Motion 1 – Proposing and Seconding Joint Candidates for the NEC
To Amend Sections I 14 b & c of the constitution as below: (The purpose of these amendments is to allow joint candidates for posts on the National Executive Committee to have different prospers and/or seconders). The additions to the constitution are in bold italics.
(b) Any two full, assistant or trainee members from an electoral region may nominate a candidate (or in the case of members seeking joint election to a post 2 candidates) for election as representative of that same region on the National Executive Committee by depositing with an independent scrutineer the name of such a candidate (or candidates) in writing, together with the written consent of the nominee to accept office, if elected. (In the case of joint candidates, it is permissible for the candidates to have different proposers and/or seconders)
(c) Any two full, assistant or trainee members may nominate a candidate (or in the case of members seeking joint election to a post 2 candidates) for election as a Trainee or Newly Qualified Member on the National Executive Committee by depositing with an independent scrutineer the name of such a candidate (or candidates) in writing, together with the written consent of the nominee to accept office, if elected. (In the case of joint candidates, it is permissible for the candidates to have different proposers and/or seconders).
Proposed by: David Webster Seconded by: John Drewicz
Motion 2 – Corporal Punishment
i) Recognises the ample evidence for the multiple deleterious and counterproductive effects of corporal punishment, identified over the past fifty years by psychologists and others. Smacking has been found to have no positive impact on children's behaviour in the short term, and is significantly associated with a range of negative outcomes (including more negative parent-child interactions; increased aggressive behaviour in childhood; increased antisocial behaviour in childhood and adulthood; alcohol and drug abuse in childhood; externalising and internalising behaviour problems in childhood and adulthood; mental health problems in childhood and adulthood).
ii) Notes that the Welsh and Scottish Governments are both in the process of planning legislation which will protect children from all physical punishment and thus bring them in line with Article 19 of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNHCR).
iii) Fully endorses the NEC in moving the following motion at this year’s 150th TUC Congress in Manchester:
“Congress notes the actions currently being taken by the Welsh government towards introducing legislation which will provide greater protection for children in Wales and a recent statement from the children’s minister in Wales (Huw Irranca-Davies) when he said: “Physically punishing a child is outdated, and is no longer acceptable in a modern, progressive Wales. This is why we are committed to removing the defence of reasonable punishment, which reinforces our longstanding commitment to children’s rights, based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Congress further notes that the current UK government has not expressed any intention to take similar steps so as to give children in England the same protection as those planned in Wales.
Congress calls on the UK government to:
- affirm its support for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (of which it is a signatory)
- acknowledge that physical punishment can have negative long-term effects on a child’s development (and is ineffective as a punishment)
- express its intention to draft proposals for the removal of the defence of “reasonable punishment” in criminal law regarding the use of corporal punishment of children”
iv) Is heartened at the positive interest which was generated by the motion and subsequent media coverage around the issue of further protection for children and is very pleased that the AEP has been demonstrated as playing a key role in publicising this.
The AGM therefore calls for the AEP’s NEC to lead a campaign with other interested parties (including forging links with campaigners in Scotland and Wales) towards achieving:
- Better protection of CYP from assault by adults
- Removing the defence of “reasonable punishment” in criminal law regarding the use of corporal punishment of children across the UK
- Greater awareness of the damage caused to children by physical punishment and of the more effective methods and strategies which can be used by parents in helping children to manage their behaviour
Proposed by: Kate Fallon Seconded by: Dewi Hughes
Motion 3 – Inappropriate Use of Medications
This AGM supports the growing consensus of opinion amongst child mental health workers and the public at large that it is ethically unacceptable and scientifically unsupported by credible evidence to use psychiatric medications with children under the age of five years in the U.K.
The BPS asked for this step to be taken in response to the NICE Consultation on ADHD in 2017 prior to the publication of new guidelines for the condition in March 2018, which will stay in place for ten years. Both the BPS and AEP have long held major concerns about the possible toxic effect of such strong medications on the young child’s developing brain and we don’t feel we can wait another ten years for such sensible action to be taken. We know, in the field, of serious resulting side effects such as sleep disturbance and heart problems etc. that occur in this population which in extreme cases can result in hospitalisation and even sudden death of the children taking the medications. (as per the side effect descriptors published for each individual drug)
We therefore request that the National Executive of the Association of Educational Psychologists urges the Government to issue an outright ban as soon as possible on such inappropriate medications for dealing solely with young children’s emotional and behavioural needs. We believe that there are many evidence-based approaches and interventions that other countries and our own mental health teams use successfully that should be used in the first instance with infants.
Proposed by: Dave Traxson Seconded by: Brian Apter
Motion 4 – Quality Assurance in Student Placements
Currently the Practice Placement Partnership Framework (PPPF), which is used across all initial training courses for educational psychologists (EPs) in England, is intended to provide equal access to a baseline level of quality placements for all trainee EPs (TEPs), but experience suggests that this is not always the case.
This suggests the current arrangements are not sufficient. In the past we believe there was discussion around a placement accreditation scheme. Something along these lines would potentially protect students and encourage placement providers to ensure their systems of support are robust enough to support TEPs in a full and broad learning experience.
Course providers visit each other to conduct quality assurance and monitoring of the academic content and general training provision. Given the significant proportion of time spent on placement it seems only logical that a similar form of external monitoring be instigated.
Current TEP experiences vary widely and whilst this is to be expected, the degree to which it is currently occurring is one which is worrying, as some TEPs may not be being treated as such but more as qualified EPs, plugging gaps in struggling services and compromising their training and their wellbeing. Additionally, this directly contravenes the spirit of the PPPF.
