As the Deputy may be aware my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service 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).
Mainstream schools in Counties Galway and Roscommon receive a service from NEPS psychologists based in the NEPS offices in Galway City and Roscommon town. While there are currently two psychologist vacancies in the Galway office, all schools continue to have access to support and development, critical incident and advisory support from NEPS and pupil casework via their assigned psychologist or via SCPA. Some 61 schools in Galway (52 primary, 9 post-primary) and 37 schools in Roscommon (35 primary and 2 post-primary) currently receive assessment services via the SCPA scheme. This situation is temporary and replacement staff are currently being sought from recruitment panels administered by the Public Appointments Service. These are expected to be engaged by the end of this calendar year.
My Department remains committed to the maintenance of our educational psychological service and the valuable supports it provides to our schools and would instance the announcement, in the context of last weeks’ Budget, of a further staffing increase of 10 psychologist posts for NEPS as tangible evidence of this ongoing commitment.