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Rising demand for Educational Psychology Services impacts the workforce

New research by IER and Ecorys for the Department for Education (DfE) finds that recruitment and retention issues and rising numbers of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) contribute to a vicious cycle of unmet demand for Educational Psychology Services.

Using a mixed methods approach, the research aimed to understand the demand for educational psychology services and their impact. The research found that Educational Psychologists (EPs) deliver an important and valued service, providing unique functions as part of a complex system of support for children and young people. Capacity, primarily driven by the rise in EHCP numbers combined with recruitment and retention issues, has become an increasingly pressing issue and was consistently identified as the main barrier to delivering the most effective service. A vicious cycle was identified in which the need for EPs to prioritise EHCPs reduced the time available for early intervention work and whole-school advisory work. Without this early intervention, the issues experienced by the child or young person can intensify, leading them to need an EHCP and placing further pressure on EPs’ capacity to engage in early intervention and systemic work.

The research examined various potential solutions to these issues, concluding that purely supply-side interventions designed to increase the size of the Educational Psychology workforce were unlikely to address these issues alone and that they needed to be combined with demand focused interventions to ensure the sustainability of the system.

This work built on previous work by IER for DfE in 2019.

Thu 03 Aug 2023, 08:53 | Tags: work