By Gavin Mackintosh-
Educational psychologists will be balloted for strike action amid a continued dispute with the Local Government Association (LGA) over pay.
The Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP), which has 3,600 members across the UK have lamented the current 3 per cent pay increase offer represented a real-terms pay cut at a time when inflation is at 8.7 per cent.
The AEP, alongside the National Education Union and Prospect, had asked the LGA for a rise of 9 per cent on all pay points.
“With a combination of pay freezes and below inflation increases from 2010 onwards, the real value of educational psychologists’ pay has been cut significantly,” said AEP general secretary Cath Lowther.
“Poor pay and conditions have resulted in an unprecedented recruitment and retention crisis, as workloads spiral and our wellbeing and the quality of services suffers.
“Local authority educational psychology services are at the brink and we urge members to vote yes for fair pay and to protect services.”
It comes despite a rise in the number of children with additional needs, including those requiring Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).
Educational psychologists assess pupils at school and can support school staff with specialist advice to help those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Government funding is currently in place for 203 people to train to become educational psychologists in 2023 and 2024.
A spokesperson for the National Employers said it was unaware of AEP’s decision to hold a strike ballot and was “disappointed not to have been notified in advance”.
“A final offer was made last November to the Staff Associations for all Soulbury Officers, including Educational Psychologists, which was an increase of £1,925 for 2022,” they added.
“This has been reaffirmed and we have urged the AEP and the Staff Associations to accept this offer. Pay for all other workforces in local government have been settled for last year.”
Another important aspect of Operation Sceptre is its focus on education and prevention. The initiative works closely with schools, colleges, and community groups to deliver educational programs and workshops that highlight the dangers and consequences of knife crime. These programs aim to empower young people to make informed decisions, avoid carrying knives, and seek alternative paths away from violence.
Additionally, Operation Sceptre emphasizes the need for early intervention and support for those at risk of becoming involved in knife-related incidents. It strives to identify vulnerable individuals and provide them with the necessary guidance, mentoring, and access to support services. By addressing the root causes of knife crime, such as social exclusion, poverty, and lack of opportunities, the initiative seeks to prevent young people from being drawn into a cycle of violence.
Collaboration and partnership are central to the success of Operation Sceptre. Law enforcement agencies work closely with community organizations, local authorities, and relevant stakeholders to implement a holistic approach. This collaborative effort enables the sharing of information, resources, and best practices, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness of the operation and fostering a united front against knife crime.
Operation Sceptre has demonstrated positive results in tackling knife-related violence. It has contributed to a reduction in knife crime incidents in targeted areas and increased awareness surrounding the dangers of carrying knives. Moreover, the initiative has helped foster stronger relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, promoting trust and cooperation.
However, it is important to note that Operation Sceptre is an ongoing effort, and there is still work to be done in addressing the complex issue of knife crime. Continued investment in preventative measures, community engagement, and support services is crucial for sustained success.
Educational psychologists play a vital role in the United Kingdom’s school system, providing invaluable support to both students and educational staff. Their expertise lies in understanding and addressing the psychological, social, emotional, and educational needs of students. While it is true that educational psychologists primarily work with school staff, a strike by these professionals can still have a significant impact on pupils and the overall educational environment.
Role of Educational Psychologists in UK Schools
Educational psychologists are trained professionals who assess and support children and young people with a wide range of learning, emotional, and behavioural difficulties. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals to identify and address barriers to learning, promoting inclusive and supportive environments.
Some key roles and responsibilities of educational psychologists include Assessment and Diagnosis where Educational psychologists conduct assessments to identify specific learning needs, intellectual abilities, and social-emotional well-being. They provide insights into learning difficulties, developmental disorders, and mental health concerns.
Every school needs Intervention and Support. Educational psychologists develop individualized intervention plans, strategies, and recommendations to support students’ learning and well-being. This can include providing guidance on classroom accommodations, behavioural management techniques, and emotional support.
Educational psychologists work closely with teachers, parents, and other professionals to develop collaborative solutions that enhance the educational experience for students. They offer consultations, advice, and training to ensure effective support systems are in place.
Educational psychologists contribute to research and policy development related to educational practices and interventions. They stay updated with the latest research findings to inform evidence-based approaches in schools.
Impact of Educational Psychologists’ Strike on Pupils
While educational psychologists do not typically have direct contact with pupils on a daily basis, their absence due to a strike can have significant indirect consequences:
Researcher and former teacher, Joshua Hopwood told The Eye Of Media.Com: ”A strike by educational psychologists can lead to delayed or interrupted assessments and diagnoses of students’ needs. This delay can hinder the identification of specific learning difficulties or mental health issues, potentially impacting appropriate intervention planning and support.
”It can also lead to limited interventionist planning. Without the involvement of educational psychologists, there may be a lack of access to expert guidance and strategies for teachers, support staff, and parents. This can limit the development and implementation of effective interventions tailored to meet students’ unique needs.
”Educational psychologists’ ability to provide consultations and collaborate with school staff, parents, and external agencies may be compromised during a strike. This can hinder the coordination of multi-disciplinary support systems, impacting students’ overall well-being and progress.
”It is important for the issue of insufficient pay to be speedily addressed by the governent because strikes can also disrupt the continuity of ongoing support and intervention plans. Students who rely on regular input from educational psychologists may experience a gap in service provision, which can affect their emotional resilience, learning progress, and social development.
”Educational psychologists contribute to creating a positive and inclusive school environment. Their expertise in promoting positive mental health and addressing behavioral concerns is crucial”