The Minister for Education has told the Dáil that a number of teaching posts are being held in reserve for DEIS schools most affected by cutbacks.

Ruairi Quinn said all schools will be notified of their staffing levels in the coming weeks.

He said he has attempted to make it clear that the Government wishes to examine the situation as it pertains to every school on a case-by-case basis.

Minister Quinn praised the dedication and affection of teaching staff in ensuring the success of the DEIS scheme, allowing children experience a genuine opportunity that had been denied to them in previous years.

The Minister earlier announced that he has requested a report from his Department within four weeks on the staffing allocations for schools who had extra posts under the DEIS scheme.

He was speaking during a private members' motion on cutbacks to the scheme.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the pupil-teacher ratio will rise this year with the removal of 600 posts, despite Government statements that education would not be affected by the Budget.

Mr Martin criticised the language used by the Minister such as "the general allocation model is being updated", which he said translated as job losses.

He asked the Minister to reverse the cuts to the DEIS schools and retain the teaching staff.

Sinn Féin's Sean Crowe has described cutbacks in the DEIS scheme announced in the Budget as "a savage attack on the most vulnerable".

He said the Minister for Education and the Cabinet had stolen the life chances of thousands of children across the State.

Mr Crowe's party colleague Martin Ferris accused the Labour Party of "economic treason".

Addressing Labour TDs during the debate, Mr Ferris said "get off your arse … don't sit there like sheep".