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).
Under this SCPA scheme schools can have an assessment carried out by a member of the panel of private psychologists approved by NEPS, and NEPS will pay the psychologist the fees for this assessment directly upon receipt from school authorities of the requisite Certificate of Completion.
I can inform the Deputy that for the 2017/18 academic year NEPS some 1,459 SCPA assessments were undertaken, the necessary certification received by NEPS and paid to date.
The figure for the previous 2016/17 academic year, within the date parameters provided, is 2,520 SCPA assessments. The decrease in SCPA assessments between the two years is reflective, in part, of the growth in NEPS psychologist numbers in the period.