Most people agree that despite the Department of Education claiming more SET hours (formerly Learning Support) are being given to children, it feels like we’re getting less. I decided to get the facts. The following are the notes I referenced in the podcast.
According to the National Principals’ Forum, 61% of principals say there are not enough SET hours being offered to their schools: principalsforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/NPF-FB-Update.pptx-1.pdf But are they right?
In order to find out, I needed to get the data. SET Allocations are published on the NCSE’s website and they are published in PDF format. I used CloudConvert to change the 2017, 2019 & 2021 allocations into Excel files.
Next, I needed the data on every school in Ireland. Thankfully the Department of Education helpfully supplies this in long Excel Sheets. Long story short, I sorted them into year groups 2017, 2019 and 2021. It was time to find out whether we’re getting more or less support.
he answer is….. It depends. Overall, when it comes to SET allocations, with consideration to enrollment changes since 2017, SET Allocations have gone up by 0.2% So the DoE aren’t lying when they say there are more supports even if it is 0.05% per annum. However…
Let’s break it down a bit. Let’s say by county. Some counties in Ireland have had a large increase in population since 2017. As you can see, despite a 4.66% increase in school-going population, Roscommon’s allocations are almost 10% lower than they should be.
Not satisfied with being the county with the highest number of schools per capita being awarded STEM grants (twitter.com/simonmlewis/status/1737842387400139113) Co. Offaly tops the SET Allocations as well with 11.81% more allocations per pupil compared to enrollments. 🚨 Bad pun alert…
If we can give the DoE an error of margin of 2%, only 11 counties had an allocation that fell into that category. What conclusion can we make from that?
The only conclusion to make when comparing counties is that it’s a pointless thing to do. Essentially the algorithm was a nonsense. Schools should have received a relative SET allocation that coincided roughly with their relative enrollment figures to a point. So what next?
The big question… were developing schools screwed over? I would have been shocked if developing schools weren’t treated less favourably. However, it was how badly they were treated that blew me away 🤯
Defining the formula for a developing school is difficult because the rules aren’t straightforward so these figures are not 100% accurate but they won’t be far off. And here they are….The top row is developing schools, the bottom non-developing schools.
Essentially, despite having an average of 37.8% increase in population, the average allocation per pupil was 15.75% lower. In accounting for the enrollment rise, it means developing schools are on average getting 43.5% fewer SET hours.