Over 500 Schools do not have access to a NEPS psychologist for assessments – Nolan
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Teachta Carol Nolan has expressed shock at the fact that 544 schools do not have access to a NEPS psychologists for the purposes of carrying out assessments. The figures were revealed to Teachta Nolan in a Parliamentary Question response from the Minister for Education Richard Bruton.
Teachta Nolan said:
“I have consistently highlighted the need for additional resources for the NEPS service and these figures reveal the extent of the gaps in the current system.
“321 schools have no NEPS psychologist available due to staffing vacancies, while a further 223 schools do not have access to a NEPS psychologist temporarily due to leave arrangements.
“As a former principal, I know only too well the frustration of securing an assessment for a child and the reality is that many principals have to scour through a list of private psychologists in order to secure an assessment under the current system.
“Due to the fact that the number of referrals for assessment are limited per school, many parents are forced to pay privately for the assessment to be carried out.
“The Government failed to provide any additional supports to the NEPS service in the most recent budget and there is a genuine fear among stakeholders that the new resource allocation model for special educational needs is paving the way for the elimination of educational assessments altogether.
“I am delighted that my offer to act as a rapporteur on behalf of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education in relation to a report on the NEPS service was taken up this week and I look forward to engaging with stakeholders on this issue in the coming months.”