Educational Psychology Service (EP) work with children and young people (CYP) to support their development, wellbeing, resilience, learning and achievement. They are person-centred in their approach, working with others to help to achieve best possible outcomes for CYP. The focus of an EP’s work is to support and develop the skills of others.

Parental/Guardian consent would normally be obtained prior to an EP working with a child or young person. Sometimes young people can give consent for themselves, depending on their age and level of understanding.

Educational Psychologists have:

  • Specialist graduate and postgraduate qualifications in applying psychology in education;
  • A knowledge of current Welsh education systems and practice;
  • A detailed understanding of child development and special educational needs (SEN);
  • Substantial experience supporting CYP; 
  • Experience in undertaking research in relation to CYP

Educational Psychologists receive:

  • Continuing professional development (CPD) to ensure that they remain at the forefront of practice;
  • Regular professional supervision.

The Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) regulate all Educational Psychologist’s to ensure that they adhere to the highest professional standards.

Educational Psychologists work with CYP who have a wide range of needs in areas such as:

  • Learning
  • Language and communication
  • Sensory and Physical
  • Social and emotional development
  • Wellbeing
  • Behaviour
  • Mental Health Issues

Educational Psychologist are also involved with particular groups of CYP such as those who are in the care of the LA, those who have English as an Additional Language and those who are receiving support from Youth Offending Teams (YOTs).

How do Educational Psychologists work?

Educational Psychologists work in a range of situations and settings where there are concerns about CYP.  They use a range of approaches with individuals, groups, schools and wider systems such as LAs and the community. Working in partnership with parents, carers, families and others is important to ensure that any approach taken is holistic. EPs are child-centred, taking care to listen to and promote the voice of the child and young person. 

What type of services can Educational Psychologists offer?

Educational Psychologists work with individuals, groups and organisations.

They use their psychological insight and understanding for:

Specialist consultation, advice and assessment

  • Observations of CYP
  • Use of a wide range of assessment techniques for direct work with CYP to assess their strengths, difficulties, and their views.
  • Suggesting intervention and support programmes when appropriate
  • Discussions aimed at working towards developing solutions that address concerns;
  • Undertaking an essential role regarding the statutory processes of Special Educational Needs (Special Educational needs Code Of Practice for Wales 2004);
  • Chairing and/or participation in multi-agency meetings and forums, particularly around those CYP with the most complex needs

Providing support for parents

Educational Psychologist use different approaches, such as: parent workshops, parent support programmes, parent ‘drop in’ sessions and telephone consultations. 

Providing professional development and training

Educational Psychologists design and deliver training on a range of topics for teachers and other professionals

Supporting communities when there are critical incidents and sad events 

There are times when a sad event or a critical incident occurs, for example a sudden and unexpected death of a pupil or member of staff. Educational Psychology Services provide support that will help all those who are affected.

Carrying out research, evaluation and the development of policy and practice

Educational Psychologists undertake research that helps to develop and inform educational practice.

When do Educational Psychologists become involved with individual CYP?

The current Special Educational Needs Code of Practice for Wales (2004) recommends that there is a graduated response to meeting the needs of CYP’s SEN. The expectation is that for most CYPs their SEN will be met through appropriate practice in mainstream educational settings. It is recognised that some CYP will have higher levels of need leading to the involvement of specialist services. Educational Psychologists are part of that graduated response and often become involved when parents, professionals and others seek their advice. 

EARLY YEARS - 0-5 YEARS

This section describes the work of Educational Psychologists with very young children.

When should the Educational Psychologists become involved with individual children?

They may become involved following requests from a number of different sources e.g. GPs, health visitors, nursery staff and other professionals. Any request for a Educational Psychologists involvement should have been discussed with the child’s parent/guardian beforehand.

Educational Psychologists may work in a wide range of different settings that could include:

  • Child’s home;
  • Early years settings (maintained and non-maintained) e.g. school based nurseries, playgroups, private nurseries, childrens centres, clinics
  • Flying Start settings;

What do Educational Psychologists do within the Early Years age range?

Individual Work

  • Interventions such as play based therapies
  • Supporting the transition from home to pre-school settings
  • Collaborating with other Early Years professionals

Group Work

  • Supporting parents and providing information on a wide range of parenting programmes
  • Training for Early Years Professionals
  • Working with groups of children using interventions suitable for young children

Wider Systems

  • Supervision and management of other teams
  • Contribution to the development of Early Years Policies   

PRIMARY AGE 5 – 11 YEARS

This section describes the work of Educational Psychologists with primary aged children.

Each primary school usually has an Educational Psychologist who regularly visits the school

Educational Psychologists  work with primary aged children in:

  •  Schools
  •  Homes, including foster and care homes
  •  Out of county settings
  •  Specialist provision
  •  Multi agency hubs - a centre where a number of different professionals are based and can   work closely together  

What Educational Psychologists do within the Primary Age range?

