New fund announced to support creative learning in the classroom
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Education Authority and the Urban Villages Initiative are backing a new programme to inject more creativity into the classroom, in a bid to improve educational outcomes for students.
With an initial investment of £120,000, the Creative Schools Partnership is being tested as a pilot scheme and will begin by working with 10 post-primary schools and communities where there has previously been a history of deprivation and community tension.
The programme is based on research which indicates that access to quality arts experiences in school can benefit all aspects of learning. These include better engagement and attendance levels, improving results in other school subjects, increasing confidence and self-motivation, and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.
Ten schools serving Urban Village areas have been awarded funding to take part in the first phase of the programme. They are:
- Malone College
- Mercy College
- St Vincent’s Centre
- St Colm’s High School
- Blessed Trinity College
- Belfast Model School for Girls
- Ashfield Girls’ High School
- Ashfield Boys’ High School
- St Joseph’s Boys’ School, and
- St. Cecilia’s College.
The schools will be working with artists on a range of creative projects including, script writing, music, journalism, photography, film making, animation, ceramics and digital fabrication.
The Arts Council is investing £60,000 from its National Lottery funds into the scheme. Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “We are delighted to be working with the Education Authority and the Urban Villages Initiative to deliver this new creative programme in schools and to bring the benefits of the arts to those areas where we know they can make the greatest societal impact.
“While the 10 projects are all very different, what they have in common is that they will each help the young people involved develop their own sense of self-belief, as well as supporting their learning and development in all aspects of school life. I know that all of the schools involved are very much looking forward to bringing the artists in and getting started. We look forward to seeing the result of their hard work over the coming months.”
Linsey Farrell, Programme Director, Urban Villages Initiative, commented: “We are very proud to be supporting this programme and its delivery to a number of schools serving Urban Village areas across Belfast and Derry~Londonderry. It is an opportunity for young people to learn new skills and improve their self-confidence through a wide range of exciting and creative projects. The programme will also seek to promote positive mental health and well-being which is a key theme for the Urban Villages Initiative.”
Chairperson of the Education Authority, Sharon O’Connor, said: “The Education Authority is delighted to welcome this much needed boost to arts and creativity in local schools. Young people from communities challenged by multiple layers of deprivation and ongoing tensions will benefit from enhanced access to resources to explore creative projects. The experiences they will acquire will benefit them, their schools and communities, ultimately enriching school life.
“The breadth of subject matter they have identified demonstrates the practical concerns they will explore through work with professional artists.”