Written answers

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Department of Education and Science

Psychological Service

9:00 pm

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin South East, Fianna Fail)
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Question 274: To ask the Minister for Education and Science the reason a school (details supplied) in Dublin 4 is not included in the National Educational Psychological Service scheme which provides psychologists to primary and post-primary schools; and her views on adding this school to the list as soon as possible. [23064/07]

Photo of Mary HanafinMary Hanafin (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy will be aware that all primary and post primary schools have access to psychological assessments either directly through the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) or through the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA), full details of which are available on my Department's website. Schools that do not currently have NEPS psychologists assigned to them, such as the school to which the Deputy refers in the question, may avail of the SCPA and have an assessment carried out by a member of the panel of private psychologists approved by NEPS, and NEPS will pay the psychologist the fees for this assessment directly. The prioritisation of urgent cases for assessment is a matter for the school principal in the first instance.

The Deputy may be aware that since NEPS was established, we have trebled the number of psychologists in the service. We are committed to increasing its staffing further, so that by 2009 there will be 200 NEPS psychologists. In this regard recruitment of additional psychologists is currently ongoing and as appointments are made to particular NEPS regions, including the Dublin South West Area, the assignment of further schools to the NEPS service will be expanded.

Photo of Chris AndrewsChris Andrews (Dublin South East, Fianna Fail)
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Question 275: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if in view of the long delays in accessing educational psychologists in the south County Dublin area there are plans to increase the panel as a matter of urgency. [23065/07]

Photo of Mary HanafinMary Hanafin (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy will be aware that all primary and post primary schools have access to psychological assessments either directly through the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) or through the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA), full details of which are available on my Department's website. Schools that do not currently have NEPS psychologists assigned to them, such as the school to which the Deputy refers in the question, may avail of the SCPA and have an assessment carried out by a member of the panel of private psychologists approved by NEPS, and NEPS will pay the psychologist the fees for this assessment directly. The prioritisation of urgent cases for assessment is a matter for the school principal in the first instance.

Should schools authorities have issues in relation to the commissioning of assessments I would suggest that they make direct contact with the relevant NEPS Regional Director to discuss the matter.

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