The Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) scheme has had a positive effect on the quality of education in Ireland's most disadvantaged institutions, according to new research.
Introduced in 2005, the programme offers additional teaching resources and other support to 670 primary and 195 post-primary schools.
Now, several reports commissioned by the Department of Education have stated it has led to notable gains in the literacy and numeracy levels of pupils at qualifying establishments.
The study noted "statistically significant improvements" in reading and maths ability for students in second, third and sixth classes.
Welcoming the findings, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said: "I'm pleased that all the primary schools in the Inspectorate evaluations had prioritised improved attainment in literacy and numeracy. It's encouraging to see that the ERC report shows that there have been statistically significant gains."
Last week, Mr Quinn acknowledged on RTE's Morning Ireland programme it was a mistake to announce cuts in funding to DEIS schools, while he announced in the Dail his department will be reviewing this decision.