Written answers

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Department of Education and Skills

National Educational Psychological Service

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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70. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will ensure that a young person (details supplied) can access a NEPS assessment as soon as possible. [48728/21]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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In relation to the NEPS service, NEPS Psychologists work with schools using a problem solving model to help schools identify need and interventions to support those needs. Under the special educational needs model, 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 wish to for advice. 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 is in line with international best practice and 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 assessment and have equality of access to support prioritized on their individual needs.

Parents/guardians should engage with the Principal of their child’s school or the school’s SEN co-ordinator to discuss their child’s needs and to consider requesting a consultation with the assigned NEPS psychologist.

A NEPS assessment is not required for the pupil concerned to access learning supports. In September 2017 a new model to support pupils with special educational needs in our schools was introduced. The new model differs significantly from the old Resource Allocation Model, in that Special Education Teacher allocation is now frontloaded into schools to support children with special educational needs. This model differs from the previous system whereby pupils were allocated a prescribed number of resource teaching hours on the basis of a named disability. The new model gives schools the capacity to respond to individual needs in a flexible way and pupils do not have to have a psychological assessment, or a diagnosis of a disability, in order to access Special Education Teaching. This means that those with highest level of need can access the highest level of support within the school in a timely manner.


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