Speech by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, at the launch of Creative Schools


I am really delighted to be here with you today and my colleagues in the Department of Education and the Arts Council at the launch of Creative Schools – the first initiative from the Creative Youth Plan – a really vital part of the Creative Ireland Programme.

Creative Ireland puts culture and creativity at the centre of public policy and an important milestone for the Programme was the publication last year of Creative Youth – a Plan to enable the creative potential of every child and young person.

Creative Youth is a cross-Government initiative – that means that people in my department, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, along with people in the Department of Education and Skills, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Arts Council are all working together to make sure that it is a success!

The launch of Creative Schools today is a really important point on our journey.

A famous American writer, Maya Angelou, once said “You can’t use up creativity – the more you use, the more you have” – this really rings true for me. Having access to the arts in our education system is really important for developing the creative capacities of the individual child.

Creativity is so important – in the future you may be working at jobs that don’t even exist today! Just imagine!  You have to be ready to take on these challenges and with increased access to creative activities and the arts – I know you will be.

Arts participation is also crucial to developing your own understanding of the wider world in which we all live and how to find your place in it. Putting arts and culture at the centre of education is important not just for developing creative capacities and skills but also for encouraging social responsibility and personal qualities and skills such as resilience, empathy, and a capacity for friendship.

Creative Youth is ambitious. But it is important to remember that 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 existing programmes and introducing new and innovative ones.  2018 will be a year of piloting these.

This pilot we are launching today – The Creative Schools initiative – aims to put the arts and creativity at the heart of children and young people’s lives.

It recognises that schools are different and have different strengths and interests. This Initiative will provide schools with the opportunity to develop a programme which responds to their unique needs with children and young people having a central role in shaping their own plan.  This is really important – your voices must be heard.

We really want to work together to make this initiative a success – the pilot will support schools to:

  • Use the arts to address a particular school priority in a different way;
  • Develop teaching and learning
  • Motivate, challenge and engage children and young people and ultimately
  • Develop the creativity of the school community

Creative Children, is an integral part of our vision for the future and it is being spearheaded by the Arts Council and I would like to thank them here today. We will be working together with all of our partners to push ahead with this and all of our other actions.

Working together will be the key to success – The Creative School Pilot is a chance for the Education community to embrace every aspect of culture and creativity in school life. Schools will be supported and funded to explore the potential impact of the arts and creativity on school life.  It is also a chance for the Arts community to enhance the lives of the children in their area by inspiring them with their love of the arts.

Inspiring creativity in our children and young people is a huge responsibility and Creative Schools hopes to create connections that will last into the future and help create a creative work force for the country.

The pilot is our way of trying a new way of working – we in Government need to be creative about how we drive policy. We need to try new things too – this is really important.

This pilot is an important first step in a longer process. The long term aim of Creative Schools 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.

I look forward to working with the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Arts Council over the next year to deliver on our plans.

Creative Youth is a Government Priority and we will all endeavour to make sure that we do our very best to make sure we get this right.

This is about realising the full creative capacities of our young people. As Albert Einstein said, “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” Creative Youth, and in particular Creative Children, represents the beginning – not the end – of this process.  There will be a lot more to come between now and 2022.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

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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