31 May, 2019 - Minister McHugh launches third call for School Excellence Fund – DEIS

Minister McHugh empowers schools to work together to test innovative and creative approaches to teaching for our most educationally disadvantaged learners

 

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. today reaffirmed his commitment to encouraging innovation and excellence in our education system by announcing a third call for inclusion in School Excellence Fund-DEIS which is worth approximately €550,000.

The School Excellence Fund is an initiative in the Programme for Government to encourage and recognize excellence and innovation in our schools. Under the initiative, schools are funded to work together to identify innovative solutions to issues which are context specific in order to establish the most effective means of addressing those issues. Phase 3 of SEF-DEIS will support participating clusters of schools to tackle educational disadvantage and improve learning outcomes for students.

Today’s announcement is another step in delivering on the Action Plan for Education 2019 commitment to advance the progress of learners at risk of educational disadvantage in order to support them to achieve their potential.

Minister McHugh said: “We are committed to using education and training services to help break the cycle of disadvantage. 2019 marks the third year in a row of a major reinvestment in the education sector. We are using that record investment to work towards improving outcomes for young people and students, breaking cycles of disadvantage, supporting teachers and ensuring schools to continually improve.

“I am encouraged and inspired by the projects underway in the earlier phases of SEF-DEIS. There are some very novel approaches being taken in some really important areas and it is fantastic to see such creative solutions being applied to these complex problems. I look forward to seeing what we can learn from each and share more broadly across the school sector.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers, school leaders, students, schools and the third-level institutions who came together to work on these really exciting projects. Leadership is the key to making this approach work and we are very lucky in Ireland to have excellent school leaders.”

Schools are now encouraged to submit applications for inclusion in the third phase of the SEF-DEIS by 27 September 2019. It is envisaged that 10 clusters comprising approximately 40 schools will be selected to participate in the programme by 01 November 2019. More information, including how to apply can be found here: https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/DEIS-Delivering-Equality-of-Opportunity-in-Schools-/school-excellence-fund/school-excellence-fund.html

 

Notes for Editors

 

DEIS Plan 2017 sets out a vision for future intervention in the area of social inclusion in education policy and was launched in February of 2017.  It is available at https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/DEIS-Plan-2017.pdf.

The focus of the DEIS Plan 2017 is about being the best at using the potential of the education system to break down those cycles of disadvantage through improved education outcomes.

DEIS Plan 2017 is the outcome of a comprehensive review of the original DEIS programme, best international practice and extensive input and consultation with other Government Departments and Agencies, education partners and other stakeholders including students.

 

There are 108 Actions set out in DEIS Plan 2017 across 5 key goals:

  1. To implement more robust and responsive assessment framework for identification of schools and effective resource allocation.
  2. To improve the learning experience and outcomes of pupils in DEIS schools
  3. To improve the capacity of school leaders and teachers to engage, plan and deploy resources   to their best advantage.
  4. To support and foster best practice in schools through inter-agency collaboration.
  5. To support the work of schools by providing the research, information, evaluation and feedback to achieve the goals of the plan

 

 

In the 2018/19 school year there are 896 schools in the DEIS Programme serving over 183,000 pupils. The breakdown is as follows:

 

Primary Urban Band 1

232

Primary Urban Band 2

107

Primary Rural

359

Post Primary

198

 

The total Department spend on DEIS is over €125million. Additional funding is provided from Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for the School Meals Programme and from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for the School Completion Programme. 

 

Actions 22 to 25 of DEIS Plan 2017 provide for the creation of SEF-DEIS.

SEF-DEIS is specifically targeted at schools within the DEIS scheme. However consideration may be given to clusters of DEIS and non-DEIS schools where project proposals are primarily aimed at enhancing outcomes for the educationally disadvantaged learners. Applications from clusters which include early year’s settings and Youthreach Centres will also be welcomed. SEF-DEIS is designed to ensure that innovative approaches and proposals to tackle educational disadvantage are supported and rewarded.

