Alan Jones goes to Holyrood
The Chair of the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee on Tuesday 15 May.
Alan Jones was appearing as an expert witness to give evidence on Additional Support for Learning following the Scottish Government’s publication of its first annual report on progress that is being made in made in implementing the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.
Alan raised the issue of cuts to funding for educational psychology courses at the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde. He highlighted the vital role that psychologists play in supporting teaching staff in schools to do what is best for children with additional support needs and the importance of retaining these services.
This point was picked up by Deputy Convener of the committee, Neil Findlay MSP, who used the example of his own local authority which has just got rid of two educational psychologists.
Mr Findlay noted that budgetary pressures are at the nub of the issue and that local authorities often find support staff the easiest to let go in times of budget constraints. He said that in addition to a crisis in supply teaching and the ability of people to access CPD, these were pressures that were a threat to the future of additional support for learning.