Specialist Advisory Service
Educational Psychologists (EPs) work in Mainstream and Special Schools with children who have a special educational need or disability.
Educational Psychologists (EP) work with children and young people (0 – 25 years), parents, carers, teachers and other professionals to promote positive change in a child’s life. EPs have been specially trained to understand how children learn, behave, think, feel and get on with others.
They know how schools work and what helps young people to learn and do well. Educational psychologists do all sorts of things including:
- Talking to young people about what helps them do well at school and what gets in their way
- Talking to parents and teachers about their worries and concerns they have about how a young person is doing
- Bringing young people and adults together to draw up plans which help everyone learn about what is going on and what may help
- Listening to young people to ensure that everyone is clear about their views and ideas
Educational Psychologists (EP) work for the Council. They are not members of a school staff. EPs are not doctors or psychiatrists.
Their job is to achieve the best outcomes for young people. This works best when the young person and the adults around them work together, including both their parents where possible.
Information, advice and guidance on Education Psychologists (EP) for children / young adults
Usually a child / young adult would need to see an Educational Psychologist (EP) as your teacher or parent thinks something is not going well at school.
You may agree, or you may not agree but we will listen to your views and ask what you think.
No! Educational Psychologists (EPs) might work with you because you are doing well but worry a lot, or if you are unhappy.
You might be having a difficult time at school with teachers or other kids.
They can help you do some things differently to make life a bit easier. They may give your teachers some ideas of how to help you more with your learning.
They may give you some ideas on how to study better and they also work with groups or whole classes on things like how to relax, cope with worries and make and keep friends.
The Educational Psychologist (EP) will listen and talk with you about what helps you do well at school and what gets in the way.
They will talk with adults about their concerns and together, you will produce an Action Plan of ideas to make things better. This may include actions for you, your teachers and your parents.
After six to eight weeks there will be a review meeting to see how things are going and to celebrate your progress.
Educational Psychologist’s (EP) want to make you feel relaxed so you can talk to them about your life in school and at home. If you would rather talk at home then that is ok.
If they visit school, they will talk to you in private unless you want somebody else with you.
They will listen very carefully to you and what you tell them is confidential (private). They will ask you before sharing with other people unless we think you are at risk of harm.
They may want to watch some of your lessons and do some work with you.
If you have any worries about this then you can tell them directly or tell your parent(s) or teacher.
Your friends will only know if you tell them and some teachers will need to know so they can help you improve things.
Information, advice and guidance on Education Psychologists (EP) for parents or carers
Educational Psychologists (EPs) work in mainstream and special schools with children who have a special educational need or disability. All schools maintained by the Local Authority will have regular Consultation Planning Meetings with their link EP:
- This is a solution-focused discussion around school issues or individual pupils where the SENCO feels ‘stuck’
- Further visits are then arranged as required, for liaison with other staff, individual assessment work, to attend reviews or deliver training
Schools are able to contact the EP office at any time by phone or email to discuss emerging problems or for urgent matters.
Academy schools are able to buy a service from the EP team or from private EPs.
Parents wishing to access the service should make contact with the SENCO for their child’s school.
- Speak to your child’s teacher
- Ask them for information about your child’s learning (both strengths and weaknesses)
- Share your concerns
- If you are still worried make an appointment to speak to the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), who is a teacher skilled in supporting children who are struggling in school
- Working together with the SENCO and Class Teacher, you can plan the way forward for your child
- If you and the school are still worried after some time, the SENCO could approach the link Educational Psychologist for your school to arrange a meeting
- Ideas to try will be discussed. EP may decide to meet with your child, you or teacher and will come up with an Action Plan. Six to eight weeks later the plan is reviewed to see what progress has been made and agree the next steps
- Every school has a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). They regularly meet with the Educational Psychologist (EP) to discuss children who are struggling in school for a variety of reasons
- If the SENCO thinks it would be helpful to talk about your child with the EP they will have asked your permission first. The school will tell you if the EP is going to see your child
- When an EP is involved they work very closely with parents, carers and staff who know the child well
- The EP will usually:
- Watch your child at school or nursery
- Play or work with them
- Talk with parents/carers and staff
- Talk with other people working with your child such as Doctors, Speech and Language Therapists etc. about your child’s strengths, interests and any worries you may have
- The EP will help think of some ways to assist you and the school to support your child. The EP will usually continue to work alongside you and school staff to see how your child is getting on
- You know your child best, your views are very important and the EP will listen to your concerns
- They can meet with you where you feel most comfortable – at your home, in your child’s school or in another venue
- The Educational Psychologist Service can advise on many issues such as:
- Difficulties with learning
- Mental health problems such as anxiety or depression
- Reluctance to attend school
- Difficulties with friendship or social interaction
- Managing children’s behaviour at home and at school
Educational Psychologist (EP) will keep a secure electronic file which you can ask to read at any time. Your child’s name, birth date and school will be put on a confidential database.
You will be given paper copies of any documents the EP writes about your child. The EP will always ask your permission before talking to other people about your child or sharing information with other professionals unless there are concerns about your child’s immediate health or wellbeing.
Mainstream Key Stage Team
This team is made up of Specialist Teachers who provide an advisory service to schools in relation to children and young people (CYP) with statements of special educational needs where their primary and/or secondary need is learning. In addition they advise schools/settings in relation to other CYP whose difficulties in learning meet the attainment-based criteria. All schools have been provided with a matrix to support the identification of children with complex needs.
Also in this team is the Specialist Teacher for Speech, Language and Communication who works closely with Barnardo’s professionals to support children and young people presenting with a wide range of additional communication needs.
The team are in regular contact with all schools where discussions can be held to determine those CYP most in need of access to the service.
Early Years Team
The Early Years SEND team offers term-time outreach advice and support to parents and settings.
The team also forms part of the Multi-Agency Assessment Group offering early assessment for children with significant and complex developmental needs. The Early Years Psychologist is also part of this group, as are various therapists.
Referrals are made through the CAF and Early Support processes. Some children are identified through a medical referral or through Child in Need/Child Protection meetings.
The Portage Service is a term-time home visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs. The needs of individual children may present as either severe, complex or profound and multiple difficulties.
All pre-school children with learning support needs are eligible for the service.
The service has an open referral system, so parents/carers or anyone with concerns regarding a child’s development and with the parent/carers’ permission, can refer a pre-school child.
A general guide to referral would be that a child demonstrates significant developmental delay when compared with their peer group or that the child has a recognised medical condition.