Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Department of Education and Skills
179. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will reconsider the decision to cut a home school community liaison officer from a school (details supplied) in County Galway, particularly in view of the high numbers of students from a disadvantaged background, its designation under the delivering equality of opportunity in schools scheme and the likely impact this loss will have on a minority who have traditionally suffered from poor educational outcomes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20989/15]
As the Deputy will be aware, DEIS - Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools, is my Departments main policy instrument for tackling educational disadvantage. The recently published ESRI report on "Learning from the Evaluation of DEIS" which was commissioned by my Department, draws together the learning to date from the implementation of DEIS and identifies some of the challenges for future policy in this area. I see this Report as a starting point for a new discussion on the future of DEIS.
To this end, I have commenced a consultation process with education partners to inform the development of appropriate future measures to combat educational disadvantage. Given the broader social context in which educational disadvantage is situated, an inter-Departmental group will consider the roles of relevant Government Departments in delivering DEIS, A Technical Group will consider appropriate eligibility criteria for a revised identification process for schools over the course of the coming school year.
The outcome of this process will form part of an overall proposal for the delivery of future interventions to tackle educational disadvantage. While this process is underway, there will be no changes to current policy as regards DEIS designation or HSCL allocation to the school referred to by the Deputy.