7.7 The educational psychology service

Stability in the number of FTEs in the educational psychology service (PPT)

The educational psychology service (PPT) has a double mandate. It is responsible for producing expert assessments where the law demands it, both in respect of school pupils and children under compulsory school age (individual-based work). The service also has a statutory responsibility for contributing towards the development of competencies and organisational development in schools (system-based work).

A system-based approach means taking preventive action even before making a PPT referral. The PPT must assume the role of both organisational consultants and advisors, either at a school level or at a municipal level. Furthermore, the PPT can be more directly involved in assessing the individual outcomes of special needs provisions.

A survey of PPT competencies and skills (Hustad et al. 2013) found that specialist personnel at the PPT estimate that 80 percent of their time is spent on individual-based work such as writing expert reports and conducting tests or investigations.

Most employees have special needs training

In 2013/14 there were just under 1,700 FTEs covering specialist roles in the PPT. This figure is the same as in the previous academic year.

The most common academic background among PPT employees is special needs pedagogy. Personnel with special needs training filled around 695 FTEs, or 41 percent of all specialist FTEs in the 2013/14 academic year. This represents an increase of 3 percentage points, or almost 50 FTEs, on the previous year. 15 percent of PPT employees have a background in psychology.

Increase in the proportion of staff with Master’s degrees

Three in four PPT employees held a Master’s degree or equivalent in either psychology, special needs pedagogy, or teaching in the 2013/14 academic year. A survey of PPT roles conducted by Nordlandsforskning (Hustad et al. 2013) found the proportion of such specialist staff to be around 70 percent. This is an increase on 2008, when around 60 percent of specialist staff held a similar level of qualifications (Fylling and Handegård 2009). It would therefore appear that the proportion of employees with a Master’s degree or equivalent continues to increase.

Figure 7.16 Specialist FTEs at the PPT – by specialism. 2012/13 and 2013/14. Percentage.

Source: GSI/The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training