In April 2014, the Sheffield Educational Psychology Service moved from a fully commissioned to a part-traded service model.
This means that the local authority now only funds statutory work (mainly activities relating to statutory assessments) and a small amount of core time from a named Educational Psychologist for mainstream schools, including Academies. Core time is set at two days per year for primary schools and four days per year for secondary schools.
The reduction in local authority funding is expected to be made up by “trading”; that is, schools buying in additional educational psychologist time from their delegated budgets. The service offers a “standard” package of five days for primary schools and ten days for secondary schools per year, and an “enhanced” package of seven days for primary schools and 16 days for secondary schools per year. It can also provide bespoke packages for individual schools or groups of schools working together.
So far, over 84% of mainstream schools have purchased additional time from the service, and most have bought in at a higher level than they had previously received. A few schools have chosen to use private educational psychologists instead.
Work with special schools and Pupil Referral Units and Inclusion Centres will carry on as before – i.e. free at the point of delivery with no trading arrangements.
Principal Educational Psychologist Mary Collins said: “There has been a national shift in funding from local authorities to schools directly, and so it makes sense for schools to have more choice and control, and to contribute more. This is in line with developments in most other areas. Developing a trading arm will enable us to offer a more flexible and creative menu of options, and respond more easily to requests for bespoke interventions.”
Good to know
Parents are welcome to ring the Educational Psychology Service on 0114 250 6800 for general advice; this does not count against the school’s allocation.
Referrals can only be made by schools, not parents. If you feel your child needs to be seen by an educational psychologist, you should speak to the school’s SENCO.
Schools must obtain written consent from parents before an educational psychologist can assess or work with their child.
Parents should receive feedback following an assessment or intervention, either directly from the educational psychologist or through school.