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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 17 Apr 2002

Vol. 552 No. 1

Written Answers. - Psychological Service.

Seamus Healy


630 Mr. Healy asked the Minister for Education and Science the arrangements he will make to ensure an appropriate and speedy psychology assessment service for pupils in national schools. [11070/02]

The planning group that prepared proposals for the national educational psychological service agency – NEPS – recommended an overall target number of 200 psychologists. It also recommended that this target should be achieved by the end of 2004.

I launched the new NEPS in May 2000 with the 43 psychologists already employed in my Department. The recruitment of additional psychologists involved the organisation of competitions through the Civil Service and Local Appointments Commission. Notwithstanding the time consuming nature of such competitions, there are now almost 100 psychologists deployed in the education sector. The Civil Service Commission is currently at the interview stage for the recruitment of additional psychologists to NEPS. It is envisaged that many of them will be in post by the end of this school year.

I also announced recently that arrangements are being made to enable the full complement of 200 NEPS psychologists to be appointed by the end of this year, two years ahead of schedule. The NEPS service is now available to approximately 1,950 primary schools – more than double the number that were served on establishment date – and to all post-primary schools. Pending the expansion of NEPS to all schools, my Department has allocated funding to NEPS to allow for the commissioning of psychological assessments from private practitioners. NEPS has issued details of how to avail of this scheme to all schools.