Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Educational Psychologists

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 15th November 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Raymond McCartney Raymond McCartney Sinn Féin 2:30 pm, 15th November 2016

T3. Mr McCartney asked the Minister of Education whether he is content or satisfied with the number of educational psychologists that are available to carry out assessments on young children and young adults. (AQT 478/16-21)

Photo of Peter Weir Peter Weir DUP

With regard to educational psychologists, there is an issue which is a joint working between the Departments of Education and Health. There are gaps in that, and we are hoping to close those in terms of numbers. I am happy to work with my colleague in Health at the Executive to ensure that we get timely interventions. It was mentioned earlier today when we were debating autism, for example, that one of the problems was early diagnosis, which principally lies with Health, but there is a joint responsibility. The sooner we can get to a diagnosis and, indeed, action to rectify some problems, the more advantageous to everybody.

Photo of Raymond McCartney Raymond McCartney Sinn Féin

Mo bhuíochas leis an Aire as an fhreagra sin. I thank the Minister for his answer. While he waits to have that discussion with the Minister of Health, are there any actions that he could take to help reduce the waiting times, even in the short term?

Photo of Peter Weir Peter Weir DUP

Strategically, we need to look at what actions can be taken to ensure that there is a smoother process, full stop. Whatever the direct contact between me and Michelle O'Neill in relation to this, there is ongoing work with the two Departments at official level. Particularly with regard to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 that went through last year, part of that was to have a much greater sense of joined-up working, so there is liaison between officials. We need to ensure that, while there is good work going on at a departmental level, that permeates into the groundwork and we get that delivery for young children.