As the Deputy will be aware the DEIS programme is the main policy instrument of my Department to tackle educational disadvantage. In the 2019/20 school year there are 891 schools in the DEIS Programme serving in excess of 185,000 pupils. This represents approximately 20% of the overall school population. Key supports are provided under DEIS to support school attendance, participation and retention, including the Home School Community Liaison Scheme.
My Department also provides funding to a small number of centres which provide education for young people not attending mainstream schools. These include the following:
- Youth Encounter Projects (YEPs) are recognised Special Schools which provide education for children who have either become involved in minor delinquency, or are at risk, and have become alienated from the mainstream school system. There are five such non-residential schools, each catering for up to 25 pupils aged between 10 to 16 years. YEPs have additional resources to provide a comprehensive life-skills programme in addition to the normal curriculum.
- The Line Projects were established to bring together the community, parents, state agencies and relevant Government Departments in order to respond to the needs of young people who have dropped out of mainstream education. My Department funds two such projects - Carline in Lucan and City Motor Sports, Dublin 8. They cater for young people aged 14 to 18 years.
- The Cork Life Centre which caters for young people between the ages of 12 and 16 who are out of the mainstream school system.
- The Inspire Programme, run by City of Dublin Education and Training Board. This project assists children aged between 12 and15 who are experiencing difficulties attending mainstream post-primary school and are at risk of leaving school early to remain engaged in education.
In addition to the above, under the Dublin North East Inner City Initiative, a number of developments are underway to improve educational outcomes for students in the Dublin North East Inner City and to address the recommendations of the Mulvey Report. My Department is represented on the Programme Implementation Board and is working with other relevant Government Departments and Agencies to advance the relevant initiatives.