EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS-ARE THERE SHORTAGES?

EDUCATIONAL  PSYCHOLOGISTS

Key to SEN support-but worries about future shortages both of qualified staff and funding

Local authorities under real pressure

Comment

It is accepted that the  2,200  Educational psychologists (England and Wales) play a key part in helping to shape how educational settings approach a vast range of education issues through statutory and non-statutory work, including on curriculum development, generalised and complex special educational needs, support for the gifted and talented, behaviour management, and delivery of early-years provision. They also provide a vital role in offering strategic advice to local authorities across a range of children’s services, including for example,  fostering and adoption . They offer  crucial  knowledge of child development. Help with  early diagnosis and intervention, important  for conditions such as autism. They also provide diagnostic advice and support. In their understanding of  a child’s needs  they can provide a tailored support package to assist them- crucial to their development.  But there are growing concerns   about their future funding.  Educational psychologists are employed directly by the local authority, which therefore manages the training and deployment of staff. Since 2007, the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) has administered a funding scheme for the training of educational psychologists, to which local authorities are asked to contribute.  But apparently they are not pulling their weight.  Government cuts are  putting local authorities under massive financial pressure, and  local authorities are  therefore finding it much harder to fund educational psychologists. There is a clear danger of this  undermining  the Governments SEN policy .Indeed, there is clear evidence that contributions from local authorities to the CWDC pot  have been steadily decreasing. So far this year only 16 out of 150 local authorities have confirmed that they will be contributing, so  leaving a significant shortfall in funding. In short, local authorities are not paying their share given that the money is included in local authority funding settlements.

And the Government is also publishing a Green Paper on SEN, probably this December, which aims to lay out the framework for the future. . So the onus will be on the Green paper , and indeed  the  Minister responsible,  Sarah  Teather, to clarify  how this will  all work in future and where the funding will come from.  Over a hundred new educational psychologists have to enter the profession each year and quite   a few of those currently in service are nearing retirement   There is a national shortage and significant numbers of educational psychology services are carrying vacant posts. So it is something of a challenge. But what is clear is that uncertainty over the future will not help recruitment and a shortage of psychologists will undermine SEN policy. We shall have to await the Green Paper  for some answers.

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2 thoughts on “EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGISTS-ARE THERE SHORTAGES?

  1. Simplify and/or change SEN legislation, cull LEA EP’s + Specialist Teachers and SEN Administrators, Then put out their work tasks to Private, indepenent HPC Registered Educational Psychologists.
    Clients and Taxpayers would be all the better for it!

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