Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary says he is alarmed by new figures which reveal that 53 schools across Mayo do not have a National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS ) psychologist assigned to them. The statistic is contained in a Parliamentary Reply submitted by the party.
Deputy Calleary commented: “While I have been raising concerns about service and staff provision within the NEPS service, these latest figures make for extremely worrying reading, and are much worse than had been envisioned. In fact, Mayo is one of the worst affected counties in the country. The NEPS service is essential to ensuring the early diagnosis of behavioural or psychological issues in children and young adults and devising a plan for them. Any delay in diagnosis impacts on the number of resource teaching hours and learning supports that they are allocated.
“The fact that so many schools across Co Mayo are without a NEPS psychologist is completely unacceptable," he added. "Earlier this year, we prioritised the recruitment of 100 new psychologists as part of our Confidence and Supply Agreement to facilitate a minority Government. These posts need to be rolled out as a matter of urgency.
“The schools that do not have an assigned educational psychologist are at a severe disadvantage because assessments for special educational needs or behavioural difficulties are delayed.
“I am calling on the Education Minister Richard Bruton to urgently address this situation and ensure that the 100 additional psychologists, which were agreed as part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement, are recruited and allocated without delay. There can be no stalling on this issue as the situation is already extremely serious.”