Minister Foley invites applications from schools for funding to work together on Creative Projects

Published on: 25 March 2022

The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today invites primary and post-primary schools across Ireland to apply for Creative Clusters, an initiative taking place as part of Creative Ireland and under the Schools Excellence Fund. The Department of Education’s budget for Creative Clusters in 2022 is €595,000.


Under this scheme to support schools to build capacity in creativity, schools in each cluster will enjoy access to a specialist facilitator, artist or creative expertise in whatever their chosen area of interest or theme might be. These resources will help the schools to build a project of learning and activities tailor-made for their students. As part of this funding allocation, a cluster may receive up to €15,000 funding to help bring their plans and ideas to fruition in 2022-2024.


Minister Foley said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for schools to work together on a project of their choice. Schools are given complete freedom to design and develop their own project, with support from a local facilitator and their local education centre.

“I hope that this exciting initiative will help schools to further enhance creativity in their classrooms. It is important that our children are enabled to express themselves and learn to adapt and collaborate. ‘Creative Clusters’ gives students of all ages the opportunity to develop these essential skills, enjoy and explore artistic and creative expression.”

To date, the Creative Clusters initiative has seen schools around the country work together to develop creative projects and collaborate on new ideas based on their local experience and unique perspective.

In Kerry, in association with the Education Centre Tralee, St Joseph's NS, Fybough NS, Kiltallagh NS, St John's Parochial School, and LCA Youthreach Tralee are focusing on an exploration and performance of the creativity and talent developed by students during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Entitled “Creative Carnival”, they are exploring their inventiveness and individual creative flair in different areas of creativity, resulting in a diverse range of talents to showcase, particularly in areas that would not normally be given a performance space. This project will incentivise all styles of creativity by generating opportunities to share in a peer mentoring style. It is a multi-cultural, multi-denominational, cross-sector, cross-curricular initiative, giving broad scope for development of the learner’s decision-making and fostering their voice as the integral part of the devising process. Learners become leaders and ambassadors of their own brand. By the end of year one, it is intended that these brainstorming sessions will result in a video showcase, assessing the progress of the project, helping to guide and set targets for the process the following year, working towards a final performance in year two.


In Athlone, Westmeath and Roscommon in collaboration with Athlone Education Centre; five post -primary schools are working together on a project involving ICT disciplines of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.  These include Athlone Community College, Our Lady's Bower Secondary School, Marist College, Coláiste Chiaráin and Moate Community School. Entitled “Code4Fun”, this Creative Cluster project is providing students with a blended learning experience, integrating the disciplines of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation. They are focusing on ensuring that students experience technology, collaboration, innovation, creative thinking and entrepreneurship in an applied and hands-on practical manner. The primary focus of the cluster is to use real-world problems to challenge the students to create innovative product-oriented technical solutions.


In West Cork, in association with West Cork Education Support Centre; St Mary's Primary School and Ardagh Boys National School have come together with Mount St Michael Secondary School on a journey of sound and song, exposing the pupils of the three schools to the vast potential of the journey of music, from idea to performance.  Through a series of workshops facilitated by specialised professionals within the areas of song writing, group singing, music and technology, sound recording, lighting, set/video design, the teachers and pupils of all three schools are experiencing a variety of different elements in the music industry. Pupils are working collaboratively with opportunities to develop, share and grow their talents/ideas collectively. The final element of this Creative Clusters project is a recital/ production/ recording where the pupils will be given the opportunity to showcase all that they have learned in the previous two years.


The Schools Excellence Fund of the Department of Education sets out to encourage and recognise excellence and innovation in our schools. This initiative will help deliver on the Creative Youth pillar of Creative Ireland, which sets out a commitment that every child in Ireland has practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, arts and coding.


Further information is available from the Department’s website here.

The application process will be open from 21 March 2022 until 13 May 2022.