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Ruairí Quinn reverses 235 legacy post cuts from DEIS primary schools

The reduction in overall capitation funding planned for 2013 is being brought forward to cover the cost of the retention.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

THE MINISTER FOR Education has announced a reversal in the government’s decision to cut supports for a number of disadvantaged primary schools on Deis Band 1 and Band 2.

Around 428 posts in total were due to be cut from DEIS schools through phased withdrawal, but the minister said today that 235 posts due to be cut would be retained.

The government says that the withdrawal of 192 posts from primary schools outside of those two bands and from DEIS secondary schools would proceed as planned.

In January, Ruairí Quinn announced a four-week review of the probable impact of the planned cuts. He signalled that the cuts were likely to be reduced following that review, and he also acknowledged that the government had ‘made mistakes’ on the issue.

That review was published today (pdf). It found that of the 140 Deis Band 1 and 2 schools covered by the report, 107 would lose between 0.5 and two legacy posts, 22 schools would lose between three and four legacy posts. Three schools would lose more than five legacy posts, while eight schools would not lose any legacy posts.

Minister Quinn warned that the retention of the 235 DEIS posts would mean cuts have to be made elsewhere in the primary school budget.

The financial impact of retaining the primary school posts will be met this year by bringing forward to this year part of the reduction in overall capitation funding originally scheduled for 2013.

This means that the reduction in overall capitation funding in 2012 will now be 3.5 per cent and will occur through an additional reduction in the basic capitation grant rate. This rate was reduced to €183 per capita and will now be reduced by a further €5 to €178 applicable to all payments from January 2012.

The minister also confirmed today that under the General Allocation Model, DEIS Band 1 schools will be given an additional allocation of 0.2 of a post where the school has under 200 pupils, and an increase of 0.4 of a post where the school has 200 or more pupils.

‘Deckchairs on the Titanic’

Today’s announcement has been criticised by the Irish Primary Principal’s Network, which described the partial reversal of cuts in exchange for decreased school funding as an “attempt to rob Peter to pay Paul”.

Seán Cottrell, IPPN Director, said compared the decision to “moving the deckchairs around on the Titanic”.

“The enduring task of teachers is to raise the bar in children’s performance and close the gap between the highest and lowest achievers, regardless of their economic background,” he said.

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

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