The Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP) has warned that the lack of a sufficient supply of educational psychologists in schools settings will be detrimental to special educational needs (SEN) proposals currently being outlined, despite welcoming the Government’s acknowledgement of the essential role that educational psychologists play in the lives of children and young people with SEN.
In response to the publication of the SEN Code of Practice for parliamentary approval by the Department for Education, the AEP has stressed that an uncertain funding future for the initial training of the educational psychology workforce and the ever increasing demand for educational psychologists’ posts will mean that there will be an insufficient number of educational psychologists supporting local authorities and schools in future, which could put the wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people across the country at risk. Educational psychologists play a key part in helping shape how educational settings approach SEN, including identifying what specific support a child may require during their education and helping teachers and other professionals to tailor the services provided to the child’s individual needs.
Kate Fallon, General Secretary of the Association of Educational Psychologists, said:
“Although we are pleased the draft SEN Code of Practice recognises the prominent role educational psychologists have in ensuring the wellbeing of all children and young people with special educational needs, we are concerned that there are not enough educational psychologists in nurseries, schools and colleges to carry out the proposals outlined in the draft.
“We are reaching the point when educational psychologists will not be able to meet all the demands on their time. There is already a shortage of educational psychologists, but the workforce is being placed under increasing pressure to provide more and more school SEN and mental health support services in an environment where the number of new schools and new types of schools is rising along with a growing number of pupils leading to an increase in the number of young people with special needs and behavioural difficulties. There has never been a worse time for there to be uncertainty over how the training of future educational psychologists will be funded. The Government needs to ensure that there is secure long-term funding for the training of educational psychologists with some urgency”