After a short embargo we are delighted to be able to announce that Rathfarnham Educate Together is one of 150 schools nationwide to have been awarded the opportunity to engage with Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools initiative, an initiative which aims to ‘put the arts and creativity at the heart of children and young people’s lives’.

Creative Schools is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme to enable the creative potential of every child. Creative Ireland is a culture-based programme designed to promote individual, community, and national wellbeing and is the main implementation vehicle for the priorities identified in Culture 2025/Éire Ildánach. The five-year Creative Ireland programme (2017-2022) contains five pillars. The Department of Education and Skills will be a key partner in implementing pillar one: Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child, and will be working in conjunction with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Arts Council. The plan for pillar one, Creative Youth, was launched in December 2017. The Creative Youth plan aims to put arts and culture at the centre of young people’s lives, both inside and outside formal education. It recognises that arts and creativity can act as vehicles for learning which can be utilised to support the learning of other subjects and acknowledges the ongoing work in classrooms, and that the formal education system is vital in delivering the commitment in the Creative Ireland programme. Recent announcements around Creative Schools and the ‘Schools Excellence Fund – Creative Clusters’ form part of the actions in the plan.

Applications for Creative Schools were invited from schools in March 2018 and 150 schools have been notified of the success of their applications. As well as the appointment of a creative associate to each school to help develop the school’s chosen project, there is also a very welcome investment of €2,000 towards the cost of implementing the project. In addition, under the plan, the “Teacher/Artist Partnership as a CPD model to Support and Enhance Arts Education” CPD course will be made available in the summer of 2018. The Arts Council received applications from close to 400 schools from across the country to participate in Creative Schools from September 2018. We are delighted that RETNS was one of the successful applicants and participation in this exciting initiative will be a whole school community endeavour beginning in September 2018.

According to the creative schools website;

this pilot initiative will understand, develop and celebrate the arts and creativity in schools. It will establish a range of collaborative opportunities for schools and will develop and strengthen the relationships between schools and the broader cultural and community infrastructure within which they operate. 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 children and young people.

RETNS involvement

Members of our staff devoted their considerable expertise and a lot of time into preparing our proposal for application. As well as receiving €2,000 to spend on arts education in the school, the school will be assigned a ‘creative associate’ who will work with staff in progressing ideas and bringing the project together. Arts education has always been a strong point in RETNS, and staff, children and parents have collaborated on many occasions to complete major projects or to introduce new ideas to children. We have also been proactive in participating in the annual Artist in Schools programme run by DLRCC and have been involved in numerous exciting projects under the scheme. We actively seek out opportunities to become involved in arts projects or cross-curricular projects organised by local organisations, some recent ones to mention are the Dodder Monsters Project, St.Enda’s Build-A-Scarecrow, the Wildlife Postcards Competition and the DLRCC Inclusion Week Art Competition. In all of these children have produced some fine work and many awards have come our way.

We all look forward to exciting times ahead in this latest initiative!

Minister Katherine Zappone TD tweets her congratulations below:



Inspiration comes from the work of other artists, from nature, from stories or from the great outdoors. Children also use their imagination and creative skills to design and make and love to collaborate with each other, with staff and with parents.