Written answers

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Department of Education and Skills

Disadvantaged Status

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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76. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the engagement that she has had to-date in 2022 with school principals and boards of management with regard to the refined DEIS identification model; if there is a mechanism by which a school can register its criticism of the identification model, particularly in cases in which anomalies may occur; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23674/22]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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In March I announced that from next September the DEIS programme will be extended to an additional 310 schools. 37 schools will also benefit from additional supports following reclassification. This means that overall, 347 schools will benefit. As a result of this announcement from September 2022, this will increase the number of schools supported in the DEIS programme to 1,194 schools and over 240,000 students or nearly 1 in 4 students. Schools were identified for inclusion in the programme through the refined DEIS identification model which is an objective, statistics based model.

This model uses information from my Department's enrolment databases and the Pobal HP Deprivation index. The Pobal HP Deprivation index is used by numerous State agencies for the identification of disadvantage, in order to target resources towards communities most in need. The Index is a method of measuring the relative affluence or disadvantage of a particular geographical area using data returned from the most recent national census.

The Department consulted with education partners, including school management bodies and teacher and principal representative bodies, during the refinement of the model. Drawing on the feedback from this consultation, the refined DEIS identification model builds on the objectivity and fairness of the 2017 version, but now captures a greater breadth of disadvantage and accounts for severity of disadvantage through the application of a weighted process. It also takes into consideration the significant educational disadvantage experienced by Travellers and Roma learners and of students residing in direct provision or state funded emergency homeless accommodation. Schools were not required to apply for inclusion in the DEIS programme and the model has been applied fairly and equally to all schools.

My Department continues to be in regular communication with schools and is always available to engage with schools as issues arise. This includes where schools wish to contact my Department in relation to any aspect of the refined DEIS identification model in the context of their particular school circumstances.

My Department is committed to ensuring that all schools are treated equally and fairly in the manner in which they have been identified for inclusion in the DEIS programme. Schools which were not satisfied with the outcome following the application of the DEIS identification model to their school enrolment data had the opportunity to have that outcome reviewed. Circular 0019/2022, outlining the details of the DEIS appeals process, was published on the 30th March 2022 by my Department and is available on the gov.ie website. All schools were notified of the appeals process. The deadline to submit an appeal was Friday 29th April 2022.

Appeals were received from 197 schools out of 3832 mainstream primary and post primary schools in Ireland, indicating that just under 95% of schools were satisfied with the application of the model to their school enrolment data.

All appeals received are now being processed and it is my intention that schools will be provided with the outcome promptly to allow schools time to plan for the 2022/23 school year.

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