More than 250 schools ‘excluded’ from Deis support scheme

Records indicate many disadvantaged schools not in receipt of extra resources

Minister for Education Richard Bruton announced last February that  79 schools were to be added into the Deis system for the first time using the new index.  Photograph: Jason Clarke

Minister for Education Richard Bruton announced last February that 79 schools were to be added into the Deis system for the first time using the new index. Photograph: Jason Clarke

 

More than 200 disadvantaged schools which were identified as needing extra support were not included in the Government’s scheme to support pupils from deprived backgrounds, new records show.

Almost 900 schools currently qualify for the Deis (Delivering Equality in Schools) scheme and benefit from additional resources such as extra teachers and grant-aid.

However, documents released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that up to 257 additional schools were identified earlier this year as disadvantaged, but were not included.

A document prepared for Minister for Education Richard Bruton ahead of October’s Budget makes the case for additional funding over the next three years to include these additional schools in the Deis scheme.

Deprivation index

The schools were identified using a new deprivation index which allows policy-makers to objectively identify the level of disadvantage among school pupils based on home addresses and census data.

It replaced a survey completed by school principals which was widely regarded as vulnerable to “gaming”.

Mr Bruton announced last February that 79 schools were to be added into the Deis system for the first time using the new index.

However, he declined to say at the time whether other schools had also been identified as having met the threshold for support, but had not been included.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation said there had been a “ distinct lack of transparency in the system” behind the inclusion of additional schools in the Deis scheme.