The Liffey Trust made a decision at its last board meeting to try and reach out to help disadvantaged schools in the inner city. DEIS schools have been identified as those in disadvantaged areas that do not have the same opportunities as others.
The Liffey Trust’s aim is to help these schools deliver STEM education. Directors Ciara Close and Aidan Corless carried out a study visiting schools to find out their needs. The result of this was eye-opening. Most schools’ science classes have not been upgraded or maintained in many years.
The laboratories are not functioning and not fit for purpose with gas and water taps defunct for many years. The furniture and equipment have not changed much in 30/40 years. Many of these schools are old flat-roofed buildings with huge costs to maintain. Some are listed buildings that give rise to significant costs and challenges.
In fairness to the Department of Education, they have a tough role in financing all their needs. Each school gets a major request each year and these are big costs. It could be a new roof, a new classroom, new plumbing, new electrics etc so it means equipment replacement is way down on the priority list. Added to this, in recent years they have the addition of many immigrant students, and this in itself has required major investment.
The Liffey Trust wants to partner with others in helping lift the standard of the science classes and give underprivileged youth an equal opportunity.