Arts in education

For information on all organisations funded by the Arts Council that work in schools please see the Arts in Education Directory (2007).

                 tower of babel
Performing Arts Learning Support (Pilot)

Post-Primary Teachers Delegation/ Young Critics at the Dublin Theatre Festival

Pilot initiative 28 September-6 October 2013

The Arts Council is pleased to be piloting an initiative in partnership with the National Association for Youth Drama (NAYD), the Abbey Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival and the Association for Teachers’/Education Centres in Ireland (ATECI). Last week, twenty post-primary teachers followed NAYD's Young Critics programme at the Dublin Theatre Festival.  The teachers attended a workshop led by the Abbey Education Department and NAYD at Drumcondra Education Centre on Saturday 28 September. They then saw three shows in the Dublin Theatre Festival, which were also viewed and critiqued by sixteen young people participating in NAYD’s Young Critics programme. The programme culminated with the Young Critics Forum on Sunday October 6 at Project Arts Centre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Participating teachers have been exploring how a critical engagement with contemporary theatre supports learning in the post-primary curriculum.

This initiative is part of a Performing Arts Learning Support (PALS) feasibility study being carried out by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon as a result of a review of theatrical presentations of curriculum plays conducted in 2012. The feasibility study is being conducted in the context of the Arts in Education Charter, jointly launched by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Minister for Education and Skills in December 2012.

For more information:  

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Artists~schools guidelines

Artists~Schools Guidelines is designed to provide practical guidelines that will empower artists and teachers to work in structured and respectful partnerships with young people in order to enhance their learning, enrich their experience of the arts and develop their creativity.

It is intended to assist teachers and artists, pupils and primary carers, schools and arts organisations, policy-makers and providers, and all those interested in Artists~Schools practice. The guidelines may also prove useful for arts projects and programmes in other social and community settings.

Artists~Schools Guidelines is a product of a partnership between the Department of Education and the Arts Council. The document was devised by a Steering Committee and a Core Group drawn from both the arts and the education sector. Artist~Schools Guidelines was published in 2006.

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Arts, education and other learning settings: a research digest

This report contains a digest of information on 72 research reports published in relation to the arts in education in Ireland between 1979 and mid-2007, as well as more detailed summaries of 14 of these reports.

As the advisory body to Government on the arts, the Arts Council recognises the value of research as a discipline. It is through research that we garner the solid evidence that informs policy, provision and practice in the arts. In fulfilling its advocacy role, the Arts Council commissions and publishes research that strengthens the case for the critical role of the arts in shaping people’s lives and contributing to their social, cultural and economic well-being. Research undertaken in Ireland into arts and education is in line with a significant body of international research highlighting the distinctive role of artists and arts organisations in the teaching and learning process. This body of research also underlines the fact that the multiple skills and intelligences required to engage in the arts are transferable and extend into many areas. The Arts Council’s rationale for commissioning the development of a research digest was to provide artists and arts organisations, educators, researchers, policy-makers, managers and other stakeholders with a central source of information to underpin future policy, research, advocacy and practice.

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Points of alignment, the report of the special committee on arts and education

The Special Committee on the Arts and Education was established in 2006 by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, in tandem with the Minister for Education and Science tasked with advising on aligning the Arts Council’s strategies for promotion and encouragement of the arts with the priorities of the formal education system. The committee consisted of nominated representatives from the arts and education sectors with special knowledge of the intersections between the two fields.

The resulting report Points of Alignment focuses on arts-in-education provision in Ireland and makes five key recommendations to improve such provision. Arts-in-education involves artists of all disciplines (theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, music, film etc) visiting schools to present work and to engage in both short and long-term projects in which they collaborate with young people. It also includes visits by schools to galleries, theatres and arts centres for exhibitions, performances and workshops of all sorts designed to enrich the school experience of thousands of young people throughout Ireland.

The report suggests ways in which both key government departments and the Arts Council could act on a joint basis to increase investment in arts-in-education so as to extend the reach of such work and to deepen its impact.

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Schools' Touring Exhibitions

In 1986, the Arts Council wrote to 20 Irish artists asking them to contribute to an exhibition on the theme of school. The artists were asked to respond to the theme from their own memories of schooling, or from their general attitudes to school. The artists’ responses formed the basis for the first Schools Show, which opened in County Monaghan in 1986.

The Schools Show was followed by seven other touring exhibitions: Heroes (1987), Heads (1988), A Special Place (1989), Tokens (1990/93), Inside Out (1994), Altered States (1995) and A room of one’s own (1999), all of which shared the same general objective to introduce the work of contemporary Irish artists to young people.

The exhibitions are designed so that they can tour easily between venues and have flexibility to be shown in virtually any space. A catalogue to aid young people, teachers and the wider school community in their appreciation and understanding of the work accompanies each show.

For further information contact Audrey Keane, Officer: Young people, children and education.

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Arts in schools programmes

Artist in Schools Scheme (Local Authorities)

The Artist in Schools Scheme facilitates a professional artist to make a series of visits to a school in his/her local county, to work with students on a specific project. Projects can range across artforms.

Most local authorities run this scheme. Please contact your local arts officer for more information.

Writers in Schools Scheme (Poetry Ireland)

The Writers in Schools Scheme is one of the longest running arts-in-education programmes in Ireland. 2007 marked the 30th anniversary of the Scheme, run by Poetry Ireland and funded by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

The Scheme part-funds visits by writers and storytellers to primary and post-primary schools throughout the Republic of Ireland. These are over 250 writers and storytellers for schools to choose from on the Writers in Schools Web-Director of Writers.

For more information please visit the website of Poetry Ireland at

Creative Engagement (National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals - NAPD)

Creative Engagement is managed by the NAPD. The scheme entails a partnership approach to the promotion and development of the arts in second-level schools, based upon positive interaction between artist, teacher and learner.

Please visit the website of the NAPD at for more information and contact details.

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Links to more Arts in Schools information

Encountering the Arts conference, November 2010

The Encountering the Arts conference was the third in a series of events held during 2010 which aimed to interrogate the current relationship, and explore possibile synergies, between the arts and education; and respond to the recommendations of Points of Alignment (Arts Council:  2008).  Previous events included Creating Conversations 2.88 MB, Adobe PDF) organised by the Department of Arts Education and Physical Education at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick (January 2010).

The primary professional development service (PPDS)

The PPDS subsumes and develops the work of the former Primary curriculum support service (PCSP) and School development planning support (SDPS). There is an arts co-ordinator in each of the six regions and a link to each of the 21 Education Centres.

Irish National Teacher's Organisation (INTO)

Visit the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation at

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI)

Visit the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland at

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