COVID-19 is a massive disruption to Ireland’s education system. It exposes already vulnerable people to further educational disadvantage. It widens inequality and makes educational opportunities even harder to reach. Now is the time for swift action.
This is why Rethink Ireland has created the Education Innovation Fund 2020 – 2023. The Fund seeks to improve equal access to education and promote economic empowerment.
We created the Education Fund with the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development (via the Dormant Accounts Fund). We will match funds raised by applicants and we will provide cash grants and a variety of business supports.
This Fund has three strands:
1. Transitions in Education
The pandemic affects people making ‘transitions in education’. For example, students sitting their Leaving Certificate this year experienced increased anxiety.
Making a transition in education can include; starting early learning care and school; moving from primary to secondary school; and moving to further education, training and employment.
This strand also welcomes projects using the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
2. 21st Century Models and Methods of Education
A 21st-century education gives learners the skills they need to succeed. It also helps them to grow their confidence in practising those skills. It teaches skills such as motivation, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and social-emotional learning in an educational setting.
This strand welcomes paradigm-changing approaches to primary and secondary education.
3. Reversing the Effects of Poverty on Educational Outcomes
It is well-documented that poverty affects educational disadvantage. People living in poverty face more stress and anxiety during this period of uncertainty and high unemployment. Educational guidance at this critical time can have a lasting impact on employment opportunities in the future.
This strand will focus on projects that tackle educational disadvantage. It welcomes projects that provide holistic support to marginalised groups of people on their education journey. It will support projects which address the intersectionality of educational disadvantage through early intervention, all the way through to adulthood.
The deadline for applying to the Education Innovation Fund is 5:00 pm on Monday, 8th March 2021. Please apply here.
Rethink Ireland matches philanthropic funds raised* by successful applicants to provide:
* Applicants must provide evidence to verify the private funding has been secured
You will be required to provide a ‘Donor Letter of Commitment’ when submitting your application.
The minimum commitment accepted is €20,000 and the maximum commitment accepted is €200,000. The period for this commitment must be more than 2 years.
If you are successful, you will be asked to provide further evidence to verify the private funding you have secured.
How the funding process works:
For example: If an applicant raises €60,000 in private funds over 3 years (€20,000 per year), Rethink Ireland will provide an uplift of €30,000 (€10,000 per year). The total Rethink Ireland cash grant will be €90,000 over 3 years (which is €30,000 per year).
Please note, the Rethink Ireland Board will decide how much money to award successful applicants. This may be less than the amount requested. The amount awarded to each applicant will depend on how many organisations are selected.
We invite applications from organisations that support children, young people and adults who are socially excluded, marginalised or living in poverty. Organisations will also be working to mitigate educational disadvantage in Ireland.
Projects that support the following target age groups are all eligible to apply to this Fund:
The Fund will especially focus on projects that:
For this reason, we particularly welcome projects which support:
Rethink Ireland Criteria
Education Fund Criteria
The project must indicate progress along, or retain a position on, the National Framework of Qualifications or Early Learning and Care.
The project must address educational disadvantage in a manner that is new, or that complements, or adds to, the existing innovations in The School Excellence Fund DEIS (Department of Education and Skills), the Department of Children and Youth Affairs’ Let’s Get Ready Programme and the Tusla Education Support Services.
The project must meet the criteria outlined in the below strands.
Strand 1. Transitions in education
Projects must support marginalised people going through educational transitions, such as:
Strand 2. 21st Century Models and Methods of Education
Projects should meet one or more of the criteria below:
Strand 3. Reversing the Effects of Poverty on Educational Outcomes
Projects should meet one or more of the criteria below:
Which projects cannot apply?
Which applicants cannot apply?
Complete the online application form by 5:00 pm on Monday, 8th March 2021. To complete your application form online, you will need to upload documents such as a three-year budget for your project (in Excel) and your financial statements.
We have tried to make the application process as accessible as possible but we understand that there may still be some difficulties for applicants. If you have access needs or are struggling with the application form, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be able to assist you then.
What happens next?
A team of experts will review the applications. If you are successful in the review process, we will invite your project leader to an interview. The interviews will take place in April or May 2021. The judges may do further checks or site visits. If you are successful, we will notify you in June.
What happens if our project is successful?
We will invite you to take part in our Accelerator Programme which runs from September 2021 to January 2024. This programme will include:
We will expect your project leader to devote at least 10 days per year to the programme.
What can we spend the grant on?
You may only spend the grant on the project which won the award. Rethink Ireland will agree on the specific use of the grant with you.
Please note: you cannot use the grant to pay off debts or buy land, buildings or equipment.
If my organisation has already or is currently in receipt of a grant from Rethink Ireland, can I still apply?
Yes. If you have previously been funded or are currently being funded by Rethink Ireland, you can still apply to the Education Innovation Fund. However, it is not possible for the same project lead on the same project to take part in two Rethink Ireland Accelerator programmes at the same time.
Who will decide who wins the awards?
The Board of Rethink Ireland will make the final decision on successful applicants.
What is the selection process?
Stage 1: Open call for applications (October 16th 2020 – March 8th 2021)
Stage 2: Selection process (March – April 2021)
Stage 3: Interviews (April / May 2021)
Stage 4: Final checks on short-listed applicants (May 2021)
Stage 5: Final decision by Rethink Ireland’s Board (June 2021)
How can we find out where we are in the selection process?
We will inform applicants by telephone or email.
Interviews and feedback
If we invite you to the next round of the application process, we will ask you to attend an interview. The project leader or project representative must attend this interview.
If selected for an interview, we will share the information you have provided with the judges.
The Rethink Ireland Board of Directors will choose the winning applications. They will make their decision based on recommendations from the panel of judges. The Directors’ decision will be final.
The Fund Panel may offer general verbal feedback to unsuccessful applicants who have reached the interview stage.
By applying for the Education Innovation Fund, you agree with the following:
By sending in your application, you accept these terms and conditions and our Privacy Statement. If you do not comply with these terms and conditions, you may be disqualified and may have to return any award granted.
Rethink Ireland will hold the personal details which you submitted with your application form. We will only share this information with the third parties administering the application and selection process unless we agree otherwise with you. Please see our Privacy Statement for full details.
If you decline an award or if the award is taken back because you did not comply with the terms and conditions, the Directors may select an alternative Awardee.
Rethink Ireland reserves the right to disqualify any entrant, to change the terms and conditions without notice, or to cancel the application process at any stage.
Where it is relevant, applicant organisations must be fully compliant with Children First guidelines and any child protection legislation and regulation that may be in force from time to time.