Dáil Éireann - Volume 540 - 04 July, 2001
Written Answers. - Psychological Service.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
259. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science the extent to which educational psychologists have been made available to primary and second level schools; the full extent of the requirements as set out by parents, teachers and school authorities; when he expects to meet this requirement in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20464/01]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): The National Educational Psychological Agency came into existence on 1 September 1999  with the 42 psychologists already employed in the service. The recruitment of additional psychologists involved the organisation of a competition through the Civil Service and Local Appointments Commission. Notwithstanding the time consuming nature of such competitions, there are now 82 psychologists in NEPS and by the end of this school year there will be 100 psychologists in the service. I also intend to proceed with the recruitment of a further 28 psychologists before the end of this calendar year. This will raise the staffing to 128 and greatly improve the service.
NEPS is assisted in its development by the National Policy Advisory Board on which parents and school authorities are represented along with other partners in education. In those schools where a psychological service is currently provided, it is the practice of NEPS to consult widely with school authorities, teachers and parents of individual children. I recognise there is a current need for other schools and parents to be able to gain access to psychological assessments pending the full development of the NEPS service. I recently announced the allocation of £1.25 million to NEPS for the purchase of assessments from private practitioners. The management of NEPS has developed an action plan for the implementation of this scheme. Guidelines on how to avail of the scheme will be issued to schools in the new school year.
Dáil Éireann 540 Written Answers. Psychological Service.