Educational psychologists across England have called off further strikes after accepting an improved pay offer from councils.
A planned walk-out today did not go ahead after members of the Association of Educational Psychologists approved a raft of pay measures from the Local Government Association.
Educational psychologists, who are critical to the process for issuing education, health and care plans for children with special educational needs, have taken strike action this term over their pay offer for last academic year.
This was for a £1,925 increase on all pay points that the AEP said averaged a 3 per cent rise, well below the rate of inflation.
The AEP said the deal with the LGA approved this week includes that rise for 2022-23, back-dated to last September, but with an additional 4 per cent rise to all pay points, backdated to this September.
The deal also adds an extra three pay points at the top of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ scales and the deletion of the bottom point from pay scales for assistant and trainee EPs, and an additional point at the top.
AEP general secretary Cath Lowther said: “I would like to thank all our members for their action, solidarity and commitment which has been vital in securing an improved pay offer for educational psychologists.
“Despite this, pay has fallen behind, and this is a key factor in the recruitment and retention crisis we face.”
She said the union would continue its “save our services” campaign “to ensure better investment in EP services so that they are there in the future for children, young people and communities who need them”.
Uncertainty over 2024 training
It comes amid uncertainty about training for educational psychologists from next September.
The government has committed £21 million to train 400 more professionals from 2024.
The deadline for applications was November 29, according to the AEP, which hosts and administers the online application process.
But the organisation’s website states that recruitment to advertised programmes for next year is still “subject to the agreement of a funding contract with the Department for Education (DfE), which we hope will be concluded shortly”.
“In the event that this contract is not confirmed by the proposed offer release date, recruitment to these programmes for September 2024 would not take place.
“Therefore, applications to these programmes at this time are entirely at the applicant’s own risk. As soon as the funding contract with DfE is complete, this notice will be updated.”
Helen Hayes, the shadow children’s minister, raised the issue with her opposite number David Johnston at the end of last month.
He answered on December 4 that the September 2024 intake of the Educational Psychology Funded Training Scheme was “subject to a live procurement” and as a result the DfE was “not able to comment on plans to publish the details of the funding and arrangements”.
“An update will be provided as soon as possible.”