My Department provides a psychological service to all second level schools in south Kerry. However, the psychological service provided to primary schools is still in the development phase.
I am aware of the importance for schoolchildren, especially those with special educational needs, to have ready access to a psychological service and the provision of this has been one of my priorities during my time in office. On 11 February last, I announced the decision by the Government to establish a national educational psychological service agency. This agency will be formally established as and from the 1 September 1999, and will begin to provide a service on that date. The process of recruiting additional psychologists for the agency has already begun. An advertisement for additional staff has been placed and interviews for the new posts will be held shortly. It is envisaged that all schools, both in County Kerry and nationally, will have access to the psychological service at the end of a five-year period and most will have access before that time.