The Government has carried out an extensive review of the initial training arrangements for educational psychologists (EPs). The review focussed on the design and delivery of future training arrangements which will equip successful participants to meet the requirements of the developing EP role within changing EP services and are sustainable and fit with the wider approach to workforce development.
In recent years, there have been changes in local authority EP services and an important need to make the most of the specialist knowledge, expertise and skills of EPs. These factors, and the need for government to step in to meet a shortfall in funding, called into question the sustainability of the existing training arrangements. The review has emphasised that EPs have an important role in improving the opportunities for all children and young people. This is both in terms of LA statutory responsibilities and more universal early intervention and preventative support offered by the public and private sectors, voluntary and community groups and social enterprises. The initial training of EPs must meet the requirements for all these roles.
The review found that there were two issues that needed to be addressed - the funding mechanism and a lack of central coordination, especially around placement opportunities in years two and three of the course. There are a number of recommendations designed to improve both issues, including:
During the current Spending Review period, the Department for Education will make £5 million a year available for the initial training of EPs. LAs (and other employers) will meet the costs of years two and three training bursaries, placement supervision and associated costs.
These improvements to the quality of the training experience and the match-funded solution between central government and LAs is sustainable and achievable, and will signal a significant investment by the Department, offering stability and improvements to the training of future EPs.