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Architects in Schools 2019/20: open for school applications!


The IAF’s Architects in Schools initiative will begin again in September 2019 and applications for schools to participate is now closed…

Architects in Schools is devised and delivered by the IAF and co-funded by the Arts Council, the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The programme is delivered in 30 schools around the country annually, typically as a Transition Year module, and has been running since 2013.

Architects in Schools provides second-level students with first-hand experience of the design process under the guidance of an architect or architectural graduate working in close collaboration with their teacher. The initiative will support specifically trained architects to link with schools and deliver student workshops, spending approximately 12 hours in the classroom with the teacher, usually delivered over two to five sessions. The programme makes us of online resources and a publication for students, teachers and architects called My Architecture Design Journal. For further information please visit: www.mydesignjournal.ie

Student experience:

Students will experience architecture through hands-on design workshops and stimulus activities. The initiative is designed to compliment the aims of Transition Year and connects to many areas of the second-level schools syllabus, with rich opportunities for cross-curricular learning and development of specific skills and knowledge relating to design and architecture. Working closely with design professionals will enable students to gain an insight into working life and enhance awareness of career choices.

Participating students will:

— participate in the design process of architecture

— develop an appreciation of the importance of design and architecture

— use initiative, innovation and design thinking

— gain an insight to the professional life of an architect, and awareness of related careers

— learn about building for a sustainable future and about their architectural heritage.

— gain skills in debating, problem-solving, teamwork and presentation by communicating with their peers and adults

— gain new practical skills and build on existing abilities (eg. sketching, technical drawing, model-making, writing and photography.)

The scheme is complimentary to many Senior Cycle subjects, including Art, Sciences, Design and Communication Graphics, Construction Studies, Home Economics, English, History & Geography. The project-based learning approach of the scheme supports individual research and classroom based activities, providing diverse learning opportunities and curricular links. The initiative also provides specific enhancement of numeracy and literacy, design thinking and innovation.

Application process:

Due to extremely limited places, participation is determined through an application process. The IAF selects 30 schools per year in which to deliver the programme, and they are a mix of new and returning schools across the country. When selecting schools we also take into account availability for the teacher to attend our skills sharing day, availability of space within the school and the school’s ability to timetable the programme suitably. Applications should be made online by 31 May 2019 for the best chance of participating, and it should be noted that additional documents need to be signed by your school principal. The checklist for applying is:

— online application form

— declaration signed by your principal, scanned and emailed to education@architecturefoundation.ie

— garda vetting shared agreement signed by the nominated teacher or your principal, scanned and emailed to education@architecturefoundation.ie


Criteria for participating schools:

When participating in Architects in Schools, schools agree to fully comply with all of the following criteria:

1) Teacher involvement: A nominated teacher will collaborate with the architect during advance planning sessions and during class workshops. Teachers must be present during class sessions and provide support to the architect. Class discipline is the responsibility of teachers. The scheme is designed to include teacher participation and functions as collaborative training for participating teachers. The cross-curricular nature of the project presents an opportunity for teachers from other subjects to participate and/or contribute valuable perspectives.

2) Garda vetting: All participating architects will be garda vetted by the IAF, except in cases where a school’s policy explicitly states otherwise. All schools must sign a shared agreement with the IAF, setting out the arrangements for obtaining garda vetting disclosures and the sharing of information obtained through a vetting disclosure to enable schools to host an architect or architectural graduate for the programme. Garda vetting disclosures will be held by the IAF and will be reviewed every five years in line with our child protection policy. Please see the garda vetting shared agreement attached.

3) Participation in training: The nominated teacher (and paired architect) is asked to attend and participate in the Architects in Schools skills sharing day on the agreed date Wednesday 25 September 2019. The aim of the skills sharing day is to a) prepare teachers and architects effectively for the programme, b) establish a supportive and creative network regionally/ nationally, and c) gain ideas for the project based on the experiences of past participants and through discussion with all present.

NB: it is mandatory for all participating teachers and architects to attend the skills sharing day. Failure to attend may result in losing your place on the programme.

4) Allocation of time: The school timetable must accommodate the scheme, allowing 12- 14 hours of class contact time, which we recommend is split into minimum two and maximum six sessions to allow adequate time for the required activities of the programme as well as set up and tidying time, as needed. Timetabling is the responsibility of the school and architect working together.

Due to limits on the architects’ allocated paid time, it is useful for teachers to provide additional class sessions to allow students to complete their project work between architects’ visits.

5) Resources: Provision of art materials for the project is the responsibility of the school, under the guidance of the architect. Appropriate materials are important to enable students to undergo project work successfully. Allocation of materials budget is estimated at €150-200 (in reality, this is likely to be a simple request for some sheets of foam board for example, not at great cost).

6) Allocation of space: A dedicated area for project work is ideal if available for drawing, model making, discussion and display. For example an art / construction studies room or workshop space and storage between workshop sessions for models and drawings. Participating schools are encouraged to hold a display / presentation event at the end of the project, for students to present their projects to a wider audience such as other teachers/ classes/ parents or a public event.

7) End-of-year ceremonies: Attendance at an end-of-year national exhibition and sharing session where students can display their work alongside the 29 other schools who have taken part in the programme and give short presentations on their work. The date for this exhibition event will be in mid-April 2020.


Enquiries: contact Aideen McCole, Education Curator, Irish Architecture Foundation // 01 874 7205 // education@architecturefoundation.ie