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Education Psychology Service - Information for Parents

Education Psychology Service 

The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) assesses the educational needs of children and advises their parents, school or the Council on how to meet these educational needs

What is an Educational Psychologist?

An Educational Psychologist has undertaken a minimum of seven years training. This includes a first degree in psychology and post graduate study either for a Masters Degree or Doctorate in Educational/Child Psychology. All Educational Psychologists working for Tameside Council are registered as practitioner psychologists with the Health Care Professionals Council and are eligible for Chartered Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society.

As part of their post graduate training, Educational Psychologists study normal child development, the psychology of learning and teaching, and the psychological aspects of teaching children with special educational needs. They study how groups function, and how people communicate and maintain relationships. They also learn about assessment, solving problems, training others and research methods.

What do Educational Psychologists do?

The Educational Psychology Service is part of the Access and Inclusion Department of Tameside’s Communities, Children, Adults and Health Directorate. We work with children and young people between the ages of 0 - 25 years of age. We visit schools and nurseries regularly. We work closely with parents and teachers and where appropriate, with other staff within the Education, Social and Health Services.

 Our aim is to apply psychology to help the development and emotional health and well-being of children and young people. All our work is guided by four key principles;

  • We have the skills, knowledge and experience to contribute towards meeting the needs of vulnerable children and their families.
  • We believe in working collaboratively and in partnership with families, colleagues and other professionals.
  • We believe that an individual’s needs are best understood by considering their family, educational settings and community contexts.
  • We believe by working efficiently we will help people to realise their propensity for positive change and growth.

Why is there an Educational Psychology Service?

Many children have problems with their development and learning at some point in their lives. Most improve with the help of their families, their schools and their friends. The Educational Psychologist can offer additional advice if schools or families are having difficulty helping the child to improve. Our job is to assess the needs of these children and advise their parents, school or the Council about the best way to help them.

We currently have three areas of commissioned work;
 

  • Statutory work for the Local Authority including assessments and reviews of special educational need.
  • Direct work and strategic level work with early years children and with vulnerable pupils including looked after children and pupils attending short stay educational provisions.
  • Traded work with schools including school based nurseries.
    What work does the Educational Psychology Service undertake?

 What work does the Educational Psychology Service undertake?

Statutory Work may include the following:

  • Providing advice to the local Authority on the needs of children/YP who have severe and complex needs
  • Attendance at Interim/Annual Review meetings of children/YP with statements/EHC Plans where school, LA and/or parents have concerns about progress or provision.
  • Providing consultation and advice to schools and parents on how best to inclusively meet the complex needs of Children/YP in mainstream and special settings.
  • Supporting the Local Authority in the introduction of changes required by the SEND Reforms (Sept 2014). Including delivering training about Key working, person centred work, and Education Health care Plans (EHC Plans)
  • Contributing to the reassessment of pupils as they make the transition to an EHC Plan

Pre-Statutory Work may include the following:

  • Work within the Pupil Referral Units to facilitate a successful return to a school for pupils who have been permanently excluded
  • Problem-solving/coaching and training with those working with families of permanently excluded children
  • Applying psychological knowledge to contribute to action planning within the CAF process
  • Work in Early Years settings to assist staff to identify, assess and make provision for children with SEN
  • Providing advice to assist schools and other settings in implementing national/local SEN policy
  • Strategic work as a Corporate parent on behalf of Children in Care
  • Support to schools and other settings in the aftermath of a critical incident.

Traded Work may include the following:

  • School systems level work including the development of policies, evaluating resources or promoting systems for supporting students.
  • Guidance about appropriate school SEN Support – including provision mapping, evaluating impact, sharing good practice or signposting to other community based resources/agencies.
  • Individual work with students including attainment and cognitive assessments
  • Advice and consultation regarding appropriate intervention strategies and personalised plans for children with additional needs
  • Action planning with parents and school staff
  • Individual support for children/YP re: emotional, social, motivational or behavioural issues
  • Group work—social skills, peer mentoring, emotional regulation skills
  • Preparation of reports
  • Bespoke in-service training covering a extensive range of topics.

