Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (48)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

48. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the review of the eligibility of primary and post-primary schools for inclusion in the DEIS programme commenced; when the analysis will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47474/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In the 2019/20 school year there are 891 schools in the DEIS Programme serving 185,000 pupils. This represents approx. 20% of the overall school population.  (691 primary (231 Urban Band 1; 104 Urban Band 2; 358 Rural) and 198 post primary. My Department will spend in the region of €125 million in 2019 on the DEIS programme.

As the Deputy is aware, following the review of DEIS, my Department introduced an objective, statistics based model for assessing which schools merited inclusion in the DEIS Programme. Following an initial application of this new methodology, 79 new schools were brought into the DEIS programme in 2017 with a further 30 being upgraded from Band 2 to Band 1 status.  These schools were assessed as having the highest levels of concentrated disadvantage.  

All schools at both Primary and Post Primary level are being assessed using this new methodology based on their enrolments from 2018/19 and the latest data available from Census 2016 under the HP Deprivation Index.  The accuracy of address data is vital to this process and an Eircode lookup function was added to the Primary and Post Primary Online Databases earlier this year to facilitate this.

Following a detailed analysis of the quality of the data, my Department is now in the final stages of further data analysis on the new identification model to allow for the development of a resource allocation model to match resources to identified need. This analysis is being carried out by members of the DEIS Technical Group which contains representatives of the Department’s Statistics and Social Inclusion Units, the Inspectorate and the Educational Research Centre. The work of this group is at an advanced stage and a consultation process with the relevant stakeholders will follow.  

I am confident that the culmination of this analysis will facilitate the ultimate aim of matching resources to identified need and will allow us to target extra resources at those schools most in need. Until this analysis is complete, it is not intended to extend the DEIS programme to any further schools.