Psychology services already go beyond ASL

4th February 2011 at 00:00

I read with interest, but some dismay, your report on educational psychology services ("Expert in call for national educational psychologist service", January 21). Keith Topping's statements seemed more focused on the work of educational psychologists in England, where there is an entirely different framework and special educational needs still dominates as a concept.

I felt the article presented a somewhat outdated perspective on the role of educational psychology services in Scotland.

In North Ayrshire, our service works collaboratively with education management, schools and other partners developing and prioritising service delivery. It is routinely involved in the activities highlighted by Professor Topping. Specifically, the service is integrated into literacy and numeracy developments, taking forward the Curriculum for Excellence, the implementation of Getting it Right for Every Child, the promotion of social and emotional development, and the application of current thinking on motivation and mindset.

In an innovative partnership between the Scottish Government, local councils and psychologists, educational psychology services have expanded their remit to include young people aged up to 24.

We have used local community radio to reach out to a wider audience and we are currently exploring how psychologists can work with secondary schools to improve the success rate of pupils applying to Scottish universities to study medicine.

I would therefore argue that, in North Ayrshire, we are not overly focused on additional support needs. We actively plan to apply psychology universally, rather than to a limited client group and I know that other Scottish services do the same.

I am not at all complacent about the considerable challenges of the future but, in my experience, intelligently led councils in Scotland have already moved a long way down the path that Keith Topping is promoting.

Ian Wallace, principal educational psychologist, North Ayrshire Council.

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