An Taoiseach launches Creative Youth – A Plan to Enable the Creative Potential of Every Child and Young Person

Commitment to support Music Generation roll-out nationwide by 2022

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, T.D., together with the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ms. Josepha Madigan, T.D., the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr. Richard Bruton T.D.,  and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe T.D., will today (Thursday 7th December) launch Creative Youth – A Plan to Enable the Creative Potential of Every Child and Young Person.

Creative Youth, which is being launched in St Laurence O’Toole’s Girls National School, Seville Place, sets out measures to deliver on one of the key goals of the Creative Ireland Programme, to ensure that every child in Ireland has practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, art and coding by 2022. Underlying this plan is a firm conviction that creativity and culture should be at the heart of education for all our young people. There is a very broad range of cultural activities available to children and young people and this Plan aims to build on what already exists while simultaneously developing new projects and initiatives.

Underpinning the vision behind Creative Youth are four long-term strategic objectives: Supporting collaboration between Formal and Non-Formal approaches to Creativity in Education; Extending the Range of Creative Activities for our Young People; Embedding the Creative Process by developing programmes that will enable teachers to help young people learn and apply creative skills and capacities; Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teachers working in Early Years, Primary and Post Primary Schools.

The first stage of implementation of Creative Youth, which is a five-year Programme, involves a series of key actions for 2018-2019.  One of those actions relates to the very successful Music Generation programme.  Music Generation currently reaches over 41,000 children and young people, both inside and outside of school. That number will increase substantially as a result of nine new Music Education Partnerships which were announced in 2017.  As part of Creative Youth, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD., announced that the Music Generation programme will now be extended countrywide as soon as possible, and certainly by 2022. The Department of Education and Skills will work closely with Music Generation in developing the arrangements for this roll-out.

Other priority actions included in the Plan include:

  • Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools initiative, bringing artists into the classroom, will be piloted.
  • A Creative Clusters Schools Scheme to generate creative cultural and artistic projects will be piloted.
  • Creativity programmes for young people in disadvantaged communities will be developed.
  • An Early Years CPD Project will be developed and existing Primary Schools and Post-Primary Schools CPD Projects will be mainstreamed.
  • Increased opportunities for students to learn coding and computational thinking will be introduced.
  • Opportunities to participate in drama/theatre outside of school will be expanded.
  • A strategy to develop and extend choral singing will be developed.
  • Cruinniú (formerly Cruinniú na Cásca) will be redesigned and developed as a national creativity day for children and young people in consultation with the local authorities;
  • Local Creative Youth Partnerships will be established on a pilot basis.
  • Implementation of additional elements of the Arts in Education Charter will be supported

Speaking at the launch today, an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD., “We know that children who get involved in the arts and cultural activities are happier, suffer less anxiety and do better at school. We want to encourage our young people to be creative thinkers, to expand their minds and to ensure they have the chance to fully explore the joys of creative and cultural endeavour, whether that’s learning to code, dance or sing. This won’t just help them to prepare for the future, it will also add to their sense of wellbeing. Creative Youth has the potential to have a lasting and positive impact on this generation of young people, as it opens them up to a world of culture and creativity. This ambitious plan will be of great benefit to children, and should hopefully prove very popular with their mums and dads too.”

Speaking today the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ms. Josepha Madigan, TD., said: ” Creative Youth is a hugely ambitious Plan that commits us to ensuring that by 2022 every child will have practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, art and coding.  There are 17 actions contained in the Plan which will help us to achieve this ultimate aim.  However, this is a five year Plan, and in some respects a journey into the unknown. It will take time to get everything right.  We are building on policies and programmes that are already in place and working well.  But we are also introducing new and innovative programmes and initiatives.  To get the very best results, we need to plan carefully, measure the impact of what we are doing and examine all of our options.  2018 will be a year of pilot programmes for a number of these new initiatives.  We will work across the various Government Departments and agencies to make sure that what we are doing has the greatest possible impact on the wellbeing of our children and young people.  Creative Youth represents the beginning – not the end – of this process.  There will be a lot more to come between now and 2022”.

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD., said: “I have set the ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe within a decade. Ensuring our children are creative, flexible thinkers is key to delivering on this ambition in a modern society. Pillar One of the Creative Ireland Programme puts a strong focus on developing such skills by setting out a plan for every child in Ireland to have practical access to music, drama, art and coding by 2022. This plan aligns well with our recently launched STEM Education Policy Statement 2017-2026 which includes a commitment to introduce a new primary Maths curriculum, which for the first time will include elements of coding and computational thinking and also the objectives we have laid out in the Arts in Education Charter. The commitment to support the rollout nationwide of the Music Generation programme, which receives Exchequer funding from my Department, is a clear indication of the government’s intentions for the Creative Youth plan”

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD., added: “As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs I am delighted to celebrate the launch of the Creative Ireland Programme Creative Youth Plan. This innovative plan will strive to enable the creative potential of every child and young person. A core principle in this plan is that the voice of children and young people should be heard in both the development and delivery of programmes. Listening to and involving children and young people in this way is a vital process in Ireland today. Responding to the needs of young people by including them in decision making can promote children’s protection, improve their confidence, communication skills and ability to negotiate, network and make judgements. Education in the arts, culture and creativity lends itself naturally to this kind of child-centred ethos and is well placed to act as a beacon for other subject areas.” 

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe TD., said: “Creative Youth, which I am delighted to say, is being launched today in St Laurence O’Toole’s Girls National School, Seville Place, provides a clear statement that this Government believes in cultural value for young people.  I am a firm believer that engagement with the arts and creativity can help young people to develop self-confidence and identity, show them that they can be creative and imaginative and that their expression is valued by society. Just last year, the Arts Council and the ESRI published an extremely important report called Arts and Cultural Participation among Children and Young People.  That report shows that Irish children who participate in artistic and cultural activities cope better with schoolwork, have more positive attitudes towards school later on, are happier, have reduced anxiety, better academic skills and fewer socio-emotional difficulties than those who are less engaged.  Creative Youth can successfully build on this by placing arts, culture and creativity at the very centre of education and development for all of our children and young people”.

Creative Youth is available to download at creative.ireland.ie

The Creative Ireland Programme is an all of Government five-year initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which places creativity at the centre of public policy. It is built around five pillars: Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child; Enabling Creativity in Every Community; Investing in our Creative and Cultural Infrastructure; Ireland as a Centre of Excellence in Media Production; Unifying our Global Reputation. Further information on Creative Ireland is available at creative.ireland.ie or on Facebook and Twitter @creativeirl


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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