Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue TD has called on the Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan to extend the DEIS programme to more schools, following an ESRI report which found the programme was leading to better outcomes for students in disadvantages areas.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “This long-awaited report supports Fianna Fáil’s appeals over the last number of years for the removal of the cap on the DEIS scheme. The programme was introduced by the Fianna Fáil led-Government in 2006 and has been highly effective in improving educational disadvantage throughout rural and urban communities.
“For too long the Minister has delayed the expansion of the DEIS program to new schools and new communities. Following the publication of this report Minister Jan O’Sullivan must reassess her position on DEIS, abolish the cap on the scheme and get serious about delivering education equality by expanding the program.
“While the ESRI report confirms that DEIS has been effective in narrowing the gap between disadvantaged students and those from more privileged backgrounds, more work needs to be done to bring the most disadvantaged urban DEIS schools in line with all other schools. This government has perpetuated gaps in educational outcomes; by neglecting DEIS programmes as well as making savage cuts to other education schemes like the School Completion Programme.
“The Minister has delayed taking action in relation to disadvantaged schools for too long. As a matter of urgency, she should remove the cap on the expansion of the program and put in place the suggested measures to enhance funding and supports for urban DEIS schools”.