Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
177. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the pupils of a school (details supplied) in County Mayo are being discriminated against due to the fact that he has not granted their school DEIS status despite its location in one of the areas of highest educational disadvantage in the country and despite the fact that all other schools in Erris have been so designated. [36105/11]
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): The process of identifying schools for participation in DEIS 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 in May 2005. 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. Notwithstanding repeated communications to the school on the matter a completed survey form was not received from Inver National School and therefore it could not be assessed for participation in DEIS.
An ongoing evaluation of DEIS has been under way since the roll-out 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. An evaluation report, the second in a series of reports, is currently being finalised.
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 is expected to be available shortly. The Department will fully consider these evaluation reports before any decisions can be made regarding the future of DEIS.
The Deputy will be aware that a Comprehensive Expenditure Review is ongoing in all government Departments at the request of the Minister of Public Service Expenditure and Reform. Furthermore 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.
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