DCU launches DCU Changemaker Schools Network to support teachers and students to address societal challenges

Programme will deliver new skills, methods and learning opportunities to help foster leadership, creativity, teamwork, empathy and active participation in communities

Dublin City University has launched a social innovation initiative to help primary school teachers and students across Ireland to put in place and lead programmes of change in their respective schools and wider communities to address societal challenges. 

An initial group comprising fifteen schools have been announced as part of phase one of the DCU Changemaker Schools Network. The overall ambition is to grow the network to enable primary and post primary schools across the island of Ireland to participate. The DCU Changemaker Schools Network will also support and reflect the work of DCU Institute of Education on teacher education, school leadership and educational policy. 

The initiative is co-ordinated by Fiona Collins who is seconded to the DCU School of Policy and Practice from her role as Principal of Francis Street School, and by Dr John White Assistant Professor at DCU School of Policy and Practice.

The concept of a Changemaker is “someone with the skills and confidence to lead change in their home, school or community.” 

The schools network will support teachers and students in areas such as student voice, agency and participation as well as social innovation and active and engaged citizenship to address societal challenges such as inequality, climate change and mental health.

The overarching goal is to help students develop their skills for critical thinking, empathy, teamwork, leadership, inclusion and to become active participants in their school and community to support sustainable and positive change. 
Speaking about the DCU Changemaker Schools Network Fiona Collins said, 

 “The DCU Changemaker Schools Network (DCU CMSN) is a new initiative in Irish education, seeking to support innovative schools. The skills and learning opportunities developed with and for students within the network closely align to the new Primary Curriculum which places a strong emphasis on agency, participation and a creative school pedagogy to foster active citizenship.”

 Speaking about the DCU Changemaker Schools Network Dr John White said, 

 “When we think about schooling and students’ experiences of schools, one of the critical questions is whether pupils actually see themselves as active agents in their own learning and active agents of change. DCU CMS sees this agency through the lens of teamwork and creativity, where pupils, parents and teachers alike work as teams in a mutually respectful and creative environment.”

The initiative will work with an initial group of fifteen schools who have all displayed an innovative approach to education, transformative leadership and connection with their wider communities. 

The participating schools are,

  • Francis St School, John Dillon St, Dublin 8
  • Our Lady Immaculate Junior School, Darndale, Malahide Road, Dublin 17
  • St Ultan’s Primary School, St Ultans’ School, Cherry Orchard Avenue, Ballyfermot, Dublin 
  • Dalkey National School, Glenageary Lodge, Glenageary, Dublin
  • Donabate & Portrane Educate Together School, Ballisk Common, Beaverstown, Donabate, Dublin
  • Eglish National School,Ahascragh, Ballinasloe, Galway
  • Scoil Bhríde Shantalla, Shantalla Road, Galway City
  • Galway Educate Together, Thomas Hynes Road, Newcastle, Galway
  • Tarmon National School, Castlerea, Roscommon
  • Little Angels Special School, Knocknamona, Letterkenny, Donegal
  • Scoil Íosagáin, St Mary’s Road,Buncrana, Donegal
  • Our Lady and St Mochua’s Primary School, 91 Derrynoose Road, Keady, Armagh
  • Corpus Christi, Moyross, Limerick
  • St Columba’s GNS with facility for Deaf Children, Douglas West,Cork
  • St Oliver’s National School, Ballycasheen, Killarney, Kerry