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Dáil debates

Thursday, 9 March 2017

National Educational Psychological Service: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

 

The following motion was moved by Deputy Thomas Byrne on Wednesday, 8 March 2017.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 2:

- (Minister for Education and Skills)

2:30 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I must now deal with a postponed division relating to the motion regarding the National Educational Psychological Service. On Wednesday, 8 March 2017, on the question that the amendment to the motion be agreed to, a division was claimed, and in accordance with Standing Order 70(2), that division must be taken now.

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 44; Níl, 84; Staon, 0.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Regina Doherty and Colm Brophy; Níl, Deputies Michael Moynihan and Thomas Byrne.

Maria Bailey, Pat Breen, Colm Brophy, Richard Bruton, Peter Burke, Catherine Byrne, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Michael Creed, Michael D'Arcy, Jim Daly, John Deasy, Pat Deering, Regina Doherty, Paschal Donohoe, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Alan Farrell, Frances Fitzgerald, Peter Fitzpatrick, Brendan Griffin, John Halligan, Simon Harris, Martin Heydon, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Seán Kyne, Helen McEntee, Finian McGrath, Joe McHugh, Kevin Moran, Denis Naughten, Hildegarde Naughton, Tom Neville, Michael Noonan, Kate O'Connell, Fergus O'Dowd, Michael Ring, Noel Rock, Shane Ross, David Stanton, Leo Varadkar, Katherine Zappone.

Níl

Bobby Aylward, Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, Tommy Broughan, James Browne, Pat Buckley, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Lisa Chambers, Joan Collins, Michael Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, John Curran, Clare Daly, Pearse Doherty, Stephen Donnelly, Dessie Ellis, Seán Fleming, Kathleen Funchion, Michael Harty, Seán Haughey, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, Séamus Healy, Brendan Howlin, Billy Kelleher, Alan Kelly, Gino Kenny, John Lahart, James Lawless, Marc MacSharry, Charlie McConalogue, Mary Lou McDonald, Mattie McGrath, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Catherine Martin, Denise Mitchell, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Imelda Munster, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Catherine Murphy, Eugene Murphy, Paul Murphy, Carol Nolan, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Éamon Ó Cuív, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Jonathan O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Louise O'Reilly, Frank O'Rourke, Jan O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Willie Penrose, Thomas Pringle, Maurice Quinlivan, Anne Rabbitte, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Brendan Smith, Bríd Smith, Niamh Smyth, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Mick Wallace.

Amendment declared lost.

Photo of Carol NolanCarol Nolan (Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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I move amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:

“recognises that: — the National Educational Psychology Service (NEPS) is drastically understaffed, with 619 primary and post-primary schools across the State without access to a NEPS psychologist for the purposes of carrying out an assessment;

— the restriction of two assessments per 100 pupils under the current scheme means that access to a psychological assessment for a developmental or behavioural issue is unacceptably constrained, creating adverse effects on children’s education and reducing access to resource teaching hours and learning supports, and privileging households that have the resources to opt for private assessment;

— the insufficient resourcing of early intervention and school age teams for mental health and disability, means that the complex special education needs of a child are not always identified or assessed prior to enrolment at school;

— there are serious inequities and defects in the current allocation of resource teachers and learning supports across schools;

— the reduction of resource teaching hours to 85% of that recommended by the Special Education Review Committee was a cruel cut to vulnerable children; and

— there is a serious shortage of special autism spectrum disorder (ASD) classes at post-primary level, with less than half (45%) of the number of classes available at primary level; overall there are 548 classes at primary level and just 237 at postprimary, and there is also a severe shortage of ASD classes at pre-school level, with only 127 classes available throughout the State; acknowledges that: — while the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has proposed a reformed system, whereby access to resource teaching would no longer rely upon a formal diagnosis of learning difficulty, emotional or behavioural problems, there are legitimate concerns over aspects of the proposed new allocation model for resource teaching and learning supports that need to be addressed;

— the absence of special ASD classes in secondary schools is a travesty and is creating a real discrimination against children with ASD, and a much greater sense of urgency is required to ensure that these children can claim their entitlement to education by gaining admission to an appropriate school; and

— the outlawing of ‘soft barriers’ in the Education (Admissions to Schools) Bill 2016, to children with autism being admitted to school is insufficient to deal with the scale of the crisis; and calls on the Government to: — immediately restore the 15% cut in resource teaching hours and publish information on the criteria used to establish the resource allocation to schools, under the new resource allocation model, particularly in respect of the future complex needs model;

— give a firm commitment that no child with special educational needs will have their resource teaching hours or learning supports reduced under the new allocation model;

— ensure that an appropriate and robust appeals mechanism will be in place, as recommended by Inclusion Ireland, the NCSE and the inspectorate of the Department of Education and Skills, to address unanticipated changes in a school’s profile under the new resource allocation model, including instances where children start school from September 2017 or transfer from another school with special educational needs;

— immediately commit to the provision of sufficient resources for early intervention and school age teams for mental health and disability, including immediate funding for the recruitment of staff to fill all current vacancies;

— bestow the NCSE with statutory powers to direct schools at primary and post-primary level to establish autism units and-or special classes where these are required in an area; and

— act on the commitment in A Programme for Partnership Government to increase the capacity of the NEPS service, by the recruitment within a two-year timeframe of at least 100 additional NEPS psychologists with the goal of reducing the ratio of students to psychologists in real terms and ensuring that children have access to a timely assessment as envisaged by the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004.”

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 44; Níl, 85; Staon, 0.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Carol Nolan; Níl, Deputies Michael Moynihan and Thomas Byrne.

Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Tommy Broughan, Pat Buckley, Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Clare Daly, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Kathleen Funchion, Séamus Healy, Brendan Howlin, Alan Kelly, Gino Kenny, Mary Lou McDonald, Catherine Martin, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Catherine Murphy, Paul Murphy, Carol Nolan, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Jonathan O'Brien, Louise O'Reilly, Jan O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Willie Penrose, Thomas Pringle, Maurice Quinlivan, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Mick Wallace.

Níl

Bobby Aylward, Maria Bailey, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, Pat Breen, Colm Brophy, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Peter Burke, Mary Butler, Catherine Byrne, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Lisa Chambers, Michael Collins, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Michael Creed, John Curran, Michael D'Arcy, Jim Daly, John Deasy, Pat Deering, Regina Doherty, Stephen Donnelly, Paschal Donohoe, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Alan Farrell, Frances Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzmaurice, Peter Fitzpatrick, Seán Fleming, Brendan Griffin, John Halligan, Simon Harris, Michael Harty, Seán Haughey, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, Martin Heydon, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Billy Kelleher, Seán Kyne, John Lahart, James Lawless, Marc MacSharry, Charlie McConalogue, Helen McEntee, Finian McGrath, Mattie McGrath, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Joe McHugh, Kevin Moran, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Eugene Murphy, Denis Naughten, Hildegarde Naughton, Tom Neville, Michael Noonan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Jim O'Callaghan, Kate O'Connell, Fergus O'Dowd, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Frank O'Rourke, Anne Rabbitte, Michael Ring, Noel Rock, Shane Ross, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth, David Stanton, Leo Varadkar, Katherine Zappone.

Amendment declared lost.

Motion put and declared carried.