Wider role mooted for educational psychologists

Educational psychologists spend too much time carrying out statutory assessments and not enough time using their skills in other areas, new evidence suggests.

A government-commissioned review of educational psychology provision in England and Wales has recommended a fundamental rethink of the way assessments of children with special educational needs are carried out, in order to free up educational psychologists’ time.

“The vast majority of respondents felt that the work of educational psychologists bought direct benefits to children,” said project lead professor Peter Farrell. “However, the overwhelming view was that educational psychologists have been too heavily involved in the statutory assessment of children with special educational needs and that this has not been a good use of their valuable time.”

The researchers, from the University of Manchester, analysed data from over 1,000 respondents including teachers, parents, pupils, mental health professionals, and youth offending team members.

Farrell said a substantial number of respondents had suggested that another professional, such as an assistant educational psychologist or specialist school teacher, could take on some aspects of the educational psychologist’s work, freeing educational psychologists up to “expand and develop their activities in different areas where their skills and knowledge can be used to greater effect”.

He added that educational and clinical psychologists working with children should develop closer working relationships and begin discussions about a possible merger of the two professions.


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