16 December, 2013 - Research shows DEIS is working in primary schools

Minister Quinn announces research seminar on DEIS to take place in Spring 2014

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., has welcomed the latest research findings on how pupils in DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) primary schools are performing in reading and maths. 

The Educational Research Centre (ERC) in its report Changes in Pupil achievement in urban primary schools between 2007 and 2013 has found that test scores in DEIS primary schools at all grade levels have increased significantly.

The main findings are:

  • Test scores at all grade levels where testing took place (2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th) increased significantly between the collection of baseline data in 2007 and follow-up testing in 2010.
  • Outcomes from the most recent round of testing in spring of 2013 indicated that, not only were the initial gains maintained, they were built on between 2010 and 2013.
  • Gains are particularly evident in the junior grades and in schools that have high levels of disadvantage. 
  • While there has been a striking reduction in low-scorers (i.e. at or below the 10th percentile) in both reading and mathematics, the percentage of high achievers in both subject areas has been maintained or increased.
  • Levels of pupil absence has also fallen from 10.8% in 2007 to 7.1% in 2013

Minister Quinn said, “These results from the ERC on DEIS in primary schools are very encouraging.  They show that the significant investment that we make in these schools is paying off and pupils’ reading and mathematics test scores are consistently improving.”

“I’d like to pay tribute to the schools, teachers, parents and especially the children in these DEIS primary schools who, despite the hardships that the economic downturn has brought, are continuing to improve in the building blocks of learning – reading and maths.”

The ERC is expected to publish further reports on DEIS in the near future, including a report on DEIS at post-primary level.

The Minister also announced that the Department and the ERC will host a research seminar on DEIS in the Spring of next year.

“This seminar will bring together DEIS programme practitioners, other educationalists and policy makers and give them the opportunity to discuss the findings of reports such as these.  I also hope that the event will inform future policy options in relation to educational disadvantage,” Minister Quinn concluded. 

The report on DEIS schools is available on the ERC’s website at www.erc.ie


Notes for Editors

The DEIS programme was introduced in primary and post-primary schools in 2006/2007. The aim of DEIS is to ensure that the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities are prioritised and effectively addressed.    One of its core elements is an integrated School Support Programme (SSP) which brings together and builds upon existing interventions for schools and communities with a concentrated level of disadvantage.

There are currently 852 schools (658 primary and 194 post-primary) with enrolment of almost 166,000 in the School Support Programme.  

The cost to the Department of Education and Skills of the DEIS programme in 2012 was €95m, including some €14million in DEIS grants and 1036 additional teachers costing €63m.  Additional funding is provided by the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for the School Meals Programme and the School Completion Programme respectively.

A key commitment under DEIS is to have ongoing evaluation of the programme to ensure successful implementation and the best possible approaches to measuring progress and outcomes at both local and national level with an increased emphasis on formative evaluation, in the sense of providing regular feedback on the operation of programmes, as well as on summative evaluation, which assists in coming to a judgement regarding the overall worth or value of a particular measure.

The Educational Research Centre has been carrying out an evaluation of DEIS on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, since the programme’s introduction in 2006/2007.

Previous DEIS related research published to date by the ERC includes:

The impact of DEIS on class size in primary schools.  Dublin: Educational Research Centre. Weir, S., & McAvinue, L.  (2012).

A report on the first phase of the evaluation of DEIS. Dublin: Educational Research Centre. Weir, S., Archer, P., O’Flaherty, A., & Gilleece, L. (2011). 

Educational disadvantage in primary schools in rural areas. Weir, S., Archer, P., & Millar, D.  Report No. 1: Analysis of English reading and mathematics achievement in schools in the rural dimension of the School Support Programme.  Report to the Department of Education and Science.  Dublin: Educational Research Centre. (2009).

The assessment of levels of disadvantage in Primary Schools for DEIS.  Dublin: Educational Research Centre. Archer, P., & Sofroniou, N. (2008).

A report on the procedures used to identify post-primary schools for inclusion in the School Support Programme under DEIS.  Dublin: Educational Research Centre. Weir, S. (2006).