Thursday, 4 May 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
218. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science if a primary school (details supplied) in County Mayo will be allowed to retain their rural co-ordinator post 2007; and if this school will be reviewed under DEIS to ensure that they are allocated adequate resources. [16741/06]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): I am sure the Deputy would agree that it is important to make sure that schools serving the most disadvantaged communities get all the extra support possible and will welcome the extra resources that DEIS will provide. I can assure the Deputy that there is no reason for schools that haven’t been identified for the new programme to worry as they will continue to get support in line with the level of disadvantage among their pupils. No school has been told that they will lose any resources as a result of DEIS.
DEIS is designed to ensure that schools serving the most disadvantaged communities benefit from the maximum level of support available. Over the years, no less than eight separate schemes for disadvantaged primary schools have been put in place. Some schools were benefiting from just one or two of these and others were benefiting from more. The DEIS initiative is designed to ensure that the most disadvantaged schools benefit from a comprehensive package of supports, while ensuring that others continue to get support in line with the level of disadvantage among their pupils.
While the whole rationale behind the new programme is to ensure that the most disadvantaged schools benefit from all of the available supports, schools that are benefiting from existing schemes will keep the extra resources, financial and human, that they are getting under these initiatives for the 2006/07 school year. After that they will continue to get support in line with the level of socio-economic disadvantage among their pupils.
A review process has been put in place for primary and second-level schools that did not qualify for participation in the new School Support Programme (SSP) and that regard themselves as having a level of disadvantage which is of a scale sufficient to warrant their inclusion in the Programme. The review process will operate under the direction of an independent person, charged with ensuring that all relevant identification processes and procedures were properly followed in the case of schools applying for a review. The closing date for receipt of review applications was Friday 31 March, 2006. A Review application has been received by my Department from the school to which the Deputy refers. It is intended that the review process will be completed by the end of the current school year.
My Department is currently considering the arrangements to be made regarding the clustering of the 320 rural schools under the School Support Programme and other rural schools retaining their entitlements under previous programmes for 2006/2007. Schools will be notified of the proposed arrangements in due course.
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