29 Wexford schools are without psychological service
TWENTY NINE County Wexford schools do not have a National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) psychologist assigned to them, a figure described by a local deputy as extraordinary.
The figures were contained in response to a parliamentary question tabled by Fianna Fáil last week.
The National Educational Psychological Service works with both primary and post-primary schools and is concerned with learning, behaviour, social and emotional development.
Deputy James Browne said the figures are deeply worrying and clearly demonstrate the crisis that the school psychologist service is currently going through.
'It's extraordinary that 29 schools in Wexford do not have access to a professional psychologist when you consider the extreme stresses that many children undergo as they grow older.
'We have known for some time that the school psychologist service is drastically understaffed. For example, in most instances it takes over a year for students to be assessed for special education needs,' he said. Deputy Browne said this is having a detrimental impact on these children's development as it affects their access to Resource Teaching Hours and Learning Supports. Overall children in these schools have limited access to psychological supports and counselling services when a crisis presents.
He said Fianna Fáil has been raising concerns about the understaffing of the NEPS for some time now.
'This is why we made the recruitment of 100 new psychologists a condition of our Confidence and Supply Arrangement to facilitate a minority Government. I will be working with my party colleagues to ensure that this commitment is adhered to so that Wexford schools can get the resources they need to help support the development of their pupils,' he said.
The Department of Education was asked to comment but failed to respond.