Summerfield (1968)

1968 Summerfield Report (text)

The Summerfield Report (1968)
Psychologists in Education Services

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1968
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Background notes

Arthur Summerfield (1923-2005) joined the British Psychological Society as a student in 1947 and rose to become its President in 1963. From 1961 until he retired in 1988, he held the Chair in Psychology at Birkbeck College, University of London.

The Summerfield Committee was appointed by Anthony Crosland, Secretary of State for Education and Science, in February 1965:

to consider the field of work of educational psychologists employed by local education authorities and the qualifications and training necessary; to estimate the number of psychologists required; and to make recommendations (page iii).
The eleven members of the Committee submitted their unanimous report to Crosland's successor, Patrick Gordon Walker, in February 1968. It was the first report the government had commissioned on psychologists, of whom there were more working in education services than in any other field in the United Kingdom.

The report's main recommendations

Chapter 1 Influences of psychology on education today

  • it should be recognised more widely that when a child has special psychological needs and problems, these involve an interaction in him of influences of both family and school.
Chapter 2 The basis for future developments in England and Wales: a survey
  • interdisciplinary collaboration with psychiatrists and psychiatric social workers should underpin the work which educational psychologists undertake in child guidance clinics and school psychological services.
Chapter 3 Needs for psychological work in local authorities
  • the psychological needs of children, at school and in their families, should continue to be the focus of psychologists' work in education services;
  • psychologists' services should also be available for children and young people about whom depart- ments and organisations outside the education service are concerned;
  • psychological work with children should continue to be directed to bettering their development;
  • psychologists should not be employed on duties in which their training and skills are underused;
  • psychologists should participate in careers guidance for handicapped school-leavers and their advice should be available for other young people;
  • school counsellors and staffs of child guidance and school psychological services should co-operate closely;
  • the staffs of children's departments and of child guidance and school psychological services should co-operate closely;
  • psychologists with training and experience with very young children should be available to work with medical services concerned with pre-school children;
  • educational psychologists should be available for consultation by the staffs of training centres for mentally handicapped children and young people;
  • the growing appreciation of contributions made by child guidance clinics and school psychological services to court decisions is to be welcomed;
  • educational psychologists should be willing to support children and young people who appear before the courts, and should be available to co-operate with probation officers dealing with such children;
  • psychological advice should be available for young people on their personal relationships and on their problems.
Chapter 4 Academic and professional qualifications
  • an honours degree in psychology (or equivalent) and postgraduate training in educational psychology are indispensable qualifications for all psychologists in education services;
  • flexible methods of entry should be retained and methods of training should be extended.
Chapter 5 Future supply
  • local authorities should plan child guidance and school psychological services on the basis of one educational psychologist for 10,000 schoolchildren;
  • staffing at this level should be achieved as soon as possible, and certainly by 1990;
  • new postgraduate training arrangements should be planned to provide 90 trained psychologists a year from 1975;
  • urgent and energetic action is required if psychiatrists and psychiatric social workers are to be available in sufficient numbers to fulfil the recommendations of the Underwood Committee in 1955;
  • local education authorities, regional hospital boards and voluntary bodies should examine their policies relating to child guidance services;
  • the attractiveness of educational psychology as a career should be enhanced by facilitating postgraduate training and by further improving financial support for it.
Chapter 6 Development and organisation of work
  • psychologists make a special contribution to education services as a result of their specialised study of psychological science and its application to education and to other aspects of human development;
  • the primary emphasis of psychological work should be on prevention through early detection and action;
  • psychologists should not be expected to undertake work for which their qualifications do not fit them;
  • psychological work in education services is changing because of continuing shortages of psychiatrists and psychiatric social workers;
  • educational psychologists should be centred administratively on the education departments of local authorities;
  • inappropriate responsibilities and unsatisfactory working conditions are wasteful of highly trained psychologists;
  • the organisation of psychological work within the field of education on a much larger scale than at present would be conducive to a high standard of service;
  • psychologists have made major advances in diagnostic, special educational and remedial techniques for children who develop abnormally: specialised clinical work by some educational psychologists should be promoted;
  • opportunities should be extended for some educational psychologists to undertake work in educa- tional research and development.
Chapter 7 Training
  • postgraduate training for educational psychology could be shorter, more concentrated, more directed and no less effective;
  • new postgraduate training departments should be relatively large and established in regions where there are at present the greatest shortages of psychologists in the education services. They should organise a two-year postgraduate course for an annual intake of twenty-five students;
  • postgraduate training should be interdisciplinary;
  • two new university postgraduate training departments should be established by collaboration between their departments of psychology, education and psychiatry, and local education authorities in their vicinities;
  • existing postgraduate training departments should expand as quickly as possible and should organise and supervise the pretraining of graduates in psychology;
  • an additional, accelerated programme of training should be put in hand immediately to meet the most urgent short-term needs;
  • some practising educational psychologists should be able to devote periods of time to specialised clinical and research work;
  • specialised professional work by educational psychologists would be facilitated by short courses on specific subjects.

The report online

The complete report, including the appendices, tables and diagrams, is presented in a single web page.

The Summerfield report was published as an A4-size paperback with two columns to the page. Footnotes were printed at the bottom of each column. I have not reproduced this arrangement here: footnotes are shown at the end of each page. In a few cases this has meant adding extra asterisks.

I have corrected typographical errors (of which there were many).

The tables and diagrams are presented as images.

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 22 October 2012.