Written answers

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Department of Education and Skills

School Funding

Photo of Donnchadh Ó LaoghaireDonnchadh Ó Laoghaire (Cork South Central, Sinn Fein)
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143. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if work is underway to bring rural DEIS school funding in line with urban DEIS funding. [26854/21]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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All DEIS schools receive funding through a DEIS Grant which is to be used to support the implementation of the schools’ DEIS Action Plan for Improvement, which sets targets under key themes, such as attendance, retention, progression, literacy and numeracy, partnership, transition, wellbeing and examination attainment (post-primary only). A key focus of these themes is that they are targeted at those pupils most at risk of educational disadvantage. These grants comprise €12.2m to the 689 primary schools and €4.1m to the 198 post-primary schools. The allocation of this funding is applied equally to rural and urban schools in DEIS.

Currently, all DEIS Urban Primary and DEIS Post Primary schools are included in the HSCL Scheme, which serves over 530 schools. The scheme is delivered by 415 full-time HSCL Coordinators who are teachers in these schools and assigned to HSCL duties either in individual schools or clusters of schools, catering for approximately 160,000 pupils. A preferential staffing schedule applies to DEIS Urban Band 1 schools to support those students at the highest risk of educational disadvantage. The DEIS Plan acknowledges that this has served to improve learning outcomes for this cohort of learners.

The impact of socio-economic factors on educational outcomes can be different between urban and rural settings and allocations of resources under the HSCL scheme and teacher allocation for DEIS Urban Band 1 schools takes account of that. While urban and rural disadvantage share many characteristics, such as poverty, unemployment and poor housing conditions, the evidence suggests that disadvantage in a rural context does not have the same impact on educational performance.

My Department's objective in implementing DEIS Plan 2017 is to have the maximum possible impact on providing opportunities for students most at risk of disadvantage. To achieve this, additional resources must be targeted as closely as possible at those students with the greatest need in terms of concentrated levels of disadvantage.

Rural DEIS primary schools are supported through the DEIS programme with a range of DEIS supports, including the DEIS grant, enhanced book grant, access to the School Meals Programme and priority access for teachers to a range of professional development programmes as well as the Incredible Years and Friends programmes.


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