Following a call for applications in June, the Arts Council has announced that 186 new schools and Youthreach centres will join the Creative Schools initiative.
Established in 2018, the two-year scheme provides Irish primary and post-primary schools and Youthreach centres with €4k in funding to implement a creativity plan in their school or centre as well as nine days per school year with an artist/creative associate to help them develop and implement that plan.
The school can use the funding for any range of activities, from working with artists to engaging with local arts organisations, and from providing performance opportunities for children to professional development for teachers. It can also be used for visits to galleries, theatres, heritage sites, cinemas, museums and local arts centres.
The scheme began with 150 schools and more have been added each year. The additional 186 schools for 2022–23 means that approximately 20 per cent of the schools in Ireland will have participated in the scheme.
Creative Schools is an initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme and is led by the Arts Council in partnership with the Department of Education and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Commenting on the announcement, Minister for Arts Catherine Martin said:
I would like to congratulate the 186 schools and Youthreach centres that have successfully applied to become a Creative School and now have the opportunity to embark on a two-year journey to place creativity at the heart of their school communities. With the addition of this new cohort, 1 in 5 schools in Ireland will have experienced Creative Schools since the programme commenced in 2018 and this year sees an increase in the diversity of settings in receipt of support. This is a testament to its impact and the strength of the partnership between the Art Council, the Department of Education and the all-of-government Creative Ireland Programme.
Approximately 80 artists/creative associates have been employed by the scheme to work with schools. Among them are mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty, sean-nós singer and visual artist Ceara Conway, accordion player Damien O’Reilly and percussionist Brian Fleming. There will be an open call for more artists to join the creative associate panel in 2023.
Of the 186 schools joining this year, there are 132 primary schools, 35 post-primary schools, 10 special schools and 5 Youthreach centres. Also joining the programme are four schools who cater for young people with severe emotional and behavioral challenges; Oberstown Children Detention Campus School, Ballydowd High Support Special School, Crannóg Nua Special School, and St Canice’s Special School will join the programme and receive enhanced supports.