A number of socio-economic indicators have been used by my Department over the years to identify primary and post primary schools which are serving communities with significant levels of disadvantage. The key indicators used at both levels are rates of unemployment, medical card possession and residence in local authority housing. These variables have been found to be valid indicators of disadvantage. In addition, my Department has obtained significant additional information from schools in relation to disadvantage and this has been used to target resources to schools where appropriate. This information relates to the level of lone parenthood; levels of educational attainment of parents; numbers of families in receipt of financial assistance from the State because of limited means from farm income; level of pupils with significant literacy and numeracy difficulties; and school drop out rates.
Schools included in the disadvantaged areas scheme at primary level qualify for special supplementary capitation funding. For the 2000-01 school year, the capitation supplement per pupil is £30 broken down as follows, £16 supplementary capitation for general running costs, £9 for classroom materials and equipment and £5 for home-school community liaison activities. There are a total of 293 concessionary disadvantaged posts allocated to these schools and a further 176 posts are allocated to the home school community liaison scheme in disadvantaged areas.
Schools in the disadvantaged areas scheme also receive a full refund of their television licence fee and a 95% building grant for building projects.
Second level schools, which are designated as disadvantaged, qualify for the allocation of a disadvantaged post and-or additional teaching resources in respect of home school liaison activities. An additional per capita grant of £30 per pupil is payable to these schools.
The breaking the cycle project was introduced in September 1996. Special supports extended to schools included in the urban phase include extra teaching staff to facilitate a pupil teacher ratio of 15:1 in all junior classes and special funding of up to £3,000 for materials-equipment and up to £4,000 for out of school projects. They also have the support of a specially appointed co-ordinator. Special targeted in-career development for school staff is also provided. Schools in the rural phase qualify for special funding of £1,000 for materials-equipment and of £1,000 for suitable local initiatives. They also qualify for supplementary capitation funding of £30 per pupil. The 122 rural schools are grouped into 25 clusters, with one locally based co-ordinator serving each. Special targeted in-career development for school staff is also provided.