Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

The Arts in and out of School: Educational Policy, Provision and Practice in Ireland Today

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

The Arts in and out of School: Educational Policy, Provision and Practice in Ireland Today

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Arts in Education Charter was launched in January 2013 by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Denihan TD and Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairi Quinn TD. This landmark document is a joint commitment by the two government departments "to promote both arts education and the arts-in-education among children and young people through the alignment of a joined up, integrated and collaborative approach across Government Departments, education agencies, and arts organizations" (cf. Arts in Education Charter website). Much of the Charter's content derives from the more extensive report Points of Alignment (2007), which was produced by the Special Committee on the Arts and Education. This report came about after the then Minister for the Arts, Sports and Tourism, now Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with the cooperation of the Minister for Education and Skills, established a Special Committee on the Arts and Education to "advise the Arts Council on how best to align the Council's strategies for the promotion and encouragement of the arts with the priorities of the formal education system" (Points of Alignment, p. 8). The process of collaboration fulfilled a "long-standing wish" by the Arts Council to work more formally with the Department of Education and Skills (Points of Alignment, p. 4).

Arts Council

The Arts Council (An Chomhairle Ealaíon) is the Government's advisory body on the arts in the Republic of Ireland. Following the findings of the Bodkin Report on the Arts in Ireland (1949), it was established in 1951 as a new statutory body under the terms of the first Arts Act (1951). Its function, as broadly defined in each of the three Arts Acts (1951, 1973, 2003), is to stimulate interest in the arts; to promote knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts; to assist in improving standards in the arts; and to advise the Minister and other public bodies on the arts through various types of funding initiatives, publications of research on the arts, and by undertaking a range of projects to promote and develop the arts, in partnership with others (cf. Arts Council website). As noted in both Points of Alignment and the Arts in Education Charter, the Arts Council has been a primary agent of both policy and practice in the arts-in-education. But while it has supported key arts-in-schools resources and programmes, and acted as advocate for arts education, the primary responsibility for "arts education" remains both with the Department of Education and Skills and education providers (Points of Alignment, p. 3; Arts in Education Charter, p. 3).

The Arts Council published two landmark reports following the second Arts Act (1973), the first, Provision for the Arts (1976) known as the "Richards Report", and the second, The Place of the Arts in Irish Education (1979), known more generally as the "Benson Report". The Richards Report surveyed the state of the arts in Ireland up to and including the time of its publication, and concluded with a list of recommendations to enable the Irish Government to best support the arts in Irish society. Recommendations relating to arts education included the need to further develop arts education in schools, to include more art subjects to examination level, especially in boys' schools, and to promote not only the training of practitioners but an understanding and enjoyment of the arts among all Irish people (Richards Report, pp. 115-19, 99). This report was followed three years later by the Benson Report, a highly significant report that was regarded for many years as the "cornerstone for policy and action by the Arts Council in the field of education" (Points of Alignment, p. 3). It highlighted the place as well as the grave neglect of the arts in Irish education. The distinction between "arts education" and the "arts-in-education" that is found both in Points of Alignment (p. 3) and the Arts in Education Charter (pp. 3, 10) only emerged in Irish educational policy documents dating from the late 1980s through to the 1990s. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.