Written Answers. - School Psychological Service.

Dermot Ahern

Question:

412 Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Education the plans, if any, she has to extend the school psychological service to the north east area, particularly in view of the much publicised difficulty involving children in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16411/96]

The psychological service from my Department is available to second-level schools in the north-east area. The psychological service for primary schools from my Department is in a limited number of areas at present, with priority given to schools serving disadvantaged areas. The service to primary schools has not been extended to the north-east area as yet.

In general, the responsibility for the psychological assessment of children in national schools, where such is deemed necessary, is a matter for the regional health boards through the appropriate director of comunity care. It will be some time before the psychological service from my Department will be in a position to take over responsibility for psychological assessments in national schools from the health boards.

When further expansion of the Department of Education's psychological service becomes possible, the needs of children and of schools in various areas, including the north-east area, will be borne in mind.