The process of identifying schools for participation in DEIS in 2005 was managed by the Educational Research Centre (ERC) on behalf of my Department and supported by quality assurance work co-ordinated through the Department's regional offices and the Inspectorate.
In the primary sector, the identification process was based on a survey carried out by the ERC. The analysis of the survey returns from primary schools by the ERC identified the socio-economic variables that collectively best predict achievement, and these variables were then used to identify schools for participation in DEIS. Furthermore, an appeal mechanism was put in place in 2006 to address the concerns of schools that did not qualify for inclusion in DEIS but regarded themselves as having a level of disadvantage which was of a scale sufficient to warrant their inclusion in the programme.
An ongoing evaluation of DEIS has been underway since the rollout of supports commenced in 2006. My Department commissioned the Educational Research Centre to undertake this evaluation, the aim of which is to monitor the implementation of the programme and assess its impact on students and schools at primary and post primary levels.
In addition, the Inspectorate of my Department conducted evaluations of planning in a sample of 36 DEIS schools, 18 primary and 18 post-primary. A national composite report on the effectiveness of DEIS planning in primary and post-primary schools has been completed and this report along with the ERC report have been published.
My Department will fully consider these evaluation reports before any decisions can be made regarding the future of DEIS. While a key priority for me is to continue to prioritise and target resources at schools with the most concentrated levels of educational disadvantage, the current economic climate and the challenge to meet significant targets on reducing public expenditure limits opportunities and means that there is no capacity to provide for additionality to the DEIS programme.