HC Deb 06 November 1970 vol 805 cc487-8W
Mr. Barry Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many educational psychologists are employed by local education authorities in Wales, the five counties of North Wales and Flintshire, respectively; if he will initiate a drive to obtain more educational psychologists; if he is satisfied that current practitioners have suitable conditions of work; if he is satisfied that current salary rates and training methods are attracting recruits to the service; how many children are currently in receipt of attention from educational psychologists in Wales and in Flintshire; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Thomas

The latest returns available, which relate to December, 1969, showed that there were 25 educational psychologists employed by local education authorities in Wales. The six counties in North Wales (Anglesey, Caernarvon, Denbigh, Flint, Merioneth and Montgomery) are served by a joint service run under the direction of the North Wales Hospital Board. The senior member of the educational psychologist's staff of this service is employed and paid by the Hospital Board, but the other six posts (of which two are at present vacant) are employees of the local authorities. The services supplied to the County of Flint are estimated to be equivalent to the full-time work of between one and two psychologists.

The Summerfield Committee, which was appointed to consider the work, qualifications, training and supply of educational psychologists employed by local education authorities, recommended in 1968 a considerable increase in their numbers and in the places on training courses. Over the past five years the numbers on these courses have gone up by about one third. Even so, the applications from serving teachers for places on the courses considerably exceed the places available. It may therefore be assumed that the training methods, remuneration and working conditions of educational psychologists generally are sufficiently attractive. In particular areas, however, local authorities may have recruitment difficulties.

The scales of pay recommended by the Joint Committee dealing with the remuneration of professional staff of local authorities allow a measure of discretion to the individual authority to offer salaries within the scales to take account of the level of responsibilities and any other special factors affecting a particular post.

Information about the number of children receiving attention from educational psychologists is not available. The number of children known to have received treatment under child guidance arrangements during 1969 was 3,819 in Wales, of these 165 were in Flintshire.

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