Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (432)

Emmet Stagg

Question:

547 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Education and Science if he intends to keep the commitment made by the former Minister for Education and Science on 11 February 1999 that all national schools and secondary schools would have access to a psychological service within five years; if he will explain the reason national schools in Maynooth, Celbridge, Straffan, Ardclough, Rathmore, Sallins, Kilcock, Rathcoffey, Kill and Donadea in County Kildare remain without such a service; when they will receive the service promised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2180/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

There are 126 psychologists employed in the National Educational Psychological Service, NEPS, at present, in addition to psychologists employed elsewhere in the educational system. My Department has made offers of employment in NEPS to a further five psychologists, who are expected to take up their duties during 2004.

Due to the current general staffing constraints in the public service, it is unlikely that full roll-out of the psychological service to all schools will have been achieved by the target date of 1 September 2004. This means that there cannot be any major changes in the level of service in County Kildare during the current school year. However, I remain committed to the expansion, as resources permit, of NEPS until all schools in the country have access to an educational psychological service. Meanwhile, schools without access to the NEPS service may avail of the scheme for commissioning psychological assessments, details of which may be found on my Department's website.