DEIS cutbacks still going ahead

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has vowed to reverse the proposed cutbacks to the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) programme. 428 teaching posts throughout the country have been under threat of being cut.

The turnaround follows intense scrutiny from disadvantaged communities. The DEIS Action Committee and notably from the Minister’s Labour Party colleagues who rejected the cuts as part of the Governments frugal Budget in 2012.

While a total of 235 staffing posts are to be retained under the revised plan, the Government intends to implement them by reducing capitation grants to all primary schools in the country.

Sean Cotrell, Director of The Irish Primary Principle Network (IPPN) remarked that

‘‘The Government’s so-called “concessions” on restoring posts for some DEIS schools are to be off-set by a further cut in cash income for schools, leaving many of them unable to pay for basic utilities such as heating and lighting.

By cutting resources for schools in disadvantaged areas, they are hitting the most vulnerable, and making what should be a fundamental educational objective an almost impossible task.”

The reaction from schools in the Liberties is that of tension and uncertainty as the new move sparks fresh fears of further corrupting an already understaffed and underfunded education system.

Currently there are eleven primary schools who fall into the DEIS bracket in the Liberties who have in the past  benefited from additional ‘legacy’ posts – which saw extra teaching positions instated to make up for specific shortfalls in staffing.

Principal Deirdre Brennan of Scoil Seamus CBS, Dublin 8, is still in the dark about how heavily her school will be affected and expressed her concern about retaining their two legacy posts.

“The situation is quite frustrating at the moment. There is a lack of any real clarity and a lot of confusion surrounding our positions; we could easily still lose our two legacy posts. We just have to wait and see what happens next” said Ms Brennan.

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