Saturday 17 February 2018

'Disappointed' schoolchildren left waiting outside Department of Education as officials decide whether they can have photo on grounds

Gavin White

Around 140 children, teachers, school principals and parents from five Tipperary Town primary schools were left outside the Department of Education today as they protested against a lack of resources for the town’s schools.

The protest is part of the schools ongoing battle to get extra resources under the DEIS scheme (Delivering Equality for Schools).

The scheme, initially introduced in 2005, was reviewed in March this year and the Tipperary Town schools frustrated that they were not accepted into the scheme despite having the relevant criteria.

As students peacefully gathered outside to hand in letters for the protest to the Minister of Education Richard Bruton, a spokesperson for the Minister did not let students enter with their teachers to take a picture within the grounds.

The reason behind this was due to protocol forbidding demonstrations on Government grounds.

After deliberating for around 30 minutes in the cold weather, pupils were allowed on the premises only if they left their placards behind.

The spokesperson had initially said: "It is protocol not to allow any demonstration on the grounds of the Department."

Louise Toibin, Principal at St. Joseph’s School in Tipperary Town, said after it was suggested two children enter the grounds: "We’re not sending two students in, it’s all of us or nothing."

"I am so disappointed, and I'm looking at the faces of the students and they’re all disappointed," she said before they were eventually let in.

"We were overlooked in 2005 and after a review on March 13 we were refused again to our disbelief.

"We were told there is no appeals procedure, and we were told that we would probably be in line with the criteria to be a part of the scheme," Ms Toibin said.

"It would enable us to bridge the gap of the disadvantaged pupils and would make a massive difference to the school if we got the DEIS," she said. 

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