Principals are not psychologists


Sir, – In 2016 the State Examination Commission (SEC), with the approval of the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS), changed the procedures for granting reasonable accommodation for examination, allowing secondary school teachers to administer achievement tests to determine eligibility for examination accommodations. Subsequently a psychologist’s assessment and report were no longer necessary.

Similarly, the Department of Education recently revised the Irish exemption procedure, allowing teachers to use the same types of tests to determine if a student can be exempted from Irish on the basis of “significant learning difficulty”. Again, a psychologist’s assessment and report are no longer required.

Taken together, it is safe to assume that teachers are now educational psychologists who are qualified to make critical decisions based on their assessments of learning difficulties.

Given these trends, it is conceivable that teachers will assess, diagnose, and report on other learning and behavioural conditions such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autistic spectrum disorder, specific language impairment, and dyspraxia.

I believe this to be a reasonable speculation given the increasingly blurred distinction between the role of teachers and educational psychologists. – Yours, etc,