Why Are Local Authorities Struggling To Recruit Educational Psychologists?

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

Why are local authorities struggling to recruit Educational Psychologists?

A 2023 report from the Department for Education (DfE), found that a third of local authorities reported difficulties recruiting Educational Psychologists, with 77% of these Principal Educational Psychologists (PEPs) citing recruitment as a consistent issue.

A shortage of Educational Psychologist’s being trained

The overall shortage of qualified Educational Psychologists being trained has contributed to local authorities' difficulty in recruiting and impacted the council's ability to keep on top of caseloads and meet SEND needs.

With 81% citing a low number of general applicants as one of the reasons why local authorities were experiencing difficulty recruiting Educational Psychologists, the government is funding training for more Educational Psychologists on a national scale, which will take time, but in the meantime, gives local authority work a negative perception and bad reputation.

Negative perceptions of local authority work

The demands of the role, as well as the limited resources and budget constraints within local authorities has led to negative perceptions of the workload of Educational Psychologists in local authorities.

With few routes into educational psychology, many trained Educational Psychologists must work in a local authority in line with their training or to gain the valuable experience they require. 

This can impact the quality of Educational Psychologists work, and overall perceptions of a career in educational psychology meaning retention levels are low.

Competition from others

The frequent moves to private practice as careers progress has made the retention of Educational Psychologists difficult for local authorities. The DfE report found that 34% of PEPs found challenges with retention, with many Educational Psychologists opting for work with better flexibility. 

Increasing competition from other local authorities and private practices that offer more preferable conditions has been cited as a challenge when recruiting Educational Psychologists. Private practices and some local authorities offer a greater variety of work with less emphasis on statutory assessments. 

Low pay

According to the DfE report, 48% of local authorities cited pay as a key reason for difficulties recruiting Educational Psychologists. The AEP revealed that pay for Educational Psychologists has fallen by 17% compared to where it should have been, had it kept up with inflation, whereas private practices provide better paid work than local authorities.

Disputes over pay and low salary have meant that many Educational Psychologists are looking to private practices and clinical roles as alternative sources of employment due to the opportunities they offer and the better paid work.

Struggle to meet increased workloads

Local authority Educational Psychologists don’t have the capacity to focus on work like statutory assessments, and therefore struggle to meet increased workloads. 

Too much time spent on other responsibilities can contribute to the rising backlog and the number of pupils needing an Education Health Care Plan and requiring higher levels of support.

Struggling to recruit Educational Psychologists?

As specialist local authority SEND recruiters, we support local authorities nationwide with their temporary, interim and permanent staffing needs. 

If you’re struggling to recruit, we have exclusive access to some of the most experienced interim Educational Psychologists in the UK.

Simply contact Natalie Boaler on 01772 954200 to discover how we can help.

Educational Psychologist jobs

If you’re searching for your next Educational Psychologist job, why not take a look at the latest vacancies, or simply upload your CV to be notified when a relevant position becomes available.

Check out our career hub to ‘learn the ropes’ in an interview with a trainee educational psychologist and who pays for educational psychologists

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Established in 2017, we’re a vibrant and progressive recruitment agency based in the heart of the North West. 

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