Written Answers. - Leitrim School's Disadvantaged Status.

John Ellis

Ceist:

413 Mr. Ellis asked the Minister for Education if her Department will grant disadvantaged status to Fenagh national school, County Leitrim. [16446/96]

The Deputy may be aware that, arising from studies carried out by the Combat Poverty Agency and the Education Research Centre, I recently launched an important new initiative which seeks to break the cycle of educational disadvantage in selected urban and rural areas.

This "Breaking the Cycle" initiative seeks to discriminate positively in favour of schools in selected urban and rural areas which have high concerntrations of children who are at risk of not reaching their potential in the education system because of their socio-economic backgrounds.

Under the initiative, a new targeted programme of supports is being made available to selected schools in large urban areas of particular disadvantage.

In addition, 25 clusters of small schools and particularly those in rural areas with high levels of disadvantage are being selected to receive a targeted programme of supports. Schools from all parts of the country with fewer than five teachers, including the school mentioned by the Deputy, were invited by the Education Research Centre to apply for inclusion in the scheme.

The relative need of all applicants has been assessed by the Education Research Centre on the basis of data submitted by schools under objective criteria which were devised by the Education Research Centre.

I recently announced the names of the 25 schools selected for inclusion in the urban phase of the scheme. I also announced the names of a further eight associated schools which serve the same general populations and have been included to ensure consistency and continuity of support for the families in question.

The process of selecting schools for inclusion in the rural phase of the scheme is now nearing completion. I expect to be in a position to announce the names of these schools shortly.