Schools around the country are being invited to apply to become part of digital clusters, as part of an initiative launched by the Department of Education today.

The School Excellence Fund - Digital is part of the Government's overall strategy to make digital technology a central part of teaching and learning across the country.

The clusters will see schools work together on projects that will help to achieve this aim.

Examples of these might include using technology to facilitate curricular change or to improve literacy and numeracy.

Typically between four and six schools will be in each cluster which can be made up of just primary schools, just post-primary schools, or a mix of both.

The cluster will operate for three years and will be provided with resources to achieve their aims.

These include a grant of €30,000 on average per cluster for software, hardware, training and other needs.

They will also receive paid substitution cover to allow teachers to attend network, training or showcase events.

A cluster co-ordinator will provide each school with support from the lead or co-ordinating school.

Online support and training will also be provided.

The department says that if a group of schools already has a defacto cluster and plan idea, they can apply together.

But if a school wishes to apply individually they can do so and will be placed in a cluster with like-minded schools.

Applications can be made from today up to the 26th of January, with selection of the clusters taking place from then until the 16th of February.

The opening event will take place in the middle of March.

The fund was previously announced as one of a range of actions in the government's Digital Strategy and STEM Education Policy, but the School Excellence Fund - Digital was officially launched today.
 

The department says that if a group of schools already has a defacto cluster and plan idea, they can apply together.

But if a school wishes to apply individually they can do so and will be placed in a cluster with like-minded schools.

Applications can be made from today up to the 26th of January, with selection of the clusters taking place from then until the 16th of February.

The opening event will take place in the middle of March.

The fund was previously announced as one of a range of actions in the government's Digital Strategy and STEM Education Policy, but the School Excellence Fund - Digital was officially launched today.