Heritage in Schools Scheme

The Heritage in Schools Scheme provides a panel of 160 Heritage Specialists who visit primary schools throughout the country.

The Specialist's areas of expertise range from bats to whales, from Vikings to the history of bread, from story-telling to traditional dance, and from charcoal making to military heritage, to mention just a few.

The Scheme supports the stated aims and objectives of the Social, Scientific and Environmental Education (SESE) curriculum and provides an additional educational tool and resource for teachers

Through the Scheme, the children can also develop a knowledge and appreciation for the uniqueness of their locality through trips to local parks, woods, lakes, rivers, sea-shores, old graveyards, castles or churches or other places of interest through structured field trips with a Heritage Expert.

The visit is part-funded by both the school and the Heritage Council.

Aims of the Scheme

  • To generate greater awareness, respect, interest and appreciation of our heritage among primary school children (4-12 year olds) by encouraging both teachers and pupils to engage with their local heritage in a hands-on, interactive and meaningful way, through place-based learning.
  • To encourage learning in the outdoor classroom in order to address the increasing decline in time spent outdoors by Irish children.

What lesson topics does the Scheme cover?

The Scheme funds visits which support the SESE curriculum [only] where the topics link in with the stated aims of the Scheme as outlined above.

Lessons should relate to local heritage and may cover heritage topics as defined by the Heritage Actmonuments, archaeological objects, heritage objects such as art and industrial works, documents and genealogical records, architectural heritage, flora, fauna, wildlife habitats, landscapes, seascapes, wrecks, geology, heritage gardens, parks and inland waterways.

The Scheme supports heritage topics in the more broader sense including culture, genealogy, folklore, oral heritage and local history and aims to strengthen the links between art, culture and heritage.

Visits covering the Green School's 'Biodiversity' theme are funded through the Scheme - the other themes in the Green School's programme do not come under the remit of the Scheme.

How the Scheme works

  1. Obtain approval for the visit from the School Principal or Board of Management.

  2. Select a Heritage Expert from the Heritage Experts list.

  3. Contact the Heritage Expert and arrange the date, time and duration of the visit.

  4. Plan the content of the visit with the Heritage Expert and decide what preparation must be undertaken by the expert, the teacher and the pupils prior to the visit.

  5. All bookings must be made in advance of visit with the Heritage Council. Please use our online booking system. Failure to book in advance, may result in the visit not being subsidised by the Heritage Council.

  6. The cost of the visit must be paid directly to the Heritage Expert after each visit. Travel costs are covered by the Heritage Council.

  7. A short evaluation form must be completed after each visit.

  8. The number of children participating in a visit by a Heritage Expert should not exceed 30.

  9. The teacher must remain with the class and the Heritage Expert at all times during the visit.

  10. The Heritage Expert is not expected to supervise pupils alone, or to visit for longer than the agreed time.

  11. Bookings can only be made for the current calendar year.

  12. The Five Series: if a school books five visits with the same Expert IN THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR the fifth visit will be free i.e. the Heritage Council will cover the full cost of the fifth visit. The visits must take place in the same calendar year.

How much does a visit cost?

Duration of visitHalf Day (2.5 - 3 hours)Whole Day (5 - 5.5 hours)
Cost to school €60 €100
Cost to Heritage Council €50 €100
Cost to designated disadvantaged school €40 €60
Cost to Heritage Council €70 €140

Seai One Good Idea

Inspire lifestyle changes to save energy and help tackle climate change. This annual SEAI school competition is open to primary and post primary schools.

Each year we ask both primary and post primary school children to come up with One Good Idea to combat climate change. The competition serves to both educate and motivate children to take action.

One Good Idea video

About One Good Idea 

We all use energy every day at home, in school, and when we travel. Could we use less energy and still meet our needs? Every year we ask primary and post primary students to come up with One Good Idea that will:

  • Save energy
  • Help tackle climate change
  • Inspire lifestyle changes in the people around them

This year we are asking you to make a 1 minute film and launch a creative awareness campaign about it in your community. The film and campaign should show people in your community how your One Good Idea can make a difference to them, their pocket and our planet.

