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Educational psychologists boosting children’s mental health

Image credit: Shire

Educational psychologists boosting children’s mental health

A review of educational psychology services in Scotland has shown they are having a significant impact on the early identification and prevention of mental health issues in children.

The review of 31 local authorities, carried out by Education Scotland HM Inspectors from 2015-18, found an increasing number of services were offering specialist therapeutic interventions, combined with giving enhanced training and policy advice to schools, establishments and local authorities.

The Scottish Government announced last May that it would be investing more than £4m to fund up to 90 educational psychology trainees.

It came after warnings from teachers that pupils with special needs and mental health issues were not getting the support they needed due to a shortage of educational psychologists.

Chief Inspector of Education Gayle Gorman said: “It is commendable that educational psychology services support the implementation of Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) at individual child, school and authority level.

"GIRFEC is a way for families to work in partnership with people who can support them, and it’s wonderful to see educational psychologists providing services that are fulfilling a real need across Scotland.

“By working with other agencies and families, they are helping to build capacity in communities and improving outcomes for children and young people.”

Strategic Director of Scrutiny, Janie McManus, added: “Supporting mental health and wellbeing is often perceived as critical to improving the poverty-related attainment gap, so I’m pleased to see the evidence in the review that educational psychologists are helping to overcome inequality in attainment and achievement in our most vulnerable children and young people.

“While evidence shows they made a large impact in supporting children’s attainment in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing, I must emphasise that that there is always more progress to be made.”

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