Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 15 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Psychological Service.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
297. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science the extent to which she intends to meet the psychological assessment needs at primary and secondary level throughout County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6006/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: All schools in County Kildare have access to psychological assessments for their pupils, either directly through my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service — NEPS — psychologists or through the scheme for commissioning psychological assessments — SCPA — which is administered by NEPS. Schools that do not currently have NEPS psychologists assigned to them may avail of the SCPA, whereby the school can have an assessment carried out by a member of the panel of private psychologists approved by NEPS, and NEPS will pay the psychologist directly the fees for this assessment. Details of this process and the conditions that apply to the scheme are available on my Department’s website.
NEPS provides assistance to all school communities which experience critical incidents, regardless of whether they have a NEPS psychologist assigned to them. Also, in relation to all schools, NEPS processes applications for reasonable accommodation in certificate examinations, RACE, for the State Examinations Commission, SEC.
In common with many other psychological services, NEPS operates a staged model of service to schools, whereby an initial referral usually leads to a consultation and provision of advice to teachers and parents on appropriate teaching and management strategies. Progress is kept under review and only those children who fail to respond to these interventions will need to see a psychologist. This allows the psychologists to offer early appointments to children who are in urgent need of support and early advice to teachers in respect to those children whose needs are perhaps less pressing but still need additional help in school.
The number of National Educational Psychological Service psychologists has increased from 43 on establishment to 121 at present. Five NEPS psychologists are currently involved in servicing County Kildare. The Public Appointments Service recently concluded a new recruitment competition for the appointment of educational psychologists to NEPS and my Department is in the process of appointing a number of psychologists from the panels. Two appointments are  scheduled to be made to the south western area of the eastern region, servicing south and west Dublin, County Kildare and part of County Wicklow, from this process.
Dáil Éireann 614 Written Answers. Psychological Service.