From the Chief Executive, March 2020

Sarb Bajwa writes.

January is always a really busy time for us as we start our work for the new year across the British Psychological Society, and hold three of our biggest network conferences within a couple of weeks of each other.

I was delighted to be able to attend all three this year and really enjoyed my time with our Divisions of Clinical, Educational and Child, and Occupational Psychology.

At the DECP conference in Northampton I saw the launch of a new video which they’ve been working on with children’s poet Michael Rosen, which built on last year’s call for schools to stop taking away children’s break times as a form of punishment.

Our educational psychologists have done a huge amount to explain why this is such a bad idea, but hearing schoolkids themselves talk about why play is so important really hammered that message home, as I’m sure it will for anyone who sees it. One particularly powerful comment from one of the young people was that ‘maybe adults have forgotten how it feels to play’, something that struck a chord with me and we could all consider a bit more.

You can watch the video on our website (bps.org.uk/righttoplay). The DECP, DCP and DART-P jointly proposed our Senate campaign around children and young people last year and it achieved some real success, particularly through the response to Ofsted’s new inspection framework.

We want the work we did on that campaign to feed into this year’s priority, ‘From poverty to flourishing’. Poverty affects thousands of children and young people in the UK, and there are clear links between living in poverty and poor mental health outcomes for young people.

We’re not going to be able to make a difference for our children and young people without educational and child psychologists continuing the fine work which I saw in Northampton, so I’ve been pleased to see some further exciting developments from Scotland.

The BPS has been working with the Scottish Government on a new funding model for educational psychologists and, while we can’t yet confirm full details, it’s an extremely positive step. The new model will see the Scottish Government fund educational psychologists through the course of their training, including taking our educational psychology qualification.

I’ve been keen to expand the work we do alongside other organisations and policy makers, and both this news from Scotland and the confirmation that Health Education England will be continuing to fund 100 per cent of the training costs for clinical psychologists in England show the importance of that engagement.

Our members are involved in exciting projects such as this up and down the country and I’m always keen to hear about them, so please get in touch and let me know.

Sarb Bajwa is Chief Executive of the British Psychological Society. Contact him at [email protected]

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