DEPUTY Pat the Cope Gallagher, Leas Cheann Chomhairle has called on the Minister for Education Richard Bruton and the Government to explain the DEIS designation process and to provide greater transparency in terms of the criteria and the selection process used by his Department in designating the additional schools while at the same time denying other schools the status.
The situation is further aggravated for the unsuccessful schools due to the fact no appeals mechanism exists – unsuccessful schools should be afforded an opportunity to challenge the outcome of their designation and be allowed to present supplementary evidence to support their original case for DEIS status. Whilst I welcome the schools which received their designation in the recent round many other schools have been left out and what I seek is a level playing field for all schools.
Pat the Cope added he was “bemused if not confused” by a Government representatives in Donegal advising schools to contact the Department officials on what was a political decision by the Minister of the day – the reality is the process used by the Minister and the Government in designating additional DEIS schools was flawed and unfair, this was acknowledged in the Departments own Action Plan when it was highlighted that the methodology used in DEIS needed improvement and refining.
The entire process is not fit for purpose and does not give the right of appeal to the unsuccessful applicants; this situation cannot be allowed to continue. It is a basic requirement of any application process that unsuccessful applicants have the right to appeal the decision reached. The Government have made a mess of what should be a good news story for rural communities, for the numerous primary and secondary schools and school children, parents and teachers alike.
The current situation whereby schools can only verify the data submitted in their original DEIS application but can neither add to or appeal the decision reached is grossly inadequate and highlights how much a non-process the Government have provided for unsuccessful schools.
Pat the Cope stated I have directly contacted the Department regarding the unsuccessful schools within Donegal and I am awaiting a full report into the criteria used, the process adopted in reaching the decision by the Minister and I am calling on the Minister to provide and establish an independent appeals mechanism in the interest of transparency and fairness. This has all the hallmarks of another Government blunder and the incomplete and haphazard approach in designating DEIS schools which will result in leaving many disadvantaged children out of this important education programme which DEIS is concluded Pat the Cope.
Posted: 10:50 am February 16, 2017