Download a short teacher's guide

Regional Finals

This year, for the first time, we will be holding regional finals in a cinema near you. All teams who are shortlisted and make it to Stage 2 will get the opportunity to make a 1 minute film and watch it on the big screen! We are delighted to partner with Omniplex cinema to host both our regional and national finals.

80 teams have made it to stage 2, find out who they are.

Get started now

Visit the topics page to get ideas for your One Good Idea project. watch videos from previous years and check out winning projects from 2018/2019. This will all help to inspire you and get you started.


It's easy to enter the One Good Idea competition , please note it is now closed for 2020 . Simply follow the instructions below and be in with a chance of watching your film on the big screen at your local cinema! Lots of great prizes up for grabs .  

Stage 1 - Campaign Proposal 2nd September - 25th OctoberStage 2 - Regional Finals November - February 2020Stage 3 - National Final 23rd April 2020

Register your team and get working on your proposal.

Shortlisted teams activate their campaign. This involves making their 1 minute film, promoting it in their community and presenting their campaign at the regional finals in February.

Events take place: Cork 24th February, Limerick 25th February, Longford 26th February and Dublin 27th February 2020

The winners of the regional finals compete at the National Final in Dublin.


The SEAI One Good Idea National Final scheduled for 23 April in Dublin has been cancelled. SEAI are currently considering alternative options to conclude the competition with the finalists. Once concluded we will post details about the winners here.

To access the SEAI Website, please click here  https://www.seai.ie/community-energy/schools/one-good-idea/


Well done to Meanscoil Gharam, Enniscorthy Co. Wexford who won the SEAI One Good Thing Junior Competition in 2018

About the campaign

The Food Fanatics wanted to get people to take action on climate change! The team set up an awareness campaign aimed at educating primary and secondary school students about food miles, our carbon footprint and climate change. The students got very creative with the production of T-shirts showing off their campaign logo in an effort to raise awareness of their One Good Idea.


A quiz took place which was presented to students along with an informative presentation. Meanscoil Gharman have been very supportive of the team’s goal to educate young people about climate change and have shared their work on Instagram. Posters have been made and circulated around the school and a speaker was invited in order to encourage students to think about purchasing locally made products.


Well done to Well done to all the schools in our catchment who came in the SEAI One Good Idea Top 70 Teams 2019

Please click here to view the list of schools https://www.seai.ie/community-energy/schools/one-good-idea/how-to-enter/One-Good-Idea-Top-70-Teams-2019.pd

Marine Projects

The Explorers Education Programme™ aims to build on Ireland’s marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity.


1. Educate school children, teachers and educators in Ireland, enabling them to understand the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean, through outreach activities in Ireland.

2. Coordinate professional development training and workshops for teachers and trainee teachers, to develop their marine literacy skills and promote the use of marine content in line with the national curriculum.

3. Develop education materials and resources based on the Irish school curriculum to support teachers teaching marine subjects in schools.

4. Promote ocean literacy and marine outreach activities with local communities, educators and influencers so as to create dialogue and engagement about our ocean.




Forbairt is a Leadership Development programme for a school leadership team, comprising of the principal, deputy principal  and another teacher leader. Forbairt is constructed on an action learning model and is designed to support school leaders to explore leadership in their own context.

A teacher leader is any teacher who is engaged with leadership (formally or informally) in your school. They may have a formal leadership role in the school as an Assistant Principal but this is not essential. Schools that do not have a third member of staff are equally eligible to apply for the programme.

The programme is based on an Action Learning process which enables professionals to learn and develop through engaging and reflecting on their experience in the company of peers as they seek to address real-life problems in their own organisations. It generates learning from human interactions arising from solution-focused approaches to real-time, real-world work challenges. Over the course of the year participants come together for a number of  two-day residentials, one-day courses and a number of Action Learning Community small-group meetings (ALCs). Supports are provided throughout the year as participants undertake, reflect on and gain feedback on the implementation of a Leadership Development Project (LDP) Examples of projects. undertaken are available in the Forbairt Projects section of this website. 

