as cameras charted the introduction of the Creative Schools programme into five different schools around the country. Creative Kids is available to view here on the RTÉ Player.