Minister for Education Norma Foley announced a major expansion of the DEIS – Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools programme that will see the programme extended to an additional 310 schools. For the first time since 2017 the DEIS programme is being significantly expanded and eligible schools will now gain access to targeted supports to address educational disadvantage. In addition 37 existing DEIS schools are being reclassified and eligible for increased supports.
Currently 884 schools and over 180,000 students benefit from the DEIS programme. As a result of this announcement from September 2022, this will increase to 1,194 schools and over 240,000 students.
Schools in the DEIS programme avail of a range of targeted supports aimed at tackling educational disadvantage, including additional classroom teaching posts, home school community liaison coordinator posts, DEIS grant funding and access to the School Completion Programme.
Schools have been identified for inclusion in the programme through the refined DEIS identification model which is an objective, statistics-based model which uses information from the Department of Education enrolment databases and the Pobal HP Deprivation index. Schools were not required to apply for inclusion in the DEIS programme and the model has been applied fairly and equally to all schools.
Minister Foley said, “I am delighted to announce today the largest-ever single investment in the DEIS programme and the addition of 310 new schools. The DEIS programme is an internationally recognised, proven programme that provides targeted resources to schools with the highest levels of concentrated educational disadvantage to support their students to have an equal opportunity to achieve their potential in education. This investment will provide for in the region of 160 additional primary teaching posts, approximately 100 additional home school community liaison posts, additional guidance and leadership posts as well as DEIS grants and enhanced book grant funding.”
“This announcement follows an intensive undertaking of work by the DEIS technical group, which involved valuable input from stakeholders. 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 Traveller and Roma learners and of students residing in direct provision or emergency homeless accommodation. Using this approach we can extend the additional targeted supports of the DEIS programme to those schools serving high concentrations of students at risk of educational disadvantage and be confident that the largest investment to date in the DEIS programme is being provided to those schools most in need.”
“This announcement achieves the Programme for Government commitment to complete the new DEIS identification model and to extend DEIS status to schools serving the highest numbers of pupils at risk of educational disadvantage. It is a further step towards achieving my department’s goal to ensure equity of opportunity in education and that all students are supported to fulfil their potential. The successful delivery of this goal means that our school system is open and welcoming for all students, regardless of background, and that in particular, students at risk of educational disadvantage will be supported to achieve their full potential. It is my intention to keep working towards achieving that vision.”
Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan welcomed the updated model, saying, “this announcement demonstrates our commitment to inclusive education and supporting students facing disadvantage. I am pleased that we can provide additional supports to those schools and communities that need it most. Our education system rightly places a strong emphasis on equal opportunity for everyone, no matter their background, and this is something I very strongly support. I want to commend all those who have worked on finalising the new model as well as those who continue to work every day to support and empower young people through education.”
The Department of Education will work with the schools that will benefit from the programme to support them to make the transition. Information sessions will be held for schools in the coming weeks on the DEIS programme, what supports will be available to schools and to support them in planning for improvement. Materials are in development to inform parents and students of the benefits of inclusion in the DEIS programme.
From September 2022, these schools will access all supports under the programme to match their respective band. Schools are assigned to the DEIS bands based on the location of the school and their level of concentrated educational disadvantage.