Minister for Education Norma Foley has announced a major expansion of the DEIS schools programme.
The Department of Education has said that DEIS programme, designed for schools in disadvantaged areas in need of additional support, will be extended to an extra 310 schools.
This is the first significant expansion of the programme since 2017, which currently supports 884 schools and 180,000 students.
Nearly 40 DEIS schools will also receive increased supports after being reclassified, the Minister said.
According to the Department of Education, an extra 1,194 schools and 240,000 students will benefit from the change.
The expansion of the programme will take effect from September.
Ms Foley said: “This investment will provide for in the region of 160 additional primary teaching posts, approximately 100 additional home school community liaison posts, additional guidance and leadership posts as well as DEIS grants and enhanced book grant funding.”
She said that part of the changes will take into consideration the educational disadvantages faced by Traveller and Roma students, as well as pupils living in homeless accommodation or direct provision centres.
“Using this approach we can extend the additional targeted supports of the DEIS programme to those schools serving high concentrations of students at risk of educational disadvantage and be confident that the largest investment to date in the DEIS programme is being provided to those schools most in need,” Ms Foley said.
She said that the move was a “further step towards achieving my Department’s goal to ensure equity of opportunity in education and that all students are supported to fulfil their potential”.