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In 2004, the five Principal Educational Psychologists issued guidance, agreed across the Education and Library Boards, as to the status of independently commissioned EP reports at Stage 3 of the Code of Practice on SEN. Parents will often present such reports to their children’s schools and the guidance sought to clarify, for schools and Boards alike, how the information and recommendations contained in such reports should be dealt with.

The guidance is reproduced here, in full.

Regional EPS Guidance for Dealing with Private Psychological and Educational Reports


Increasingly parents are seeking private reports from educational psychologists, clinical psychologists and other educational consultants and presenting them to Boards’ Educational Psychology Services for action, usually with the purpose of securing Stage 3 provision, such as literacy support.

The following guidance, which has been developed on a regional basis should be followed when private reports are provided by parents to Educational Psychology Services.


EPs should have regard to the following principles when dealing with private reports.

  1. Boards, EPSs and schools should have regard to private reports and take their contents into account when making decisions about pupils’ teaching and learning.

  1. Private reports will not be accepted as the sole basis for referral to Board support services. Referrals to such services will be accepted if normal Board procedures are followed.


The following procedures should be followed when a parent provides a private report to the Board’s Educational Psychology Service.

  1. The parent should be advised to take the report to the school and ensure that staff have a copy of it.

  2. The parent should further be advised that schools are expected to have regard to the private report and take its contents into account when making decisions about the pupil’s teaching and learning.

  3. Where the parent sends the report to the Board’s EPS the EP should reply in writing to the parent indicating the above points (1 & 2). The school may, with parental permission, ask the EP to interpret the report.

  4. Once in receipt of the private report the school should decide whether or not to make a referral to the EPS. The school may obtain advice from the Board EP on this decision.

  5. When a pupil has been referred by the school in accordance with the stages of the COP and the Board’s referral procedures and is due to be seen in the normal course of events by the Board’s EP the following will apply:

  1. 5.1 the Board’s EP will carry out an assessment in sufficient detail to satisfy the Board that the pupil meets the criteria for Board based provision;

  2. 5.2 the EP will verify that tests specified by the Board as part of it provision criteria have been administered recently and to the acceptable standards of professional psychology practice.

Note: When following the guidance set out in point 5 above it is considered good practice that the EP should carry out some testing for the purpose of verification of and/or updating test results.