What difference has DEIS (Delivering Equality of opportunity in Schools) made to children living in areas of disadvantage?
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BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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A principal tenet of The Irish Constitution purports that the State Authority "cherishes the Children of the Nation equally". The Department of Education and Science is the responsible arm of the State in the provision of education to all of the children of Ireland. The aim of this research is to determine if the Department of Education and Science's Action Plan for Educational Inclusion, DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), is making a difference in areas of disadvantage. The quantitative research took the form of a three-page questionnaire sent to ninety schools randomly selected from the seven hundred and fifty taking part in the Plan. Three categories of school were surveyed, rural primary, urban primary and secondary. Thirty-seven schools participated, providing education to ten and a half thousand children. Thirteen questions established the type of school, number of pupils, and the number of psychological assessments carried out. Principals were also asked to evaluate the causes of Early School Leaving and the impact of the DEIS programme on children at their school Answers from the responding schools were collated and together with desk research went to provide the body of work for the thesis. The findings suggest that there are gaps in the educational system. DEIS has made some difference but falls short in many areas including the reduction of class size and the provision of psychological assessments. The conclusions drawn, from the findings are that while DEIS does make a difference it is not enough and a concentrated effort must be made to address the issue of educational disadvantage in Ireland.