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Education in the media: 1 September 2016

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Child protection, Curriculum, Mental Health, PSHE

Today’s news review looks at coverage about educational psychologists, and calls for more lessons in online safety in schools.

Educational psychologists

On Thursday, 1 September, the Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP) claimed that there were not enough educational psychologists (EPs) to meet demand.

As part of reforms to special educational needs (SEN) support, the government has set a deadline for each council to deliver an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan by 2018, but the Association claims that councils are at risk of failing to meet this timescale due to  a shortfall in practitioners.

The story was covered by the TES, which did not fully explain that while more EPs are needed, the government is providing for this. We have invested £14 million in training new practitioners, with the first increased cohort of 150 qualified practitioners available for schools by 2019. There will be an additional 300 due to finish training by 2020.

These efforts are part of a record £1.4 billion investment into transforming the mental health support available for young people. Latest published figures show that more than 74,000 young people with special educational needs now have EHC Plans – clear signs that we are on track and progress is being made.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We want all children to fulfil their potential and for those with additional needs, we know that early intervention and the right professional support is crucial. That’s why we are already funding 380 educational psychology students and investing over £14 million on an additional 300 training places over the next two years, to help bolster the workforce.


Our reforms to special educational needs and disabilities support were the biggest changes in a generation, and we are seeing good progress. There are clear signs that councils are on track and more than 74,000 young people already have an EHC Plan in place.


On Wednesday, 31 August, the PSHE Association issued figures pointing to a drop in lessons teaching children about online safety, and also calling for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) to be made statutory in schools.

The claims that there has been a 32% drop in provision for PSHE and online safety were reported by the TES and Telegraph in print.

The coverage, however, failed to make clear that internet safety and PSHE are already a compulsory part of the curriculum in local authority-maintained schools. We are clear that governing bodies should ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Young people should be able to take advantage of the vast potential that the internet and social media offer to their lives and education – but they also have a right to feel safe.


We want to make sure that young people are educated on this issue which is why the National Curriculum includes internet safety.


We know that the majority of schools and teachers recognise the importance of PSHE. We trust teachers to tailor their lessons to best teach their pupils about staying safe emotionally and physically, and we are looking at all options to raise the quality of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) teaching.

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