The arts in and out of school: Educational policy, provision and practice in Ireland today

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Dowling Long, Siobhán
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Kura Publishing House
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The debate relating to the place and value of the arts in Irish Education is one that has dominated educational policy, provision, and practice down through the history of Irish educational policy from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Indeed, interest in this topic has been re-ignited with the recent publication of two educational policy documents, one based on the arts-in-education in and out of school The Arts in Education Charter (2013), and the other on the development of children and young people’s literacy and numeracy Literacy and Numeracy For Learning and Life: The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011––2020 (2011). Despite the Irish Government’s commitments to promote the arts in and out of school, this paper draws attention to the lack of any real investment in the Arts in Education Charter by the Irish Government, and the neglect of policymakers to include references to national and international educational research on the value of the arts for enhancing children’s life-long learning. Noting the pressures on primary teachers to allocate more time to the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, it highlights the potential threat of this initiative to the primary school arts education programme. Finally, it draws attention to the notable absence of an arts education programme for the majority of senior post-primary pupils who leave school without any in-depth knowledge and appreciation of their rich cultural heritage. This is an area of grave concern, and one that has received very little, if any, attention to date.
Arts in education charter , The national strategy to improve literacy and numeracy , Arts education , Arts-in-education
Dowling Long, S. (2015) 'The arts in and out of school: Educational policy, provision and practice in Ireland today', International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 8(2), pp.267-286. Available at: (Accessed: 19 September 2023)