The Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has confirmed to Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power that no decision has been made on reversing the cuts to disadvantaged schools announced in Budget 2012. Despite the fact that the Minister admitted he made a mistake, he has now told the Oireachtas Education Committee that he is still seeking significant “economies” in relation to the DEIS scheme.
Senator Power commented, “The Government have been spinning a yarn that their decision to remove 428 posts from DEIS schools will be reversed after they realised they made a ‘mistake’. However today, Minister Quinn has confirmed that this is not the case. Far from reversing his damaging decision, the Minister has today indicated that he is still seeking to cut DEIS posts.
“This confirms my fears that the Government simply announced an empty review of the DEIS cuts to take the heat out the controversy and buy themselves some time. Government TDs, who are under pressure from their local schools, have been out convincing their communities that these cuts have been reversed. I asked Minister Quinn directly today if this is the case, and he shook his head and said ‘no final decisions have been made’.”
Responding to questions from Senator Power, Minister Quinn said he is still seeking “economies” in this area.
“What this means is that DEIS schools are still facing significant cuts to resources,” said Senator Power. “We are now in a deeply worrying situation where schools will be competing with one another to retain teacher posts. Those schools that have worked hard at achieving enormous success on the DEIS scheme will now worry that that very success means their resources will be cut. To punish schools that have radically improved literacy and numeracy standards under DEIS, with pupils responding well both socially and academically to smaller class sizes, makes absolutely no sense.
“This is a highly socially regressive step that will undo years of progress in tackling educational disadvantage. The long-term economic implications are enormous. It’s time for the Minister to cut through the spin and be honest with the people. The Minister must do the right thing and reverse his mistake.”