How does the Educational Psychologist help?

We usually assess a child in school or nursery. We do this in a number of ways, which may include:

  • Discussing them with their parents, teachers and others who know them well.
  • Observing the child in their classroom or playground.
  • Reviewing the work they have been doing in class.
  • Speaking to the child.
  • Testing to check on the child's skills and/or intellectual development
  • Contributing to action planning in multiagency meetings such as CAF meetings.

 We can see how the child responds to what we have recommended. We offer parents suggestions about how they can help their child's development and learning. The advice that we offer to teachers is usually to suggest ways to improve a child's learning or behaviour and ways to help children with learning difficulties to cope with their work in class

When does an Educational Psychologist usually get involved?

Educational Psychologists become involved with children and young people who have the most significant and complex difficulties which affect their learning and development. Children and Young People can be referred to the Educational Psychology Service via a number of different routes:

  • Educational Psychology involvement might be requested for children under 5 by the nursery or by a professional who is working closely with the child such as a speech and language therapist or the pre-school teaching service (Portage).
  • Once in school if teachers have significant concerns about progress or behaviour these will have already been discussed with the parent and additional Special Educational Needs School Support will have been provided. The Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO) in school will need to have worked with the class teacher to draw up appropriate targets for the child/young person and support to address the targeted areas of need will be in place. If concerns about the child/young person persist following a period of targeted SEN School Support then the SENCO may wish ask for advice from an Educational Psychologist.
  • Tameside Council (Special Educational Needs Team) may request an assessment of a child/young person’s special educational needs. This usually only occurs when the child has received intensive intervention through the SEN procedures set out in the Code of Practice. If a formal assessment takes place to contribute towards an Education, Health and Care Plan the Educational Psychologist will be one of the people who advise about the child's needs. Parents have a right to be involved during the assessment of their child.

Before an Educational Psychology assessment takes place parents will be asked permission for this work to take place. In addition the SENCO of the school/nursery will be asked to provide information about how the child/young person is developing including strengths and successes as well as information about what the concerns are and what approaches/support has already been provided.

Very occasionally, parents want the Educational Psychologist to see their child before the teachers have decided that this is necessary. Usually we ask parents to discuss their concerns further with the school before contacting us directly

Can I refuse to give my permission for the Educational Psychologist to become involved?

Educational Psychologists would only wish to work with children with the permission and support of their parents. Educational Psychologists are always keen to listen to parental views about the child/young person’s strengths and needs. School should inform parents when the Educational Psychologist is due to visit to assess their child and parents can request the opportunity to meet with the Educational Psychologist. If a parent wishes to meet with the Educational psychologist prior to giving permission for involvement with their child this should always be arranged.

Quality assurance

All Educational Psychologists work to locally and nationally agreed codes of practice. All are practitioner psychologists registered with the Health Care Professionals Council who monitor necessary competence for practice which must be maintained through regular supervision/governance and continual professional development opportunities. In addition all Educational Psychologists have an enhanced CRB check.

We consult with settings in order to gather and act upon feedback and suggestions for improvement. We organise formal supervision and peer coaching. As reflective practitioners we are keen to have such feedback and we strive to improve upon all aspects of service delivery. We work within a learning culture whereby the team continually update their knowledge of theory and research and the latest thinking about best practice.

Where can I find out about Special Educational Needs?

School/nursery is the best place to first discuss whether a child/young person may have special educational needs. The SENCO will be able to explain the procedures and what action, if necessary, is being taken to help. School will explain what exactly happens at the various stages of the SEN procedures.

Further information can be found via Tameside’s Local Offer website.

Who do I contact if I want further information?

If you want any further information regarding the Educational Psychology Service, please contact Lead Educational Psychologist Dr Lisa Quinn. E.mail lisa.quinn@tameside.gov.uk

Contact Information
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Contact by Post

Educational Psychology Service
Tameside MBC
Council Offices
Wellington Road
Ashton under Lyne
OL6 6DL
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 2218/19
Contact by Fax
0161 342 2198

Page last updated: 22 August 2014