GERALD Haigh's lament on current problems with the role of educational psychologists raises a number of challenging issues.
As someone involved in training EPs for many years, I am aware that their role has become ever more restricted to fulfilling their statutory responsibilities in regard to the assessment of pupils requiring statements.
However the suggestion that special needs teachers with additional training could undertake much of the statutory work currently done by EPs is somewhat simplistic, as is his view that assessment is solely restricted to testing.
Psychological assessment is a far more complex activity than simply administering a battery of tests.
A more realistic solution to the problem caused by the bulk of EP work being tied up in statutory assessments is to reduce the numbers of pupils being referred for such assessments in the first place.
Statutory assessment is an extremely time-consuming process for all those involved. By restricting the number of statutory assessments to pupils with more severe and complex needs, EPs should have more time to undertake additional work including counselling and therapy, inservice training and preventive work.
Chartered Educational Psychologist