There has been a striking improvement in the performance of children attending disadvantaged primary schools in the areas of reading and mathematics.

New data by the Department of Education published today found a significant increase in test scores among children attending DEIS schools between the years 2007 and 2013.

Gains are especially evident in junior classes. The study also found that pupil attendance levels have improved significantly over the same period.

The DEIS programme, which gives special additional resourcing to schools in disadvantaged areas, was introduced in 2006.

Pupils in 120 DEIS schools were tested for the study, which was carried out by the Educational Research Centre.

In 2007, 22% of pupils in DEIS schools were classified as low achievers in terms of their reading scores.

This had been halved to just 11% by last year. The national average is 10%.

A similar picture is evident in maths. In 2007, 22% were categorised as low achievers, but this has been reduced to 13%.

The national average for maths is 10%.