IMPACT has written to party leaders and TDs involved in discussions on the formation of a new government to urge them to include the expansion of Ireland’s educational psychology services in any Programme for Government.
The union’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) branch welcomed the fact that most parties contesting the recent general election included a commitment to expanding the NEPS service, which has been subject to strict staffing restrictions since 2008. The school population has increased by 50,000 since then.
TDs have been given a report, produced by the IMPACT NEPS branch at the end of 2015, which shows that Ireland lags well behind other countries in its ratio of school psychologists to students. In the most recent international comparison – carried out in 2009 – Ireland ranked 26th out of 33 countries with one psychologist for every 5,298 students. The average was one per 3,700 students.
The union says that demand has significantly outgrown supply. In the letter to all recently-elected TDs, IMPACT national secretary Andy Pike said: “Investing in more staff is essential to providing a service that can meet 21st century demands. While NEPS continues to provide a highly valued service to primary and post-primary schools, current staffing does not allow psychologists to offer the full range of services to all schools that they are trained and qualified to provide. Expanding NEPS would enable psychologists working in the education system to deliver a high quality psychological service to all students, parents and school communities.”
You can download a copy of the IMPACT report HERE.