Written answers

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Department of Education and Skills

National Educational Psychological Service

Photo of Darren O'RourkeDarren O'Rourke (Meath East, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

386. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of NEPS psychologists assigned to primary and secondary schools (details supplied) in County Meath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47668/21]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I can inform the Deputy that my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves direct support in the event of a critical incident, access to national and regional support and development work to build school capacity to support students, access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, and access to individual pupil casework where there is need via a NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments (SCPA).

NEPS does not maintain waiting lists but in common with many other psychological services and best international practice, has adopted a consultative model of service. The focus is on empowering teachers to intervene effectively with pupils whose needs range from mild to severe and transient to enduring. Psychologists use a problem solving and solution oriented consultative approach to maximise positive outcomes for these pupils. NEPS encourages schools to use a continuum based assessment and intervention process whereby each school takes responsibility for initial assessment, educational planning and remedial intervention for pupils with learning, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Teachers may consult their NEPS psychologist should they need to at this stage in the process. Only in the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, in spite of the school's best efforts in consultation with NEPS, will the psychologist become involved with an individual child for intensive intervention or assessment.

This system allows psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases and also to help many more children indirectly than could be seen individually. It also ensures that children are not referred unnecessarily for psychological intervention.

In relation to the Deputy’s request for information regarding NEPS service to a list of Meath schools, I wish to advise that each of these schools has access to NEPS for Critical Incident Support, the NEPS Regional Support and Development Service and for responses to queries arising. Twenty-two of the schools have an assigned NEPS psychologist for a casework service and thirty-four of the schools, while awaiting the appointment of NEPS psychologists, have access to the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments (SCPA) for a casework service.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.