Dublin West Fianna Fáil candidate Jack Chambers has hit out at the Government for refusing to give Powerstown Educate Together School in Tyrrelstown DEIS status.
The Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has confirmed in reply to a Parliamentary Question from Fianna Fáil that she has no intention of including the school in the DEIS programme.
Cllr Jack Chambers has described the decision as inexcusable, as Powerstown Educate Together is one of the most disadvantaged schools in the country with 76% of students from homes where the main earner is unemployed.
Cllr Chambers explained, “It’s inexcusable that Powerstown Educate Together is being completely ignored by the system. It is abundantly clear that the school exceeds the criteria for DEIS Band 1 and that the vast majority of its students need additional supports in the school setting. Yet despite repeated representations from school management, the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has refused to take on any of school’s concerns on board.
“More than three quarters of the students at Powerstown school are from homes where the main breadwinner is unemployed. It has the second highest number of migrant pupils of any school in the country, at 91%. Over a quarter of students are from one parent family homes. 16% have been diagnosed with special needs or are on waiting lists for diagnoses. What more evidence does the Government need?
“It is particularly disappointing that the two local Government Ministers in Dublin West, Joan Burton and Leo Varadkar, have done absolutely nothing about this. As Cabinet Ministers and close colleagues of the Education Minister, why have they refused to stand up for Powerstown Educate Together? The school was established in 2011 after Labour and Fine Gael took up office, but then they were happy to just wash their hands of it since the opening. As a result, the needs of the students at this rapidly growing school are being ignored.
“According to new information I have received through a Parliamentary Question submitted by Fianna Fáil, the Government clearly has no intention of giving Powerstown Educate Together School DEIS status. The Minister has given no reasonable explanation for this. I am calling on Ministers Burton and Varadkar to immediately explain how this can be justified and to outline what they intend to do about it.”