Tuesday, 14 June 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
832. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science the degree to which psychological assessment is readily available at all primary or post-primary schools throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20103/05]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): All schools have access to psychological assessments, either directly through the National Educational Psychological Service, NEPS, for those schools currently served by NEPS, or through the scheme for commissioning psychological assessments, SCPA, for those that do not currently have NEPS psychologists assigned to them.
All schools that do not have NEPS psychologists assigned to them may avail of this scheme, whereby they can commission assessments from a member of the panel of private psychologists approved by NEPS, and NEPS will pay the fees directly to the psychologists concerned. Details of this scheme, including the conditions that apply to it, are available on my Department’s website.
The complement of psychologists in NEPS has increased almost three-fold from 43 psychologists on establishment to 128 psychologists at present. NEPS also provides assistance to all schools that suffer from critical incidents, regardless of whether or not they have a NEPS psychologist assigned to them. NEPS also processes applications for reasonable accommodations in certificate examinations. On behalf of my Department, the Public Appointments Service has recently initiated a new recruitment competition for NEPS. Any increase in the overall numbers of psychologists in NEPS must take account of Government policy on public sector numbers.
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