April 27, 2022

DUBLIN—UCD Innovation Academy and Harolds Cross Educate Together Secondary School today launched a first of its kind partnership that will see the two institutions working together over the coming years to explore the impact of creativity and innovation in the classroom. 

Teachers from Harolds Cross Educate Together Secondary School will participate in UCD Innovation Academy’s Professional Diploma in Creativity and Innovation for Education. These teachers will then be tracked as they return to the classroom to monitor how they incorporate creativity, innovation, the entrepreneurial mindset and 21st century learning skills into their teaching and the impact this has on their students’ experience and the overall teaching and learning approach of the school.

 “At UCD Innovation Academy, we believe it is essential to transform the education system in Ireland, and globally, so that students are ready to take on the challenges and opportunities of today. An education system that was designed for the 20th century must adapt in real and demonstrable ways to the needs and wants of the 21st century and we are thrilled to work with Harolds Cross Educate Together Secondary School in advancing this mission” commented Alan Morgan who leads UCD Innovation Academy’s Professional Diploma in Creativity and Innovation for Education. UCD Innovation Academy and  Harolds Cross Educate Together Secondary School share a commitment to creativity and innovation in education and this partnership will offer a unique opportunity to track the real-life impact this approach has in the classroom.”

The Professional Diploma in Creativity & Innovation at the UCD Innovation Academy invites educators from across the spectrum (primary, secondary, third level, further education and training among others) to reimagine their teaching practice and covers key concepts including creativity, innovation, design thinking, the entrepreneurial mindset and leadership for change. This unique programme brings educators together from different disciplines and levels of education and fosters an environment for the co-creation of education and builds an enduring community of practice.

“Harold’s Cross Educate Together Secondary School is delighted to form this partnership with UCD Innovation Academy” commented Pádraig Conaty, Principal of Harold’s Cross Educate Together Secondary School. “This partnership has the potential to embed deep creativity and innovation across our school community and enhance the learner experience for all of our students. Harold’s Cross Educate Together Secondary Schools aims to provide an outstanding curriculum and learning environment that equips our students with the knowledge and skills to thrive in the 21st century. The support of UCD Innovation Academy will enable us to measure the impact of these approaches as we help to prepare our students for jobs and careers which may not yet even exist. Our school’s ethos, vision and values align perfectly with the mission of UCD Innovation Academy and we are very excited to begin this journey with them.”

CEO of Educate Together, Emer Nowlan said: “We are excited about the potential of this new partnership between Harolds Cross ETSS and UCD Innovation Academy. The growing network of Educate Together schools are perfectly placed to champion important innovations to make learning more relevant and student-centred, and to ensure all students can reach their full academic, social and personal potential. Working with UCD Innovation Academy will enhance teacher capacity and creativity and enable learning and good practice to be shared.”

Dr. Deirdre McGillicuddy, Assistant Professor in Education in UCD School of Education shared opening comments at the launch of the partnership today, including:

  • How empathy, compassion and care must be the cornerstone of our education system – students have to want to come to school
  • The importance of nurturing relationships with our students
  • The importance of curiosity and wonder in our schools
  • How teachers must have agency to explore their creativity, to take risk, to be vulnerable,
  • The importance of partnerships – partnership with students, with each other, between education actors and the need to look outside of our schools for those partnerships, outside of our universities.

Now in its eighth year, the UCD Innovation Academy’s Professional Diploma in Creativity and Innovation for Education works with educators of all kinds to adopt creative, innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets into their teaching practice. Over 400 educators have completed the diploma since it began from primary to third level as well as educators in the music, sports and corporate learning and development sector. The partnership between UCD Innovation Academy and Harolds Cross Educate Together will include a longitudinal study allowing both institutions to track the impact of adopting creative and innovative approaches in the classroom.