The Department of Education has cut the number of teaching posts to be axed in disadvantaged schools by more than half.

The most disadvantaged schools, that is schools falling within the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) Bands 1 and 2, will now not lose any teachers.

The Government had originally proposed to axe 235 posts in these schools, and these will now be retained.

192 posts from primary schools outside DEIS Band 1 and 2 and from DEIS second level schools will still be lost.

The move follows a strong and sustained campaign by DEIS primary schools.

The budget had also proposed a gradual reduction in teacher allocation in small rural primary schools.

However, small schools will now be allowed to appeal individual decisions on the basis of expected increased enrolment next year.

But other primary schools will see their capitation grant cut by 3.5% next September to pay for the retention of teachers in DEIS schools.

The Irish Primary Principal's Network has called this "robbing Peter to pay Paul".

The INTO has broadly welcomed today's announcement.

Some DEIS school principals have also given a guarded welcome to the news. However, they have expressed concern that teaching posts are to be retained "on a concessionary basis".

The Government has also slightly increased the allocation of resources and special needs teaching hours in DEIS Primary schools.

DEIS school principals say they will have to study this further.