Government announces £30 million extra funding for educational psychologists
Friday 22 March 2019
Funding follows a report showing “insufficient” educational psychologists currently working and in the training pipeline to meet demand.
The Department for Education has announced £31.6 million extra funding to train more educational psychologists, with over 600 trainees due to receive grants and help with tuition costs. The aim is to increase the number of educational psychologists available in schools to identify pupils with learning difficulties, including those with dyslexia, and make recommendations on the support they require.
The number of educational psychologists employed by local authorities dropped 13 per cent between 2010 and 2015, falling from 1,900 to 1,650. So, it is hoped this funding will help to address that decline.
The funding has been announced following Department for Education research looking at provision of educational psychologists, which found “over two-thirds (68%) of PEPs surveyed, reported difficulties in recruiting to fill vacant posts."
Although increases in the number of educational psychologists being trained will help the extremely strained SEN support available to schools, it is only part of the picture. Schools are in desperate need of specialist dyslexia teachers and the government needs to make additional funding available urgently to train them. The British Dyslexia Association hope that today’s announcement will open up a debate around the funding for specialist teachers to provide the support that young people with dyslexia are entitled to.
Helen Boden, CEO of the British Dyslexia Association, said:
“It is great to see the Department for Education make some extra funding available to increase the number of educational psychologists being trained. We hope it will feed through to getting more young people with dyslexia identified. However, we need to ensure all schools are able to provide specialist support to young people with dyslexia and for that, we are in urgent need of more funding to train teachers to become specialist dyslexia teachers. We hope that this announcement is a step towards that.”