DEIS: Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools

How were schools selected to participate in DEIS?

The process of identifying schools for participation in DEIS was managed by the Educational Research Centre (ERC) on behalf of the Department and supported by quality assurance work co-ordinated through the Department's regional offices and the Inspectorate.

The ERC's overall approach was guided by the definition of educational disadvantage in the Education Act (1998), as:

  • "...the impediments to education arising from social or economic disadvantage which prevent students from deriving appropriate benefit from the education in schools".

In the primary sector, the identification process was based on a survey carried out by the ERC in May 2005. The analysis of the survey returns from primary schools by the ERC identified the socio-economic variables that collectively best predict achievement, and these variables were then used to identify schools for participation in the School Support Programme.

The variables involved were:
unemployment
% local authority accommodation
% lone parenthood
% Travellers
% large families (5 or more children)
% pupils eligible for free books

More detail on the identification process at primary level in 2005 is available here: http://www.erc.ie/documents/deis_assess_disadv_prim_sch.pdf

Second-level schools were selected by reference to centrally-held data from the Post-Primary Pupils and State Examinations Commission databases which included:

  • Medical card data for Junior Certificate candidates (including Junior Certificate School Programme candidates)
  • Junior Certificate retention rates by school
  • Junior Certificate exam results aggregated to school level (expressed as an OPS - "Overall Performance Scale" - score). This was based on each student's performance in the seven subjects in which s/he performed best aggregated to school level
  • Leaving Certificate retention rates by school

The identification process was in line with international best practice and had regard to, and employed, the existing and most appropriate data sources available. More detail on the identification process at post-primary level in 2005 is available here: http://www.erc.ie/documents/procedures_for_selecting_post-primary_schools_for_deis.pdf

How is the DEIS programme evaluated?

DEIS includes a commitment for ongoing evaluation of the programme to ensure successful implementation and appropriate measurement of outcomes at both local and national level.

The Educational Research Centre (ERC) has undertaken this ongoing evaluation, on behalf of the Department, the aim of which is to monitor the implementation of the programme and assess its impact on students and schools at primary and post primary levels.

The monitoring of change in achievement in Reading and Mathematics is a major component of the evaluation and  a number of reports have been published by the ERC which analyse and compare test scores for baseline data, collected in 2007 with follow-up data collected in 2010 (Weir & Archer, 2011) and 2013 (Weir & Denner).

The latest evaluation The Evaluation of the School Support Programme under DEIS: Changes in pupil achievement in urban primary schools between 2007 and 2013 is available at www.erc.ie.

In parallel with the ERC's research on pupil attainment in DEIS schools, the Inspectorate of the Department conducted evaluations of planning in a sample of 36 DEIS schools. These evaluations, on the effectiveness of DEIS planning in the primary schools and post-primary schools An Evaluation of Planning Processes in DEIS Primary Schools and An Evaluation of Planning Processes in DEIS Post Primary Schools were published in 2012.

How can a school apply for inclusion in DEIS?

A key priority for the Department is to continue to prioritise and target resources at schools with the most concentrated levels of educational disadvantage. The current economic climate and the challenge to meet significant targets on reducing public expenditure, limits opportunities which means that there is no capacity to provide for additionality to the DEIS programme.

What are the classifications for DEIS primary schools?

Primary and post-primary schools participating in DEIS receive significant additional supports and resources including additional staffing to assist them in achieving the aims of the initiative. The level of additional supports and resources allocated to schools participating in DEIS varies according to the level of disadvantage in the school community.

  • Where the level of disadvantage is greatest, urban/town primary schools are classified as participating in Band 1 of DEIS
  • The remaining participating urban/town primary schools are classified as participating in Band 2 of DEIS
  • Primary schools serving rural communities, including towns with populations below 1,500, are included in the Rural strand of DEIS
  • There is no urban/rural classification of post primary schools.

What supports are available to schools under DEIS?

Supports to DEIS Schools

How does a DEIS primary school determine their mainstream staffing allocation?

DEIS Band 1

There are dedicated staffing schedules for DEIS Band 1 schools based on Pupil: Teacher Ratios (PTRs) of 20:1 in junior schools, 22:1 in vertical schools (schools with junior and senior classes) and 24:1 in senior schools.

DEIS Band 2

The primary staffing schedule for Ordinary, Gaelscoil and Gaeltacht schools apply to DEIS Band 2 schools.

DEIS Rural schools

The primary staffing schedule for Ordinary, Gaelscoil and Gaeltacht schools apply to DEIS Rural schools.

Which category of DEIS schools receive additional classroom teachers?

Primary

DEIS Band 1 schools have dedicated staffing schedules based on PTRs of 20:1 in junior schools, 22:1 in vertical schools (schools with junior and senior classes) and 24:1 in senior schools.  (see Primary Staffing schedule tables for the 2016/17 school year).

DEIS Band 2 and DEIS Rural schools operate under the general staffing schedule for Ordinary, Gaelscoil and Gaeltacht schools. (see Primary Staffing schedule tables for the 2016/17 school year)

Post Primary

In the case of DEIS post primary schools, from the 2012/13 school year all DEIS post primary schools will be targeted for additional  classroom support through an improved staffing schedule of 18.25:1. 

How is an Administrative Principal appointed to a DEIS primary school?

DEIS Band 1 schools

The appointment of an Administrative Principal is built into the dedicated staffing schedules for DEIS Band 1 schools at an enrolment of 116 pupils.

DEIS Band 2 schools

An enrolment of 145 pupils entitles a DEIS Band 2 school to an Administrative Principal post.

DEIS Rural schools

DEIS Rural schools appoint an Administrative Principal at an enrolment of 178 pupils.

When does the DEIS grant issue and how can it be spent?

A grant is issued to all DEIS schools (Band 1, Band 2, Rural and Post Primary) in Autumn of every year.  This grant is based on level of disadvantage and enrolment. 

For DEIS Band 1, Band 2 and Post Primary schools a minimum of 10% of the grant is allocated for use on HSCL activities. 

How can a school apply for inclusion in Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL)?

There is no application process for inclusion in Home School Community Liaison.  HSCL is confined to DEIS Urban Primary Band 1 &  Band 2 and DEIS Post Primary schools.  DEIS schools in these categories have automatic entitlement to inclusion in the HSCL Scheme.

Can a rural DEIS school apply for inclusion in HSCL?

Rural DEIS schools are not eligible for inclusion in HSCL.  Under the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014, the Rural Co-ordinator service was withdrawn from Rural DEIS primary schools.

How does a school appoint a HSCL Co-ordinator?

Information on the appointment of a HSCL Co-ordinator is available at Home School Community Liaison 

What funding is made available to schools for HSCL?

The HSCL grant, which is for the implementation of activities that are consistent with the principles and practices of the HSCL Scheme is incorporated with the school’s annual DEIS grant.  At least a minimum of 10% of the school’s annual DEIS grant should be made available for HSCL activities. Guidelines on the use of the HSCL grant is available at DEIS funding guidelines.

Where can I find information on the following – School Completion Programme and School Meals?

School Completion Programme

The responsibility for the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) including the School Completion Programme has transferred from the Department of Education and Skills to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The  functions of the former National Educational Welfare Board, and the services previously provided by the NEWB, are now part of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), which was established by law on 1 January 2014. Tusla’s new website is www.tusla.ie.

School Meals

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is responsible for school meals.