Dáil Éireann - Volume 568 - 10 June, 2003

Written Answers. - Psychological Service.

  404. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science the extent to which he has received requests for enhanced psychological assessment and facilities at various schools throughout County Kildare; his plans for a favourable response in 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16031/03]

  Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): In common with all other areas in the country, a small number of requests have been received in my Department for expansion of the service provided by the national educational psychological service, NEPS, to all schools in County Kildare. There has also been a small number of other requests for an increased allocation of assessments under the scheme for commissioning psychological assessments.

  In general, schools in receipt of a service from NEPS appreciate the efforts made by the psychologist to respond to their needs, even though they would usually wish for an enhanced service, not just for assessments, but also for support and [312] advice to teachers and parents about a range of concerns. For the time being, expansion of the service to schools not yet served is the first priority of NEPS, rather than enhancement of service in the schools already served.

  The position regarding expansion for the remainder of 2003 is dependent on additional psychologists being able to take up job offers. My Department is making every effort to expedite this process. The need to assign psychologists to other regions where recruitment has been slow may also affect expansion in County Kildare. With regard to other facilities, the position in relation to the provision of accommodation at schools in County Kildare is set out in the 2003 school building programme that is published on my Department's website. The timing of when additional projects can progress to tender and construction is dependent on the budgetary allocation for 2004 and subsequent years.