We are greatly encouraged to see David Stewart MSP securing a debate in the Scottish Parliament on concerns over the numbers of educational psychologists and believe that unless urgent action is taken the profession is heading for a crisis.
In 2013 the Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists (ASPEP) and Scottish Division of Educational Psychology (SDEP) published a report which identified that the number of trained educational psychologists in Scotland is now “dangerously low” and that psychological services in Scotland were reporting a significant increase in demand.
In addition, a quarter of practising educational psychologists may retire in the next four years and the profession has a concern that this will leave a major gap in skills, knowledge and expertise.
The situation is made worse still by the removal of the bursary paid to each trainee by the Scottish Government in 2012, meaning that new trainees need to have access to around £25,000 each year for two years to self-fund course fees, travel and living expenses.
This has already led to a 70 per cent drop in applicants for the section process for the training course.
We are sitting on a ticking time bomb of increased demand and we cannot allow those who require vital psychology services to be left confined to the fringes simply due to a lack of personnel to address this need.
Educational psychologists play a vital role in supporting vulnerable children, young people and families, and contribute towards health and wellbeing and curricular initiatives across our country. They are a much needed profession and we must do all that we can to fix the current situation before it is too late.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition comprising:
Spark of Genius
Who Cares? Scotland
Falkland House School