Schools being frozen out of DEIS school system
Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Seán Crowe has described as “unacceptable” a response from the Department of Education and Skills to a question he submitted on the designation of DEIS school status.
Deputy Crowe had questioned the criteria that was applied to St Mary’s National School in Tallaght which despite servicing an area of high social disadvantage was not designated to be part of the DEIS system.
“Schools like St Mary’s National School are in the frontline when it comes to meeting the educational needs of children from disadvantaged areas. Apart from the social and economic challenges that affect the lives of children from that part of Tallaght, there are also additional factors to consider such as the large migrant and traveller population who live within the catchment area of St Mary’s.
“All of these children deserve help and educational support so they are able to achieve their full potential at school. Ironically, in the case of St Mary’s, the reverse is happening and last week I attended a packed public meeting of people who are angry and concerned that the school is set to lose five members of its teaching staff.
“The Department’s confirmation that schools like St Mary’s have been frozen out of the DEIS system, fails to take into consideration factors such as shifting demographics and the impact of the recession on communities.
“In response to a question I posed on why St Mary’s is not a designated DEIS school, I was informed that the current economic climate and the challenge to meet the significant targets on reducing public expenditure limits opportunities and means that there is no capacity to provide for additionally to the DEIS programme.
“What this means in simple language, is that despite the great success of DEIS schools in addressing educational underachievement, schools that are clearly disadvantaged have no way of becoming part of the DEIS scheme. The outcome of this is that children who need additional help in order to fulfil their life chances will be denied the extra support that can help them achieve this goal.
“Yet again it is some of the most vulnerable children who are suffering the most from grossly unfair austerity measures.” ENDS