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Creative Clusters 2024 - 2026 Applications Now Open

The Department of Education is pleased to announce the opening of a new round of Creative Clusters. The deadline for receipt of applications is 10th May 2024.

Each Creative Cluster will receive grant funding of €3,000 per school over a two-year period to implement their project 2024–2026. 

  • 3 schools would receive €9,000
  • 5 schools would receive €15,000 

In addition to financial support above each cluster will also receive: 

  • A Creative Cluster Facilitator 
  • Teacher Substitution to attend Workshops and Meetings
  • Room hire, travel & subsistence

Please see the following link for more details: Creative Clusters 2024 ( Guidelines  

Applications are to be completed online using the following link:


Creative Clusters 2024-2026 Application Form apply here: Appendix 1 

Please note only online applications will be accepted.

Applications are to be completed online using the following LINK, should you need assistance, please contact your local full-time Education Support Centre (list at Appendix 1 of Guidelines document on DE website) or use this link Appendix 1

Any queries, please contact your local Education Support Centre or email National Arts in Education Administration This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Eligible Schools - The following schools are welcome to apply to participate in Creative Clusters:

  • Schools that have not yet participated in Creative Clusters.
  • Schools that have  not yet participated in Creative Schools and those who will complete Creative Schools Year 2 in the 2023/24 school year.
  • Schools that will complete Creative Clusters Year 2 in the 2023/24 school year. However they must apply as part of a cluster who have not yet participated in the initiative. In this instance, it is required that this school applies to lead a cluster of schools that are new to the initiative.
  • The local Education Support Centre will have a key role in identifying and supporting a Creative Cluster for their local area.
  • 42 Creative Clusters will be selected nationally - 2 per Education Support Centre.


Creative Clusters is an initiative of the Department of Education, led by and in partnership with the 21 full-time Education Centres (Education Support Centres Ireland - ESCI) and funded through the Schools Excellence Fund.

Creative Clusters Application Form (English Version)

Creative Clusters Application Form (Irish Version)


To view the press release on the DE website please use the following link:

To view Creative Clusters 2024 on the DE website please use the following link:




Ficheall 2023/2024

Ficheall 2023/2024 is the national network of primary teachers promoting chess in their schools for the social and cognitive benefits it has for primary school students. Ficheall teachers use chess as a tool to teach through and an opportunity for their students to develop new skills and values, as well as representing their school at Ficheall tournaments called Féile Fichille (chess festival).


The website contains many excellent resources created by fellow primary school teachers such as:

       A series of 10 beginner chess lessons (with optional integration to the SPHE curriculum)

       List of CPD chess courses for teachers (summer, evening and online courses)

       Chess numeracy puzzles

       Ficheall newsletters with chess updates

       Online Teacher Chess Club


Ficheall Summer Course

Cork Education Support Centre have hosted the Chess for Social Skills summer course previously with great success. Upon completion of this course teachers can play chess (most attend the course having never played chess before) and can teach the basics of chess to students in their class while also teaching key SPHE curriculum objectives from 1st to 6th class (all of this without worksheets).


Féile Fichille Chess Tournaments

Féile Fichille tournaments are non-competitive chess tournaments organised annually in Term 2. No medals, prizes or trophies are presented. Instead, the day is a celebration of the students learning chess and social skills as well as their teachers’ leadership skills to introduce the initiative in their school. For many students it is their first opportunity to wear their school jersey and represent their school. More details about Féile Fichille Tournaments can be found here (including a checklist to ensure students are ready for the Féile Fichille)


Féile Fichille Timeline

       September: Registrations Open

       October: Registrations Close

       November: Schools informed of tournament date and venue

       January/ February/ March: Féile Fichille tournament will be scheduled in term 2. Registered schools will be allocated one Féile Fichille tournament to attend. Schools are required to be at the venue at 9.30am with the event concluded by 2pm


Contact Us

If you have any queries regarding the Féile Fichille Tournaments please contact Ficheall using the Contact Us link here.



Representatives from Cork Education Support Centre were delighted to attend the Ficheall chess tournament in Fermoy on  23rd Janaury 2024.
Congratulations to all the participants and organisers on a wonderful event.

Call-Out for Artists / Creative Practitioners for the Teacher-Artist Partnership+ CPD Programme

Announcing a wonderful opportunity for Artists (all art forms/creative practises) / Creative Practitioners to broaden their practice, receive training and project fees, develop creative partnerships with teachers, and transform the lives of children in every County in Ireland



is a Creative Ireland, Department of Education led and approved Summer Course offering:



-       Open to artists / creative practitioners, working in any art form / creative practise, who are committed to sharing their practice with children and teachers in a modern primary school environment

-       Specialist, week-long training (3rd – 7th July 2023 based in Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin to prepare the artist / creative practitioner for the unique requirements of working harmoniously in partnership with a teacher within the modern Irish classroom

-       A training allowance of €150 per day over the initial 5-day training/induction week (€750 in total), plus travel with daily lunch provided.

-       Brokerage and development of partnerships with creative teachers, in schools committed to contemporary arts learning, practice and creativity.

-       Guarantee of a paid, follow up in-school-residency within a local primary school (€1,100 Fee total inclusive of €200 Travel) to carry out a 20-hour project (14 contact hours plus 6 hours planning, preparation and evaluation) in partnership with your teacher partner throughout the 2023/2024 academic year

-       Artists / Creative Practitioners are required to complete at least one or two TAP+ in-school Residencies following participation on the TAP+ Summer Course.

-       As you will be a TAP+ trained artist/creative practitioner, you will also be eligible to participate in the forthcoming 2023/2024 BLAST in-school residencies. If you are available, we would be obliged if you could complete at least one or two BLAST in-school Residencies. Please use the following link for more information on the BLAST initiative: BLAST Information

-       Information, learning and networking opportunities for further freelance work within the education system.

Artists / Creative Practitioners must

·       have a track record of a minimum of three years’ professional practice in any art form / creative practise

·       demonstrate an interest in / commitment to: the principles of Arts and Creativity in Education and to enhancing the lives of children through arts/creative practice

·       be willing to learn about modern classroom culture and to work in equal partnership with teachers

·       Combine a sense of fun, joy and collaboration with professional dedication and high artistic/creative vision

·       Be willing to undertake child protection training as part of the induction week, and undergo standard Garda vetting before taking up project placements.

Artists / Creative Practitioners can apply to be part of the scheme via expressions of interest along with an application. These should be sent to the Director of your local Education Support Centre: no later than 5pm on Friday 23rd June 2023.

Expressions of interest should be in the form of a letter of max 600 words, accompanied by a CV or short Bio with links to images or samples of relevant work.

The letter should set out:

1.           Where you trained

2.           A very brief description of your practice

3.           Why you might wish to work in partnership with a teacher and with children in a school setting

4.           What you think qualifies you to take up this opportunity

Places on this national Creative Ireland CPD initiative are limited to four Artists / Creative Practitioners per full-time Education Support Centre area. Final decision on offers of places will be taken by the Director of the local Education Support Centre in collaboration with the Local Authority Arts Office. Any queries in relation to the Teacher Artist Partnership+ CPD Summer Course should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BLAST Artist List 2023

Please find below a list of the artists who will be participating in the BLAST Residency initiative in the 2023/2024 school year.

Please note that this list is not complete and will be updated regularly.

Full details about BLAST can be found here: