Calls to recruit educational psychologist for schools rejected

Calls to recruit an educational psychologist for schools across Bucks as part of plans to tackle permanent exclusions have been rejected by county chiefs.
Calls to recruit an educational psychologist for schools across Bucks as part of plans to tackle permanent exclusions have been rejected by county chiefs.

Calls to recruit an educational psychologist for schools across Bucks as part of plans to tackle permanent exclusions have been rejected by county chiefs.

Bucks County Council (BCC) has been working to reduce the number of children who are expelled from schools after exclusion rates increased in recent years.

BCC’s children’s select committee last year unveiled plans to reduce exclusions – including “reviewing the impact and value” of a “named” educational psychologist for schools in the county.

The news comes after educational psychologists were removed from schools in 2016 “to the detriment of pupils and families” due to increasing pressures on the service.

However, during a meeting of BCC’s children’s select committee yesterday (March 12) it was revealed the council is “unable to support” the plans due to a “national shortage” in educational psychologists and difficulties filling the role in Bucks.

The report presented to the select committee stated: “There is a national shortage of education psychologists and recruitment in Buckinghamshire is difficult.

“Existing BCC educational psychology resource is focused on meeting our statutory duties.

“When there is capacity, preventative work will be delivered and this approach will be included in our review and restructure of SEND.”

However there are proposals to introduce educational psychologists at three primary pupil referral units in the county – which support excluded children up to the age of 11.

Deputy cabinet member for education, Anita Cranmer, praised the select committee for its work – stating that permanent exclusions are “radically down” from previous years.

She said: “I want to thank the committee. You can see the things that have been done and addressed which is all very good.

“The numbers of exclusions are slightly up this year from last year, but they are radically down from the way they were in the past.

“We have got 28 exclusions at this point in time, which is not good but good.”