Written answers

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Department of Education and Skills

DEIS Eligibility

Photo of Eamon ScanlonEamon Scanlon (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail)
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228. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the qualifying criteria, scoring and other assessment parameters which a school has to achieve at a minimum in order to qualify for DEIS status; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9616/19]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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DEIS was first introduced in 2006 and the identification of schools for inclusion was based on two different processes at primary and post primary. At primary level, there was a survey of school principals using the following socio-economic variables: %unemployment; %local authority accommodation; %lone parenthood; %travellers; %large families (more than 5 children); %pupils eligible for free books. At post primary level a combination of data from the Departments pupil database including school level retention rates together with exam achievement data and exam fee waiver data, which indicated that students had medical cards, was used.

Following a review of DEIS in 2016 and an extensive consultation process, a new identification process was developed for assessing schools levels of concentrated disadvantage. The key data sources used in the new DEIS identification process are the DES Primary Online Database (POD) and Post-Primary Online (PPOD) Databases, and CSO data from the National Census of Population as represented in the Haase Pratschke Deprivation Index (HP Index). The HP Index combines three underlying dimensions of affluence/disadvantage, identified as Demographic Profile, Social Class Composition and Labour Market Situation, to achieve a balanced measure of relative affluence and deprivation, which evenly applies across the urban-rural continuum.Variables used in the compilation of the HP Index include those related to demographic growth, dependency ratios, single parent rates, education levels, overcrowding, social class, occupation and unemployment rates. This data is combined with pupil data, anonymised and aggregated to small area, to provide information on the relative level of concentrated disadvantage present in the pupil cohort of individual schools. This data is applied uniformly to all schools in the country in a fair and objective way, to identify the relative level of concentrated disadvantage present in each school.The calculation of the level of disadvantage in each school is based on the socio-economic background of their pupil cohort using centrally held data as previously outlined and is not based on the location of the school but on the geographical CSO Small Areas where the pupil cohort resides.

A detailed document explaining the methodology used in the Identification process under DEIS plan 2017 is available on my Department’s website at.

Following an initial application of this new methodology, 79 new schools were brought into the DEIS programme in 2017 with a further 30 being upgraded from Band 2 to Band 1 status. These schools were assessed as having the highest levels of concentrated disadvantage.

DEIS Plan 2017 states that the improved data on the socio-demographic of schools resulting from the new identification model will have an impact not only on the assessment of schools for inclusion in the programme but also on the scaling of resources to allow for more graduated levels of support. This in turn allows for the ultimate objective of allocating resources to best meet the identified need of individual schools.

In order to achieve this, the current identification model needs to be as accurate as possible and this will be facilitated by the use of Eircode to ensure correct inputting of addresses. Further analysis is also required to examine other variables known to be strong predictors of educational disadvantage in the context of resource allocation.


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