Forbairt has a big impact on our leadership of learning. The following feedback was given by a group of Cork-based principals and deputies when asked what they had done in the course of the school year which impacted on learning in their schools.

*The key principles of action learning communities can be summarized as follows:

  • Personal action is the basis for learning
  • Focuses on real, contextual problems which are happening in your school
  • Uses a questioning insight, geared towards goal-directed and reflective thinking, as a vehicle for learning.
  • Is a collaborative (social) exploration  (all learning is social)
  • Has emergent learning outcomes

(Fox 2009; Simpson and Bourner 2007; Pedler, Burgoyne and Brook 2005; Rigg and Trehan 2004)


The following content is explored during the Forbairt course:

The Forbairt programme contains the following elements,

  • Attendance at two residential modules (one in Term 1 and one at the Term 3, with three one-day modules in between)
  • Attendance at three one-day modules (pre-midterm Term 1, pre-midterm Term 2, post-midterm Term 2)
  • Engaging in school based action throughout the year
  • Taking part in an Action Learning Community which meets three times during the course of the year in your locality.
  • One school visit from PDST Personnel to support your leadership of the school based action


Is there substitute cover for Forbairt?

Yes. Cover is provided for teaching deputy-principals and principals on all Forbairt days.

Can a principal take part in Forbairt without their Deputy Principal, or vice-versa?

No. Both principal and deputy must apply together.



"Working together as Principal and Deputy in the context of Forbairt has been rewarding and enjoyable. As a team we really feel we are moving forward together now. Many thanks for this opportunity."

"Forbairt was excellent - reaffirming in many ways but thought-provoking and challenging in other ways. The projects are well worth undertaking. The local action groups also worked very well - effective sharing and pleasant camaraderie"

"Forbairt was a great learning opportunity and a chance to develop the relationship between myself and my principal. It was also a great chance to network with other professionals and hear about a variety of school contexts. The projects gave great insights into how how schools run and how different leaders handle different situations. Overall a very worthwhile experience and chance to develop myself as a leader."

"The whole idea of sharing good practice is wonderful and while schools may manage to do this within their own staff, it is rare to get the opportunity to share with leadership teams in other schools as we did in Forbairt. A follow up programme would be great and very beneficial."

"The whole Forbairt Programme was inspiring. I feel more energised and 'charged' with new ideas. As helpful as the I.P.P.N. Conference and that is saying something! Buíochas mór. Bail ó Dhia ar an obair agus go leanfaidh sé"

Digital Schools of Distinction

The Digital Schools of Distinctin (DSoD) Award is in the process of incorporating the Digital Learning Framework fully into its critria. This means we have finished taking on new schools under the currenit criteria. In the mean time you may register for DSoD here and we will contact your school when the new award scheem is up and running. 

Digital School of Distinction Award | ralet.ie

The Digital Schools of Distinction Award and flagship scheme, DSoD, under the DES, has now finished its first successful cycle of implementation with Dublin West Education Centre and will no longer be accepting new registrations from schools.

Criteria for the New Digital Schools Award have been compiled and chosen and our new website will be live shortly for schools to apply for this transformative and exciting Award in 2021.

We look forward to once again engaging with schools all over Ireland and to Awarding Digital excellence, innovation, creativity and transformation in new Green, holistic  and Sustainable ways that promote wellbeing and digital futures in whole-school communities. 

Ag súil go mór le bualadh libh go luath.


Digital Schools of Distinction is a flagship programme which aims to promote, recognise and encourage excellence in the use of technology in primary schools. 

Department of Education and Skills

Schools that successfully complete the 3 step programme will receive a nationally recognised Digital School of Distinction Award, accredited by the Dept. of Education.  Digital Schools of Distinction will also receive free ongoing practical support and resources as part of the community of digital schools in Ireland.


Click here to access digital schools website

County Wexford Education Centre

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