Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Education Richard Bruton to immediate review the criteria under which several Tipperary schools were excluded from participation in the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) Plan for 2017. Deputy McGrath was speaking the Department of Education was forced to acknowledge that the methodology it used in assessing schools was flawed and inaccurate:
“I think today’s confirmation from the Department that the criteria it used to select schools for DEIS status was flawed will only compound the huge disappointment and shock that was felt in Tipperary in early February.
We knew in February that the methodology used to assess the schools was incomplete and did not accurately represent the level of need that continues to exists in certain educational communities.
The five schools in Tipperary Town that were desperately hoping for the increased resource allocations were completely distraught at the decision not to include them.
I asked the Minister directly after the initial decision was made if he would review the assessment model that his department was employing.
As part of his reply he informed me that the Schools which had not been including were those which had not been identified as having “the highest levels of concentrated disadvantage amongst their pupil cohort, under the new model which is fair and objective.”
We now know that this is totally inaccurate. The model is not fair or objective. In fact it is bordering on the shambolic given the importance of the outcomes concerned.
I will continue to press the Minister on this matter and will insist that no school in Tipperary be made to wait any further for badly needed funding that should have been allocated to them in February,” concluded Deputy McGrath.