09 April, 2015 - Publication of Learning from the Evaluation of DEIS- an ESRI Report Commissioned by the Department of Education and Skills

Minister for Education and Skills, Ms. Jan O’Sullivan TD welcomes the publication today of Learning from DEIS – a Report on the implementation over 10 years of Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools, the State’s main policy initiative to tackle educational disadvantage.

The Report which was commissioned from the ESRI in Autumn 2014 brings together learning from evaluations of DEIS conducted to date by the Educational Research Centre, Drumcondra and the Inspectorate of the Department of Education and Skills.  It also reviews other related Irish and international research on educational disadvantage together with examples of best practice.  The report assesses the main findings of this research and provides advice to inform future policy direction in relation to educational disadvantage including DEIS.

Thanking the ESRI for its work on the Report, the Minister noted some of the encouraging findings in relation to the performance of schools catering for the highest concentrations of educational disadvantage:

  • A change in approach within DEIS schools is evident, with a significant improvement in planning for teaching and learning and in setting targets for achievement;
  • There has been a significant improvement over time in literacy test scores among students in designated disadvantaged primary schools;
  • Levels of non-attendance between urban band 1 primary schools and non-DEIS urban schools have narrowed;

The Minister emphasised that much of the credit for these improvements is due to the work of DEIS school Principals and teachers, non-teaching school staff and other support services who work within and around schools, and of course the involvement of parents.  It is the dedication and commitment of all of these people to their pupils and school communities, which makes the difference” she said. 

She also noted some of the challenges posed by the Report for policy makers:

  • Whether the scale of additional funding under DEIS is sufficient to bridge the gap in resources between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged settings;
  • The need for joined-up thinking between education and broader social policy;
  • How a positive school climate can be fostered to improve student outcomes.

Referring to her remarks at the INTO and TUI annual conferences in recent days, Minister O’ Sullivan said “I see the publication of this Report as the starting point for a new discussion on the future of the DEIS programme. 

  • Over the next few weeks I will seek submissions from all educational stakeholders on what our options for future interventions to tackle educational disadvantage should look like. 
  • I will establish an inter-Departmental group to consider the roles of different Government Departments in delivering DEIS in a joined up way. 
  • I will also put together a technical group to establish what eligibility criteria are now appropriate to re-identify the level of need in schools.  
  • During the next school year, I will complete a revised identification process for schools participating in DEIS.  

The outcome of this process will form part of an overall proposal which I will produce for the delivery of future interventions to tackle educational disadvantage.”

The ESRI Report is available at: - http://www.esri.ie

Educational Research Centre Evaluation Reports on DEIS are available at:http://www.erc.ie

DES Inspectorate Evaluation Reports on DEIS are available at: - www.education.ie



Notes for Editors:

DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the Action Plan for Educational Inclusion, was launched by the Minister for Education and Science in May 2005.

The aim of the action plan is to ensure that the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities are prioritised and effectively addressed.  Its core elements comprise:

  • A standardised system for identifying, and regularly reviewing, levels of disadvantage;
  • A new integrated School Support Programme (SSP) which brings together and builds upon existing interventions for schools and school clusters/communities with a concentrated level of disadvantage.

An extensive identification process was conducted by the Education Research Centre (ERC) on behalf of the Department in 2005 to select the schools for inclusion in the School Support Programme under DEIS on the basis of their relative level of disadvantage – with priority being given to the most concentrated levels of disadvantage.   

There are currently 849 schools (657 primary and 192 Post Primary) in the SSP under DEIS for 2014/14. Details of the breakdown of the number of schools participating in DEIS are shown below:

No. of Schools participating in DEIS

Urban Band 1197200199197195195
Urban Band 2141145145144141141
Total schools873881866860852849

Resources provided under the DEIS programme:


Resources for Band 1 Schools

Ø Reduced class sizes (A new dedicated staffing schedule applies to DEIS Band 1 primary schools from September 2012, with pupil teacher ratios of 20:1 in junior schools, 22:1 in vertical schools and 24:1 in senior schools)

Ø With effect from September 2012 DEIS Band 1 schools are given an allocation of 0.2 of a post, where the school has less than 200 students, and 0.4 of a post where the school has 200 or more students, additional to the mainstream provision of 0.2 of a post in all-boys & mixed school and 0.16 of a post in All-girls schools.

Resources for Band 1 and Band 2 Schools

Ø The appointment of an Administrative Principal in Band 1 schools is based on 116 pupils and in Band 2 schools is based on 145 pupils

Ø Access to Home/School/Community Liaison (HSCL) services

Ø Access to range of supports under School Completion Programme (SCP)

Ø Access to literacy/numeracy support service to specific literacy/numeracy measures

Ø Access to transfer programmes

Resources for Band 1, Band 2 and DEIS Rural schools

Ø Additional non-pay/capitation allocation based on level of disadvantage

Ø Additional funding under School Books Grant Scheme

Ø Access to Schools Meals Programme

Ø Access to planning supports

Ø Access to a range of professional development supports

Resources for DEIS Post-Primary schools

Ø From 2012/13 school year, all DEIS post-primary schools will be targeted for additional support through an improved staffing schedule of 18.25:1. 

Ø DEIS grant paid based on level of disadvantage and enrolment

Ø Access to Home School Community Liaison services

Ø Access to Schools Meals Programme

Ø Access to range of supports under School Completion Programme

Ø Access to Junior Certificate Schools Programme

Ø Access to Leaving Certificate Applied Programme

Ø Access to planning supports

Ø Access to a range of professional development supports

Ø Additional funding under School Books Grant Scheme


2.   DEIS Expenditure

The table below details the expenditure by the Department of Education and Skills on the DEIS programme. This expenditure includes the payment of DEIS grants, Home School Community Liaison, DEIS Staffing and Continuous Professional Development for teachers in DEIS schools.

The table also provides expenditure on DEIS measures by other Departments. The Department of Social Protection and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs provide funding for the School Meals and School Completion Programmes.

YearDepartment of Education and Skills ExpenditureDepartment of Children and Youth AffairsDepartment of Social ProtectionTotal DEIS Expenditure
2015(Alloc)€96mNot Available€20.3m -


3.   Pupil Retention in DEIS schools

DES Statistics Section Reports on Retention Rates of Pupils in Second Level Schools (2015)

Skills Retention rates and Progression of Pupils in DEIS Schools show that the improvement in DEIS schools’ retention rates in recent years has been significantly higher than the overall improvement nationally.  For pupils who entered post primary in 2008, there is approximately a 3% difference in the Junior Certificate rate between DEIS and non-DEIS schools. The Leaving Certificate retention rate for the 2008 entry cohort in DEIS schools is 82.1%, which is around 8.5% lower than the national average rate.