Creative Cluster approach is part of the Schools Excellence Fund and the Creative Ireland Programme
68 schools to use art and creativity to address shared challenges and to achieve better learning outcomes
The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., today (20th of September) announced that 68 schools have been selected to participate in a network of Creative Clusters as part of the Schools Excellence Fund and the Creative Ireland Programme.
The Schools Excellence Fund is an initiative in the Action Plan for Education, the government’s plan to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.It sets out to encourage and recognize excellence and innovation in our schools. This initiative will help deliver on the Creative Youth pillar of Creative Ireland, which sets out a commitment that every child in Ireland has practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, arts and coding by 2022.
The benefit of the Creative Cluster approach is that it gives school leaders on the ground the support to collaborate on ideas based on their local experience and unique perspective. It allows them to work together, in some cases with higher education institutions and enterprise, and experiment to find creative solutions to complex problems. Successful approaches can then be shared across the school sector.
The Minister has set the ambition to make Ireland’s Education and Training service the best in Europe by 2026. This transformative approach to supporting local innovation will be key to realizing this vision.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Bruton said, “The Schools Excellence Fund provides new and exciting opportunities for schools. Never before have schools been funded to work together on innovative solutions and given the freedom to experiment with new projects to see what works and what doesn’t. I am committed to building on this initiative and expanding on this approach during my time as Minister.
“Creative Clusters is one of a range of activities forming part of the Government’s Creative Ireland Programme. Creativity and flexibility are key skills for our children and young people to develop in a modern society. This new initiative underlines my commitment to developing and fostering these skills in our children and young people.”
Participating schools will receive supports by having access to a facilitator – a specialist working in the cluster’s chosen area/theme, who will assist participating schools in developing their plans. Clusters will also receive €2,500 to help activate and animate their plans.
Creative Cluster’s plans are varied in their aims and ambitions, with one Donegal cluster project titled ‘Life – the Drama of it’. The schools are developing a plan based on the idea that drama can enable children develop resilience and self-confidence. The coming together of five schools in this cluster will give the children an opportunity through drama to develop key skills and learn about relationships while underpinning their own wellbeing. The initiative will allow the schools to work with local actor Maura Logue who will facilitate the project between the five schools.
In Clare, a group of five schools are working on a project titled ‘Science, Engineering and Creativity’. These schools will collaboratively develop and enhance work under the STEAM umbrella. Pupils will be tasked with using recyclable materials to investigate science problems, requiring them to consult, problem solve, communicate, design, test and present their ideas.
‘Art as a form of Communication’ is the theme of a five primary school cluster in County Kerry. The cluster will use the arts in education to discover the personal and inventive ideas of the children. This will play a major part in the development of the full range of intelligences, visual, auditory/musical, linguistic and kinaesthetic. By incorporating arts education into lessons, all the children will have the opportunity to be taught through the different learning styles.
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan T.D., welcomed the announcement. “This initiative underlines the importance of fostering creativity by integrating the arts and creativity into education, and the impact this can have on other areas of the mainstream curriculum including science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“Having schools engage in collaborative, shared learning around creativity is an exciting step for the Creative Ireland Programme. I am certain that these new Creative Clusters as part of the Schools Excellence Fund will have a positive impact on our children and young people in their learning experiences in schools.”
Other Cluster themes include:
- Creative Media
- Creativity and Transition from Primary to Post Primary School
- Green Forest
- Student Voice
Notes for Editors
Creative Clusters - Schools Excellence Fund
Creative Clusters is a pilot initiative of the Department of Education and Skills, led by and in partnership with the Association of Teacher Education Centres Ireland (ATECI). Creative Clusters provide schools with access to creative people, skills and resources that will support them to draw on their own skills and experiences and those within their wider communities. Creative Clusters is an important initiative of Creative Youth – A Plan to Enable the Creative Potential of Every Child and Young Person, which was published in December 2017 as part of the Creative Ireland Programme.
Total No of Clusters
Total No of Schools across the clusters
Name of School
1. Blackrock Education Centre
St Patrick's B.N.S
Rockford Manor SS
St Laurence B.N.S
Scoil Cholmcille SNS
St Laurence College
Greystones Educate Together NS
Newtown Mount Kennedy NS
2. Carrick-on-Shannon Education Centre
Scoil Mhuire Newtownforbes
3. Clare Education Centre
Scoil Mhainchín C.B.S. NS
Scoil Mhuire Lahinch
Scoil Realt Na Mara
4. Cork Education Support Centre
Gaelscoil Teaghlaigh Naofa
Scoil Iosagáin Infant School, Mallow
5. Co Donegal Education Centre
SN Éadan Fhionn Fhraoich, Glenties
St Riaghan's NS
SN Baile na Finne
St Mura's NS
St Oran's MS
Loreto Community School Milford
Scoil Mhuire, Milford
6. Drumcondra Education Centre
Mount Temple Comprehensive
7. Dublin West Education Centre
Mary Queen of Angels N.S. 2
St John’s college De La Salle
St Dominic’s College
Mary Queen of angels N.S. 1
8. Kilkenny Education Centre
St John's Senior NS
St John’s Junior School
Loreto Secondary School Kilkenny
9. Limerick Education Centre
St Pauls NS Dooradoyle
10. Laois Education Centre
St Fergals College, Rathdowney
Tobar an Leinn, Portlaoise
Scoil Bhride Boys NS, Tullamore
11. Sligo Education Centre
12. The Education Centre Tralee
St Michael's College
St Josephs, Ballybunion
13. Waterford Teachers' Centre
Newtown NS, Kilmacthomas
Glenbeg NS, Dungarvan
St. Declan's Ardmore
14. West Cork Education Centre
The Creative Ireland Programme
The Creative Ireland Programme is a five-year all-of-government, culture-based initiative that emphasises the importance of human creativity for individual, community and national wellbeing. It is led by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The programme is grounded in the belief that every person has creative capacities, the development of which contributes to their personal wellbeing as well as to the general wellbeing of our communities.
The Programme consists of five Pillars:
- Our Young People
- Our Communities
- Our Cultural and Creative Infrastructure
- Our Creative Industries
- Our Global Reputation
Creative Youth – the plan for Pillar 1
In December 2017, Creative Youth – a Plan to Enable the Creativity of Every Child and Young Person was launched. The ultimate aim is to deliver the Government’s commitment to ensuring that every child in Ireland has practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, arts and coding by 2022. The Creative Youth plan sets out a range of initiatives which will be piloted and implemented in the coming years, including Local Creative Youth Partnerships. The Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Arts Council are key partners in delivering Creative Youth.
Schools Excellence Fund
The School Excellence Fund is an initiative in the Programme for Government to encourage and recognize excellence and innovation in our schools. The Schools Excellence Fund is operating in a range of areas. These are:
- SEF – Creative
- SEF – DEIS
- SEF – Digital
- SEF – Gaeltacht
- SEF – STEM
- SEF – Step Up