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Design Thinking Pilot Programme for Schools

The Post-Primary Design-thinking pilot programme is an action research study run by designCORE and the Department of Humanities in IT Carlow, it is supported by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI).


The collaboration aims to develop a design thinking pilot programme for post primary schools in Ireland. The research is being carried out by Sandra Reid under the supervision of Carmel Maher, Colin Deevy and Dr. PJ White, as part of Sandra’s post graduate studies in design research.


In response to the needs of teachers and students, the research takes the form of collaborative co-design workshops with six designers, six teachers and twelve students from four participating second level schools in Co. Carlow.  The research and workshops investigate ways that designers can support teachers and students to develop creative approaches to problem solving.


The project seeks to address how design-led enquiry, can traverse various curricula within post primary education, so that a programme can be developed to align with various subjects which require creative thinking in the classroom. By crossing the boundaries between subject areas this approach will assist schools to prepare students to be future innovators.  The programme strives to develop students’ 21st century learning skills such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, divergent thinking and imagination.


Using Action Research, the development of the design thinking pilot programme is grounded in the empirical research findings from interviews held with participating teachers and students. From these findings designers are better positioned to support teachers’ and students’ needs which inform the development of the pilot programme.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank the participating schools and designers.


  • Duiske College, Graignamanagh, Co. Carlow 

  • Borris Vocational School, Borris, Co. Carlow

  • Tyndall College, Carlow

  • Grennan College, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny


  • Leon Butler

  • Chloë Dowds

  • Aideen McHugh (Design Research Assistant)

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