A CORK primary school is appealing to have its DEIS status reinstated to provide an increased level of support to children and their families.
Management at Togher Boys’ National School met with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath in the school yesterday to make their case for the increased supports under the programme, which the school was included in until 2006.
Budget 2022 includes an €18 million expansion of the DEIS scheme, which is expected to rise to €32 million the following year.
However, the additional schools to be added to the programme have yet to be announced.
The scheme currently has around 900 schools availing of a range of different supports to tackle educational disadvantage, such as increased funding, extra teachers and home school community liaison officers.
Speaking to The Echo ahead of the meeting with the Minister, principal of Togher Boys’ NS, Kieran Kelly, said the extra supports would be of “astronomical” value to the school community.
Mr Kelly said Togher Boys’ NS is the only school in the area that is not a DEIS school.
Particularly since the onset of pandemic, he said families in the school have been experiencing financial hardship.
“What I would see myself as principal is that there are an awful lot of families that would be low income families and they were struggling before the pandemic but they’re really struggling now,” he said.
“There are a huge amount of problems coming out of it [the pandemic].
“A lot of our job is listening to parents, trying to help them out, trying to guide them”, Mr Kelly said, explaining that the school needs additional resources to provide an increased level of support to their students.
“The families are brilliant in the school.
“They have a real interest in education, they’re dedicated to the children but they need that extra support and we have to fight for those children and those families.”
During his visit to the school, Minister McGrath also raised two flags awarded to the school — an Amber Flag recognising the efforts of the school in creating a healthy, inclusive environment that supports mental wellbeing and a Green Flag for environmental initiatives.