Wednesday, 1 December 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
211. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Education and Science the plans, if any he has to extend the provision of disadvantaged status beyond the current 17 per cent of pupils, particularly in view of the anomalies which exist. [21021/99]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): My Department already devotes a very considerable amount of resources to addressing the problem of educational disadvantage across the education system.
While the current disadvantaged areas scheme provides important support for many disadvantaged pupils it is based purely on pupil numbers and does not take account of different levels of need. In its review of educational disadvantage in Ireland, the Education Research Centre recommended that resources be better targeted. One of my concerns with the present support system is that it lacks the necessary flexibility to target individual pupils or small pockets of disadvantage within the school system.
My objective is to develop a more flexible response system which will continue to support schools with large concentrations of disadvantaged pupils but will also be responsive to the needs of individual or small groups of disadvantaged pupils throughout the country.
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