School psychologists’ views on challenges in facilitating school development through intersectoral collaboration
The role of school psychologists has been debated and contested nationally and internationally for many decades, with an emphasis on the need for a paradigm shift in professional roles. Psychologists may be employed in the private sector, in nongovernmental organisations, in higher education institutions, and by the state. Those employed by the state within the Department of Basic Education are referred to as school psychologists, and are tasked with providing psychological services to public schools. In the Western Cape, the context of this study, school psychologists are assigned to circuit teams, where they are expected to work collaboratively with other professionals to provide support to schools. This paper is focused on school psychologists’ perceptions of the challenges that emerge when working with other sectors to facilitate school development. Eight focus group discussions were conducted with 47 school psychologists. The data collected resulted in the generation of five categories of challenges facing school psychologists when they collaborate with other sectors to facilitate school development. These were: diverse discourses and worldviews; roles and boundaries; personal and interpersonal factors; training needs; and organisational challenges. This research contributes towards the deepening of school psychology practice, and to providing important insights towards the enhancement of intersectoral collaboration and school development as aspects of the provision of support to schools in South Africa.
Key words: collaboration; educational psychologists; inter-professional; intersectoral collaboration; school development; school psychologists; school psychology