The overarching aim of the initiative is to improve learning outcomes for young people. In order to achieve improved outcomes, schools in the SEF-DEIS will be challenged to promote innovation by adopting new evidence-based approaches to tackling under-performance in literacy and in the STEM subjects or in the Arts subjects.

Phase 1 of SEF-DEIS was launched on 13th November 2017. Ten clusters comprising 34 schools at pre-school, primary and post primary schools (DEIS and non-DEIS schools) are participating in the development of innovative solutions to tackle educational disadvantage and to improve learning outcomes for students.  Inspectors from DES work closely with each cluster in a supportive and challenging role. See list below.

Phase 2 of SEF-DEIS was launched on 2nd April 2018. Ten clusters have been selected to participate in Tranche 2 of the SEF – DEIS. These schools have recently finalised their applications to participate in the programme and implementation of their projects has begun. See list below.

 

Schools involved in the first phase of the SEF-DEIS. These schools commenced work in the programme in early 2018

 

Location of cluster

Number of schools in cluster

Theme proposed by cluster

Cluster one

Balbriggan

One post-primary, two primary

Improving outcomes for EAL students

Cluster

Two

Dublin North Inner City

Three primary, four pre-schools

Improving oral language in pre-school   and infant classes

Cluster three

Inchicore

One post-primary, two primary

Improving students’ well-being through   Arts

Cluster Four

Enniscorthy

One post-primary, two primary

Improving problem-solving an oral   language skills

Cluster Five

Rathangan

One post-primary, two primary

Cross-sectoral approach to the   development of mathematical skills

Cluster

Six

Athlone

One post-primary, three primary

Cross-sectoral approach to Science   teaching

Cluster

Seven

Cork City

One post-primary, one primary

Wellbeing   and learning

Promoting   wellbeing through a focus on Physical, Emotional, Academic, Cognitive and   physical health

Cluster

Eight

Clonmel

One post-primary, one primary

Development of students’ computational   thinking skills and integrating technology and coding into the primary school   curriculum

Cluster

Nine

Limerick City

One post-primary, two primary

Ensuring the attainment of higher   ability students

Cluster

Ten

Sligo West

One post-primary, two primary schools

Improving pupil transitions and   parental involvement

 

Schools involved in second phase of SEF-DEIS.  These schools have recently finalised their applications to participate in the programme and implementation of their projects has begun.

Location of cluster

Number of schools in cluster

Theme proposed by cluster

Cluster one

Roscommon Community College

Roscommon

One PP

One P

Transferring Critical thinking skills   within the school community through active learning methodologies

 

Cluster

Two

Scoil Réalt na Mara, Kilkee, Co. Clare

One PP

One P

Deepening students’ scientific enquiry   skills through the use of local field studies and peer tutoring

 

Cluster three

Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Tullow, Co.   Carlow

 

 

Two P

One EY

 

Modular storytelling

Cluster Four

Loreto Senior NS Crumlin, Dublin 12

One JNS

One SNS

One PP

One Youth Project and an After schools   projects

The Loreto Crumlin literacy project

Cluster Five

St Patrick’s SNS, Corduff, Dublin 15

 

One EY

One JNS  One SNS

 

Music making matters

Cluster

Six

Errigal College, Letterkenny

Donegal

 

Two P

One PP

Promoting an awareness of STEM   subjects at primary and post-primary level to increase the numbers studying   these subjects as career options in Letterkenny

 

Cluster

Seven

Scoil Naomh Eoin, Navan, Co Meath

 

Two P

Two EY

Communication champs

Cluster

Eight

St Joseph’s NS Dundalk Co Louth

 

Two P

Three PP

 

Las an tSlí – Pathways to the possible

 

Cluster

Nine

Kilmacthomas Primary School,

 

3 P (including one Gaelscoil)

1 PP

 

Rian Glas – ag spraoi le sumaí

Cluster

Ten

Dublin North East Inner City

 

One P

Three PP

 

Project-based learning for science and   mathematics