Reduction in Educational Psychological Services

Created on: 24 Jan 2018 | Last modified: 04 Jul 2018

The 2016 AGM passed the following resolution:

"That this AGM instruct Council to investigate and report on the impact that the reduction in educational psychological services has had on children's access to the service."

The resolution was passed to Education Committee with input from Salaries. Education Committee at its meeting of June 2016 agreed to consult with both the Educational Psychologists’ and ASN Networks in order to ascertain their views of the impact of the reduction in educational psychology services.

The Educational Psychologists' (E.P.) Network discussed the resolution at its meeting of 24 June 2016; and the ASN network discussed it at its meeting of 12 September 2016.

The E.P. Network could not offer any information on impact of children's access to the service. It observed that members' perspective is that the E.P. service is overstretched, under-staffed and over-worked, but that there is no evidence on the impact that has on access for children.

The ASN Network observed that:

  • Some members perceive that the cuts have made no difference because children rarely saw educational psychologists anyway
  • Their perception is that children’s access to the service is perfunctory or non-existent; a 'bare minimum' model seems to be the norm
  • There is wide variation in delivery across different authorities, e.g. 

    - In some authorities (e.g. Argyll and Bute) educational psychologists can be used inappropriately e.g. for dyslexia diagnoses, where other services could better provide this, but in others (e.g. Scottish Borders) they are never used for diagnosis

    - Some authorities (e.g. Falkirk) use E.P.s on a "consultative basis"

    - In one authority (East Renfrewshire) all children with additional support for learning needs are allocated an educational psychologist, and attend one review meeting per year plus additional meetings if needed

    - In some authorities (e.g. Aberdeen) the ASN teachers see a lot of the E.P.s and they are perceived to be very engaged and 'hands-on'

    - In some authorities (e.g. North Ayrshire) they appear to be mostly engaged with systems rather than child contact.
  • Some areas are actively encouraging the training of teachers in programmes like 'Seasons for Growth', which perhaps blurs the lines regrading who is best placed to deliver therapeutic interventions, e.g. in Argyll and Bute the E.P. service pays for programmes on topics such as mindfulness, resilience etc., which teachers deliver.

The general consensus of the ASN network was that educational psychologists are used for support; to maintain systems; in GIRFEC processes; and, in some areas, in a diagnostic role; and that children's access to the service is highly variable and affected by more issues than purely the size of the service, including such factors as the authority's investment in teacher-led interventions, and its perception of the E.P. role.

Download PDF