No surprises

8th March 1996 at 00:00
You report that 47 per cent of special education needs co-ordinators were "fairly or very" dissatisfied with their educational psychology service. (TES, March 1). I am not surprised.

In January of this year the Ombudsman, in finding an education authority guilty of "maladministration causing injustice" and ordering it to recompense the parent, commented that: "In a survey reported to that LEA's education performance monitoring sub-committee of headteachers about the EPS, 80 per cent of headteachers who returned the questionnaire recorded acceptable levels of satisfaction in relation to quality of work, reliability and punctuality of the EPS, general communication and response to telephone messages. However, recorded levels of satisfaction dropped to less than 50 per cent of headteachers in relation to the amount of educational psychology time given and frequency of school'visits'."

Elsewhere, the Ombudsman comments: "According to the report on the review of the educational psychology service, it had suffered a 20 per cent reduction in its budget in 199394 compared to the previous year, [reducing] the number of educational psychologists employed. Work within schools bore the full impact of these cuts, with only six full-time educational psychologists remaining to serve 130,000 children and young people. By the summer of 1994 . . . there were 350 children who warranted an assessment . . . but who had not been seen. "

J BRIAN HARRISON-JENNINGS

General secretary,

Association of Educational Psychologists

3 Sunderland Road

Durham

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