DEIS Plan leaves children short changed – Carol Nolan TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Teachta Carol Nolan, has said that the DEIS plan 2017 announced by the Minister will not even restore DEIS funding to 2015 levels.
Teachta Nolan said:
“I welcome the publication of the new DEIS plan and support many of the measures outlined in it.
“However, it is clear that, in order to effectively tackle educational disadvantage there needs to be adequate investment and sufficient resources put in place. This plan does not achieve that.
"The paltry addition of 10 NEPS psychologists for DEIS schools will not be enough to provide these schools with the additional support they require to effectively address the many behavioural issues that accompany educational disadvantage, while the amount of additional funding allocated will mean that the overall spend by the Department on DEIS will fall short of 2015 spending levels.
“The current allocation of €97 million for DEIS is €13 million short of the 2015 expenditure of €110 million and the additional €5 million provided for in the plan for 2017 will not even restore the funding levels to this point.
“This is despite the fact that the overall levels of DEIS funding have reduced by almost €20 million between 2008 and 2015, from €193 million to €174 million.
“In the meantime the numbers of children in disadvantaged households have grown, as evidenced by figures from the European Anti - Poverty Network which shows that the level of children living in consistent poverty in Ireland rose from 6.3% in 2008 to 11.5% in 2015.
“Indeed the fact that the Minister has identified at least 80 additional schools to be included in the DEIS scheme shows that the level of educational disadvantage has risen since the moratorium on new DEIS schools introduced in 2009.
“Sinn Féin made provision in our alternative budget for a number of measures that would help address educational disadvantage, including the full restoration of guidance provision, full restoration of funding for the school completion programme, a 30% increase in the School Books Grant, a 40% increase in the School Meals Programme and an increase of €50 per child in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.”