Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (17)

Mattie McGrath


17. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is satisfied that the criteria used to adjudicate DEIS status for schools is fair and equitable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18844/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware DEIS Plan 2017 was the culmination of more than 18 months of consultation and discourse with education partners and other stakeholders.  There was a clear consensus throughout the review process that there was a need for a new approach to the arrangements for identifying schools, and that the survey approach previously used in 2005 would place an additional unwanted administrative burden on schools and school Principals.  It was also considered unfair to expect schools or school Principals to gather sensitive socioeconomic data on its school community. 

Reflecting the findings of this consultative process, the Government has introduced an objective, statistics based model for assessing which schools merit inclusion in the DEIS Programme, so that all stakeholders can have confidence that we are targeting extra resources at those schools with the highest levels of concentrated disadvantage. 

My Department is currently undertaking further analysis to examine other variables known to be strong predictors of educational disadvantage in the context of resource allocation.  An analysis is also underway on the quality of the address data of individual schools.  Until this analysis is complete it is not my intention to extend the DEIS programme to any further schools.  I am confident that this new method allows us to target extra resources at those schools most in need and will facilitate the ultimate aim of matching resources to identified need.