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Promoting policy change on training of Educational Psychologists

Educational Psychologists are critical in identifying special educational needs and are required to contribute to a young person’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). They also provide tailored support and outreach to teachers and families, through new support strategies when the complex needs of a child are not being met. Schools and teachers are supported by the specialist advice and practical interventions Educational Psychologists bring to create a conducive learning environment for children who are otherwise likely to fall behind.

In 2018, IER conducted a mixed-methods project for the Department for Education to gather evidence on the distribution and demographic characteristics of the current educational psychologist (EP) workforce, with a particular focus on the Local Authority (LA) EP workforce, in order to map existing and projected EP shortages

The research found that more than two thirds of Local Authorities were finding it difficult to fill vacant Educational Psychologist post, over 80% consistently experienced recruitment difficulties and over 90% of Local Authorities were experiencing greater demand for their services than they could meet.

The research provided the basis for evidence-based decisions about the Department for Education’s future reforms to the Educational Psychology training provider commissioning model. The findings from the research led to DfE providing an extra £31.6 million for educational psychology training. The additional funding will be used to increase the number of newly-trained educational psychologists from 160 to around 206 each year from 2020, funding operational costs in HEIs and tuition bursaries and grants for over 600 Educational Psychology trainees.

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