Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (383)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

383. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of vacancies for NEPS psychologists; the length of time of each vacancy by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13745/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy may be aware my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves direct support in the event of a critical incident, access to national and regional support and development work to build school capacity to support students, access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, and access to individual pupil casework via a NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments. (SCPA).

The Deputy may also be aware that under Budget 2018 NEPS numbers were further increased with 10 new posts being sanctioned from September 2018 bring total approved numbers to 194 w.t.e..

NEPS recruits its psychologist from Regional panels of suitably qualified personnel organised by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) following a national recruitment competition. These panels were replenished following a competition which was completed in early September 2018.

Currently there are 183 w.t.e. psychologist staff serving in NEPS with 11 vacancies. Three of these posts have recruits with agreed start in the next eight weeks. Two of the remaining vacancies are at Senior Psychologist level and an internal promotion competition is being put into place within NEPS currently to fill these posts. The consequential main-grade vacancies will, when identified, be replaced by the external recruitment process.

The Panel created in September is now depleted and the remaining vacancies will not now be filled from that source. My Department is in active talks with PAS in relation to the organising of a new national recruitment competition from which new regional recruitment panels will be formed. It is hoped that these will be in place for the commencement of the new academic year.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the last budget again increased NEPS psychologist number by a further 10 posts to 204 w.t.e.. These posts will also will also fall due for filling from the new panel for September 2019.

In relation to the Deputy’s question I can clarify that NEPS psychologists are not, per se, assigned by county but work within a regional and local office structure serving the needs of schools in their immediate vicinity. I attach therefore for the Deputy’s information a breakdown of current NEPS vacancies by Region and Office location and detailing the length of time the posts have been vacant.

Office location of NEPs Psychologists posts currently vacant and length of time in weeks the vacancies have existed

NEPS Region

NEPS Office

Vacancy Commenced

No Weeks Vacant

Agreed Start Date

Comment

West

Galway Office

02/07/2018

38

01/04/2019

S-East

Kilkenny

01/09/2018

29

08/04/2019

Dublin

Dublin 1 Office

30/06/2018

38

20/05/2019

Dublin/Mid Leinster

Naas Office

06/09/2018

29

S-East

Portlaoise

01/09/2018

29

N-East

Cavan Office

01/09/2018

29

N-East

Cavan Office

06/07/2018

37

N-East

Navan Office

09/07/2018

37

N-West

Letterkenny Office

03/07/2018

38

Dublin/Mid Leinster

Dun Laoghaire Office

12/11/2018

19

Senior Psych.

West

Galway Office

01/12/2018

16

Senior Psych.