The Minister for Education Richard Bruton has said a new action plan for disadvantaged schools will be published by the end of this year.

The Department of Education has been carrying out a review of the current system of supports for such schools, called DEIS.

The DEIS scheme began in 2005 and provides an increased level of State support for over 800 schools in disadvantaged areas. 

Minister Bruton said the new plan would draw on international best practice for using the education system to increase opportunities and outcomes for children from disadvantaged areas.

The minister said the plan was expected to include a series of pilot schemes aimed at introducing measures which have been shown to work well in improving results for disadvantaged children and students.

There are currently 836 schools in disadvantaged areas, that are part of the DEIS programme, which provides them with additional funding. 

Speaking during his first public engagement since taking up his new ministry, Mr Bruton said: "We are going to use the small area census research that is available from the CSO that identify schools that have perhaps been wrongly left out of the scheme." 

The plan is expected to target school leadership, networks and support for DEIS teachers, teaching methodology and school integration.

The Department says the results of pilot programmes will be carefully monitored before any decisions around mainstreaming are considered.