Educational Psychology Services

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 26 June 2013.

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Photo of Margaret Mitchell Margaret Mitchell Conservative

4. To ask the Scottish Government what provision is made in local authority schools for access to educational psychology services. (S4O-02295)

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

Education authorities have a statutory duty to provide a psychology service, as specified in section 4 of the Education (Scotland Act) 1980. Provision beyond the statutory requirement is a matter for local authorities and will be determined by local and national priorities.

Photo of Margaret Mitchell Margaret Mitchell Conservative

I thank the minister for that response, notwithstanding some of its content.

The minister will be aware of the concern that has been raised by the Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists regarding the shortfall in the number of educational psychologists, following the Scottish Government’s withdrawal of funding for the educational psychology master of science course. Given that educational psychologists play a pivotal role in identifying children and young people who have dyslexia, how will the Scottish Government ensure that children and young people with dyslexia have timely access to the full team of experts that they require, including educational psychologists?

How will the Government ensure that there are educational psychologists available to work with speech and language therapists to help the 60 per cent of young offenders—and up to 80 per cent of children and young people who access mental health services—who have speech, language and communications needs?

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

Regarding the importance of identifying children with dyslexia, Margaret Mitchell will be aware that the Government has provided material in the form of the dyslexia toolkit.

On dyslexia in prisons, the Government has certainly been paying close attention—indeed, I have visited Perth prison on that very issue.

On provision of educational psychologists, notwithstanding what Margaret Mitchell has said, I understand that the educational psychology courses at the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde are near capacity. The Government is aware of the issue of supply and is sensitive to it.