Thursday, 5 February 2004

Questions (78)

Róisín Shortall


78 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science the circumstances under which parents may be asked to pay €340 for psychological assessments for their children; if all such assessments are supposed to be offered free by the NEPS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3434/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

In schools served by the National Educational Psychological Service individual psychological assessments are provided free of charge. Schools that do not yet have access to the psychological service provided by NEPS may avail of the scheme for commissioning psychological assessments. Under this scheme, school principals may commission individual psychological assessments from members of a panel of psychologists approved to carry out this work. The cost of the assessments is borne by NEPS.

In order to ensure equitable distribution of the available funding, there is a quota for the number of individual assessments each school may commission. The quota is two assessments per 100 students and this should be sufficient to ensure that urgent assessment needs are met. A parent could be asked to pay for a psychological assessment only if the school had used up its quota of assessments under the SCPA. Any difficulties in this regard should be brought to the attention of the manager of the SCPA in NEPS.