Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Ceisteanna (127)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

127. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to ensure 20 extra NEPS psychologists are provided for in budget 2020. [40048/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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).

I can inform the Deputy that starting from a level of 173 whole-tome equivalents in 2016 and following increases allowed in Budgets 2017, 2018 and 2019 the sanctioned number for NEPS psychologist currently stands at 204 w.t.e.

Some 193 of these posts are currently filled which represents the highest number of psychologists to be employed within NEPS since the inception of the service in 2000. The filling of the remaining posts is being actively pursued by my Department in conjunction with the Public Appointments Service and a number of new appointments are imminent.

This Government remains firmly committed to the maintenance of a robust and effective educational psychological service and any further increase in the number of psychologists will be a matter for determination in the context of the Departmental Estimates process and forthcoming Budget 2020.