11 September, 2019 – Ministers Madigan and McHugh announce new and enhanced initiatives to support creativity in schools

  • The number of Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools will double to 300, with an additional 150 schools joining the initial pilot group.
  • 77 additional primary and post-primary schools will join the Schools Excellence Fund – Creative Clusters to collaborate on innovative arts and creative learning projects in their local areas.
  • Three new Local Creative Youth Partnerships will be piloted in Kerry, Laois/Offaly and Limerick/Clare education and training boards to forge new collaborations and enhance the use of existing resources.
  • The first Creative Schools National Celebration will take place from 4-8 November.

Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Joe McHugh TD, Minister for Education and Skills today (11 September, 2019) announced details of the additional 227 schools that will have increased access to creative activities as part of the Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools and Creative Clusters initiatives. In addition, three new Local Creative Youth Partnerships have been established.

The expansion of these initiatives, as part of the Creative Ireland Programme, places arts and creativity at the centre of school life for over 100,000 students. .

A national celebration of the arts and creativity in schools participating in Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools will take place from 4-8 November 2019 at schools and venues across the country. Children and young people will have the opportunity to showcase their experiences of the arts and creative learning through their involvement in the initiative.

Speaking at the announcement in the Catherine McAuley National School, Baggot Street, Dublin, Minister Madigan said: “I am delighted to be here today to welcome the Catherine McAuley National School as one of our new Creative Schools. These initiatives help to deliver on the ambition of the Creative Ireland Programme and the unprecedented commitment by two government departments and the Arts Council working in harmony, to promote the integration of arts in education.”

Minister Madigan added:Culture and creativity are powerful means through which children and young people can explore communication and collaboration, stimulate their imaginations to be inventive and harness their curiosity. These are vital skills for all young people to learn and I am delighted that, as a result of today’s announcement, an additional 40,000 students will have the opportunity to enhance their learning experience and personal development through creativity.”

Welcoming the announcement, Joe McHugh, Minister for Education and Skills said: We want all children and young people in Ireland to have access to learning in the creative arts, as part of a full and rounded education. Today’s announcement represents a significant increase in our investment in Creative Schools, Creative Clusters and the Local Creative Youth Partnerships. It will enable us to deliver more fully on our ambition to support and nurture the creative potential of our young people within our school communities.

It is fantastic that the talent of our young people is now being fostered through this range of creative programmes. We want to nurture creative potential, help our young people develop an appetite for discovery and encourage them to acquire the skills they need to achieve their ambitions. I look forward to seeing some of the results of these collaborations and initiatives in action in the first Creative Schools National Celebration in November.

Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council said:“The Arts Council is committed to providing children and young people with more opportunities to participate in, and enjoy, the arts. The Creative Schools initiative has been a really successful way of inviting thousands of young people all across Ireland to explore their creativity, guided by the expertise of artists and other creatives in their own communities. We are delighted that this year the initiative will be supporting a further 150 schools and that many more children and young people will have this opportunity to participate in the arts in a very tangible and meaningful way.”



The list of Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools 2019-2020 can be accessed here.

The Creative Ireland Programme is a culture-based programme, all of Government initiative which places creativity at the centre of public policy, and is designed to promote individual, community and national wellbeing. Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools, Creative Clusters and the Local Creative Youth Partnerships are supported under Pillar 1 – Creative Youth. You can find out more here.

Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme and is led by the Arts Council in partnership with the Department of Education & Skills, the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs.

  • Creative Schools was launched in 2018, with 150 schools selected to participate in the first round (commencing at the start of the 2018/19 academic year).
  • Schools that are selected to participate 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.
  • Each school is allocated a grant of €2,000 to implement their individual plans.
  • The initiative was opened to a second tranche of 150 schools in 2019.
  • Total funding of €2.36m is being provided in 2019 to support the initiative.

Creative Clusters is a pilot initiative of the Department of Education and Skills, led by and in partnership with the Teacher Education Centres (ATECI) and funded through the Schools Excellence Fund. A Creative Cluster consists of between 2 and 5 schools collaborating on the design, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of an innovative arts and creative learning project which supports them to address 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.

  • The Creative Clusters initiative commenced in the 2018-19 academic year with 23 clusters established comprising 71 schools countrywide.
  • In the academic year 2019-20, 21 Creative Clusters, potentially of 5 schools each, comprising 77 schools will be established.

Local Creative Youth Partnerships (LCYPs)

Three LCYPs are being piloted following an application process:

  • Kerry Education and Training Board
  • Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board
  • Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board

These Partnerships are networks which enable information sharing, collaboration between local creative youth service providers to bring about better use of existing resources, practices and initiatives in an ETB area. These new partnerships will act as agents of change in their communities, unlocking new ways of working and supporting the creative and cultural education of thousands of our children and young people.