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Lifting of recruitment ‘dead hand’ can tackle shortage of Educational Psychologists

8 June, 2007

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has welcomed the confirmation from the Education Minster Caitríona Ruane that the 'vacancy control measures' that had been put in place because of the Review of Public Administration have been lifted.

These 'vacancy control measures' had banned the Education Boards from employing staff on a permanent basis.

Mr McElduff said:

"Across the Education Boards is a serious shortage of Educational Psychologists. This is having a huge impact on children and young people who require this support and has m,eant that there are at times long waiting lists.

"Confirmation from the Department of Education that the Boards can now go ahead and recruit and advertise for staff, such as Educational Psychologists, on a permanent basis should have an immediate impact.

"The vacancy control measures meant that there was no incentive for Educational Psychologists to seek employment with the Boards as posts were only being advertise giving employment until March/April 2008. This undoubtedly contributed the shortages in available Educational Psychologists.

"I hope this, along with the other positive measures put ion place by the department will see speedy progress in ensuring that those children and young people with special educational needs and those who require the support from Educational Psychologists get the support they need and that we will see a reduction in waiting times." ENDS

Note to Editors - Information in AQW 52/07

Includes total shortage of Educational Psychologists of 18.5

DE provision of an additional £53 million since 2004/05 to Boards to improve services for children with special educational needs, including provision of Educational Psychologists.

DE has increased the number of Educational Psychologists to 12 per year and to attract applicants provides funding for an annual bursary of £15,000 per trainees for the duration of the 3 year course at QUB.

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