Psychologists, often accused of being outside the education loop, are being brought into the inspectorial regime from early next year. With inspectors extending their involvement across services for children and young people, they are next in line for full scrutiny.
Graham Donaldson, senior chief inspector, said that psychological services were fundamental in helping to create a more inclusive education system and it was only right they were inspected.
They routinely operated across departmental boundaries and had to integrate with other professions - including health and social work - if they were to be effective.
Mr Donaldson said: "They play a key role in providing specialist advice and support to children, parents, teachers and a range of other professionals to ensure that the needs of all pupils can be met and their full potential realised.
"The general drive towards creating more effective delivery of the whole range of services for children will further highlight the importance of delivering high quality educational psychological services."
Mr Donaldson said the inspectorate would do its utmost to provide each local authority "with the support and challenge that independent inspection can provide, helping every service to the standards achieved by the best".
The inspectors' previous review of psychological services led to the publication, in 1997, of Education Authority Psychological Services: Future Directions. The Scottish Executive followed this up by commissioning work to develop specific performance indicators.
* The Education Minister has announced a one-off inspection of local authority services for children with autism. HMI will receive pound;100,000 to carry out the study over the next two years.