Wicklow schoolchildren benefit from additional funding for Writers in Schools scheme

29th November 2019

Wicklow schoolchildren are benefitting from a new writer being added to the Poetry Ireland Writers in Schools scheme, thanks to funding provided by Wicklow Arts Office. 

Poetry Ireland delivers the scheme on behalf of both Arts Councils on the island of Ireland. The increased funding from Wicklow Arts Office has enabled them to bring Bray children’s writer Sadhbh Devlin onto Writers in Schools where she will have the opportunity to work with hundreds of schoolchildren in the future. 

More than 1,300 schoolchildren across Wicklow have enjoyed workshops with some of Ireland’s leading writers – including Marita Conlon McKenna and Alan Early – as part of Writers in Schools this year. 

Sadhbh (pictured above) visited St Brigid’s National School, Greystones, recently as part of mentoring and training for writers joining the Writers in School scheme. 

Through this programme, Sadhbh had the opportunity to shadow her mentor, children’s writer and poet Lucinda Jacob, and then worked with the St Brigid’s schoolchildren, bringing out huge smiles in the classroom. 

Wicklow Arts Office has provided funding for Poetry Ireland to curate a lively and wide-ranging programme of literary events in schools across Co Wicklow throughout 2019. 

Anna Bonner, Writers in Schools Development Officer at Poetry Ireland, said that the organisation is always excited to be able to bring a new writer onto the Writers in Schools scheme. 

“Thanks to the support of Wicklow Arts Office, we’re delighted to have Sadhbh Devlin joining our dedicated team of artists,” she said. “We aim to offer schools a wide range of writers and storytellers to choose from in as many parts of the country as possible. 

“We see how the creative energy sparked by these first-hand encounters with writers can trigger an appreciation of the emotional and intellectual power of language that lasts a lifetime.” 

L-R: Maureen Kennelly (Director of Poetry Ireland), Sadhbh Devlin, Lucinda Jacob, Máire Costello (Principal of St Brigid's National School), Jenny Sherwin (Wicklow Arts Officer), Anna Bonner (Writers in Schools Development Officer at Poetry Ireland)

Wicklow Arts Officer, Jenny Sherwin, said it was a wonderful opportunity for children and schools to work with authors in the classroom.  

"We are particularly delighted to support national to local partnership in the arts and look forward to continued success with the roll out of the scheme with Poetry Ireland,” she said. 

More than 1,300 young people in schools including ones in Wicklow town, Bray, Avoca, Ashford and Rathnew have enjoyed meeting and working alongside writers such as Marita Conlon McKenna, Alan Early, Catherine Ann Cullen and Kevin McDermott during 2019. 

The Writers in Schools scheme part-funds visits by writers and storytellers to primary and post-primary schools in the Republic of Ireland (funded by The Art Council) and Northern Ireland (funded by Arts Council Northern Ireland). The scheme has been running since 1977, making it one of the longest running arts-in-education programmes in the country. 

More than 500,000 children and young people across the island have experienced working with a writer since Writers in Schools was established.