Therefore, this AGM calls on the NEC to:
1. Investigate these concerns further so as to gain a fuller picture of particular issues
2. Liaise with all those organisations concerned with the initial training of EPs (DfE, DECP, NAPEP and Programme Directors) to seek to resolve these issues and to guarantee a minimum standard of placement quality for all TEPs across the UK.
· Original Motion Proposed by: Rachel Lowe Originally Motion Seconded by: Rachel Forrest
· Amendment (underlined) Proposed by: Kate Swindon Amendment (underlined) Seconded by: Stephanie James
The amendment was agreed by both Rachel Lowe (Proposer) and Rachel Forrest (Seconder)
Motion 5 – Call to action to promote the reduction of the use of physical restraint in schools
Physical restraint continues to be used in school across different local authorities despite a lack of evidence that restrictive practices achieve positive outcomes for children and staff. Within region 1 it appears that some schools use physical restraint as a strategy of choice rather than a last resort, applying it indiscriminately to enforce rules and compliance. This is particularly the case with specific groups of vulnerable children and parents may not know how or feel able to complain if they are concerned about how such measures are implemented. We recognise there is some excellent provision based on evidence-based practice such as positive behaviour support and that in rare instances physical restraint may be an appropriate response but hold the opinion that further steps must be taken to prevent the misuse and abuse of physical force in schools.
In 2017 BBC Radio 5 carried out an investigation into coercive and restrictive practices in schools designed for children who are disabled or have special learning needs, sometimes resulting in physical injury. A Freedom of Information Request noted not all LAs were taking an active role in reviewing or evaluating practice. This lack of accountability led Sir Steven Bubb to ask the question “how do we know whether physical restraint is being used as a punishment, which is actually unlawful?”
We believe that physical restraint and other restrictive practices should only be used in exceptional circumstances where a child or young person is at risk of immediate danger or imminent harm and never be used to enforce compliance. The use of alternative, preventative strategies is not only more effective in supporting children but complies with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is a growing body of explicit and anecdotal evidence that physical restraint and other restrictive practices can cause psychological distress and physical harm for the children and adult/s involved. It increases the potential for negative outcomes such as impaired relationships, re-living trauma, heightening arousal, and can lead to inequalities of care and support. This can be true for onlookers as well as participants.
We call on the AEP to:
· Sign up to the Restraint Reduction Network Pledge to demonstrate a belief that everyone deserves person centred care and support and all children should be treated with dignity, respect, be free from degrading treatment and punishment in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
· Explore the possibility of funding an AEP member to attend the Restraint Reduction Network Conference and promote this event via the AEP website
· Advocate for the review of the 2013 DfE document “Use of Reasonable Force: Advice for headteachers, staff and governing bodies” so it is consistent with current neurobiological understandings and the 2018 Ofsted document “Positive environments where children can flourish. A guide for inspectors about physical intervention and the restriction of liberty.
· Proactively encourage Ann Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England to follow the example of Bruce Adamson, Children’s Commissioner for Scotland and launch a formal investigation into restraint and seclusion in schools as well as the inadequacy of local authority policy and procedures around recoding of incidents
· Consider making FOI requests to all LAs regarding the use of physical restraint in schools and publish a summary of findings on the AEP website
· In conjunction with EP training providers, explore the option of EPiT research aimed at gaining parental and/or children’s views on their experiences of restrictive practices/ physical restraint in school
· Continue to campaign for all schools to have access to an Educational Psychologist to ensure the school workforce has opportunities to increase their knowledge and skills around the use of non-restrictive practices based on person centred thinking, relational interventions and positive behaviour support with the aim of supporting recovery, promoting positive, mental health, improving physical well-being and social inclusion.
Proposed by: Lynne Mackey Seconded by: Lucy Taylor
Motion 5 – References
BBC (2017) - Hundreds of “restraint injuries” at special schools. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39530915
BILD (2017) - http://www.bild.org.uk/about-bild/news-and-views/response-to-restraint-and-restrictive-intervention-for-children-draft-guidance/
Children’s Commissioner Scotland - https://www.cypcs.org.uk/advice/commissioner-launches-formal-investigation-into-restraint-and-seclusion
DfE (2013) - The use of reasonable force. Advice for headteachers, teachers and governing bodies
Ofsted (2018) - Positive environments where children can flourish. A guide for inspectors about physical intervention and the restriction of liberty
Restraint Reduction Network: 12 Values and Principles for delivering consistent, positive, safe and proactive person centred care and support http://restraintreductionnetwork.org/
Stop Hurting Kids - http://stophurtingkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Debunking-the-Myths-about-Restraint-and-Seclusion-in-Schools.pdf
The Guardian (2016) Secret Teacher: restraining pupils is humiliating for everyone 25/06/16
Motion 6 – Support for EPs in all Workplaces
Motion: The AEP should develop its strategy and policy in support of members working in or for a range of organisations operating outside of Local Authority services including, but not limited to, co-operatives and social enterprises.
Educational Psychologists are working in or for an increasingly diverse range of organisations. EPs working for these newly developing organisations still need, and value, the support of the AEP in resolving concerns about terms and conditions and other professional and ethical issues. If it is to remain relevant to the workplace of the future the AEP needs to be able to represent the concerns of the full membership.
This motion proposes that the NEC should consult widely within the membership and work with representatives from relevant organisations to develop strategy and policy that will ensure that the Association continues to have relevance to all of its members in the full range of current and future working contexts.
The NEC should present the outcomes of this work, to include specific proposals and recommendations, at next year’s AGM
Proposed by: Teresa Regan Seconded by: Debbie Shannon