HC Deb 13 November 1969 vol 791 cc131-2W
Mr. Arnold Shaw

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has now completed his consideration of the Summerfield Report on Psychologists in Education Services and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Edward Short

Yes. I should like to pay tribute to Professor Summerfield and his colleagues for a most stimulating and impressive report, which has been widely studied throughout the educational system and has had a notable impact.

Developments in the universities since the Committee was appointed have much improved the prospective supply of educational psychologists, and the numbers now in postgraduate courses are already at the level proposed by the Committee for 1970. Figures from the university departments concerned show that in 1966–67 the numbers in training as educational psychologists had risen above what was assumed in the Committee's projections, and they are now running some 33 per cent. higher than was assumed. This will go far to meet the immediate recommendations of the Committee for expansion of this important profession and I am considering what action I can take to facilitate the secondment of staff to university departments concerned in order to provide a further measure of expansion.

The other important recommendations of the Committee concern the qualifications which are desirable for educational psychologists. As the Report says, this is a profession for which more than one type of qualification is appropriate and it is not for me to lay down precisely what they should be. The Local Education Authorities, as employers, and the establishments responsible for providing courses in educational psychology, are I am sure carefully considering the recommendations made, including the proposal for 2-year postgraduate courses following directly on graduation as an alternative to the present one-year course following on a period of experience as a teacher. The latter qualification seems likely to be the main one for some time to come, but there may well be scope for experimental 2-year "end-on" courses as well, and if initiatives are made in this direction I shall be willing to see what, within the resources available, can be done from the point of view of student support.