Psychology economy is false

3rd February 2012 at 00:00

Following the Scottish government's announcement of the removal of funding for postgraduate training of educational psychologists (TESS, 20 January), the EIS has welcomed the opportunity to join the educational psychologists' workforce planning group. But it is disappointing that there appears to be no scope to defer a decision on the removal of funding support, pending a more detailed discussion of a full audit to identify future need and consider alternative funding models.

The EIS is fully aware of the current financial problems. However, the decision to bring the postgraduate qualification for educational psychologists in line with other postgraduate courses funded by education misses the fact that the two-year training and the probationary year are required to meet Health Professions CouncilBritish Psychological Society requirements to practise as an educational psychologist. Few may wish to give up employment to study for two years with a probationary year to follow, and this could affect the numbers and quality of prospective students.

We believe the Dundee course, due to commence this autumn, is now at risk, which raises concern that there will be a significant problem in recruitment. This will impact disproportionately on outlying areas in Scotland.

The survey conducted by the Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists (ASPEP) clearly sets out the risk the Scottish government is taking, but it does not address the level of service cuts hitherto in educational psychology services across the majority of Scotland's councils.

Staffing shortages would prevent educational psychologists from making a stronger contribution across education as a whole, as recommended in the recent ASPECT report.

We are afraid that the psychological services will be run on a crisis management basis and that Scottish councils will be further exposed to risk of legal challenge. This would also impact on the government's commitment to improving the potential of all children.

Just as there is a need to establish a national standard for teacher numbers, there is an equal need for a national staffing standard for educational psychologists, against which the ASPEP survey could be considered. This would in turn allow a projection against which demand could be reasonably established and which would allow a more detailed debate on supply.

The EIS is asking the Scottish government to defer a decision on longer- term funding arrangements, to maintain the current arrangement for the course which will start at Dundee this autumn and in the meantime to consider both demand issues and alternative funding models.

Drew Morrice, assistant secretary, EIS.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today