Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (257)

Jonathan O'Brien


257. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will ensure that a person (details supplied) in County Waterford will receive an appointment with a NEPS psychologist as a matter of urgency. [22808/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department's National Educational Psychological Service has, in common with many other psychological services and best international practice, adopted a consultative model of service. The focus is on empowering teachers to intervene effectively with pupils whose needs range from mild to severe and transient to enduring. Psychologists use a problem solving and solution focused consultative approach to maximize positive outcomes for these pupils. 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 need to at this stage in the process. In the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, and in spite of the school's best efforts in consultation with NEPS, the psychologist will become involved with an individual child for intensive intervention which may include assessment. This system allows psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases, to help many more children indirectly than could be seen individually and it ensures that children are not referred unnecessarily for psychological intervention.

I have made enquiries and can inform you that no request for direct intervention has been made to NEPS in relation to the pupil referred to in the Deputies question. A request for such involvement should be made, in the first instance, through the school Principal to the psychologist assigned to the school. We are aware from enquiries with the school that some additional supports have been put in place for him within the school and that his situation in this regard is subject to ongoing review by school authorities. As you may be aware the child is awaiting a referral to Central Remedial Clinic (Waterford) services for which, I understand, an appointment date is imminent.