  • Consultation - when issues are discussed in order to obtainmore information and get a fuller picture
  • Assessment – gathering detailed information about the CYP strengths and weaknesses.  A number of techniques can be used including tests and observations.
  • Intervention  - programmes devised in order to help the CYP|
  • Training – to help teachers, support staff and others improve their practice
  • Research – Evaluating what has been happening to see how effective it has been

SECONDARY AGE 11 – 18 YEARS

General overview

This section describes the work of Educational Psychologists with secondary aged pupils. Each secondary school usually has an Educational Psychologist who regularly visits the school.

You may find your Educational Psychologist also working in the following places:

  • Schools and colleges
  • Homes, including foster and care homes
  • Out of county settings
  • Specialist provision
  • Youth and community centres
  • Multiagency hubs.

What do Educational Psychologists do within the Secondary age range?

For many children and young people their teenage years are among the most challenging. Some of the key issues that Educational Psychologists are regularly consulted on include:

  • Relationships
  • Peer pressure and bullying
  • Adolescence and puberty
  • Wellbeing and resilience
  • Substance misuse
  • Social media use and misuse
  • Sexuality/identity
  • Mental health concerns
  • Offending behaviour
  • Learning and achievement.

Educational Psychologists regularly use the following approaches:

  • Person Centred Planning
  • Personal Construct Theory
  • Solution focused intervention such as solution circles
  • Solution Focused Brief Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Critical incident work.

POST 16 AGE RANGE

General overview

This section describes the work of Educational Psychologists with CYP Post 16.

Local Authority Educational Psychologists extend to post-16 provision in mainstream schools and special schools only. Post-16 settings such as colleges and universities may engage the services of Educational Psychologists themselves.

What do Educational Psychologists do within the Post 16 age range?

A Young person   moving into their early adult years can be presented with many challenges. Some of the key issues that Educational Psychologists are regularly consulted on in the Post 16 age group include:

  •  Transitional Arrangements e.g. from school to college
  •   Assessments / Advice / Guidance re: specialist post 16 placements.
  •   Career development
  •   Life planning / support
  •   Sexuality identity
  •   Adolescence and puberty
  •   Relationships
  •   Pregnancy
  •   Peer pressure and bullying
  •   Wellbeing and resilience
  •   Mental health concerns.
  •   Substance misuse
  •   Self harm & suicide
  •   Social media use and misuse
  •   Youth Offending

With Post 16 age range the following Educational Psychology approaches maybe used:

  •   Person Centred Planning
  •   Personal Construct Theory
  •   Solution Focused intervention such as solution circles
  •   Solution Focused Brief Therapy
  •   Mindfulness

LOCAL AUTHORITY AND COMMUNITY

General overview

This section describes the work of the Educational Psychologist at the Local Authority and community level.

What do Educational Psychologists do within the LA and the community?

Local Authority

Educational Psychologists are often asked to contribute to:

  • Moderation panels and other decision making panels
  • Corporate plans.
  • Reporting to Scrutiny Committees when required.
  • Undertaking work related to the development of SEN policy and provision at a strategic level.
  • Undertaking a range of duties related to statutory decision-making including.
    • Completing placement paperwork.
    • Providing statutory advice,
    • Attending some annual reviews.
    • Developing criteria for statutory assessment and statementing.
    • Determining entry and exit criteria for provision.
    • Providing evidence for mediation and tribunals.
  • Advising on some school admissions.
  • Advising on attendance and behaviour issues at a strategic level.
  • Managing moves of school placement for children and young people.
  • Undertaking targeted work with schools that have been identified as needing support.
  • Providing literacy and numeracy training e.g. for SENCOs.
  • Managing and developing young people’s counselling services.
  • Representing the Local Authority in various forums.
  • Training schools to set up new interventions e.g. Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL), Positive Play, Positive Support, Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA) .
  • Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) and SENCo training; Person-Centered Planning
  • Work with Challenge Advisors and other to facilitate school improvement.
  • Policy and practice development in a wide range of areas e.g. domestic abuse, school strategies and transgender guidance for schools,
  • Supervision for assistant psychologists working within the Local Authority.

As part of their work within the Local Authority Educational Psychologists work closely with the Local Authority Social Services Departments

Social Services & Safeguarding

  • Working with families to support CYP with complex needs
  • Support social work teams and their casework as required.
  • Safeguarding work including safeguarding training.
  • Work with the CYP Disability Teams.
  • Work to support CYP who are looked after.
  • Working with fostering and adoption services to support CYP

What do Educational Psychologists do within the community?

Local Health Boards

  • Joint working practices with CAMHS
  • Work relating to the Mental Health Measure.
  • Joint working practices relating to ADHD, Communication Disorders, ASD, and OCD
  • Joint working practices with parent partnerships.
  • Joint working practices with Health Visitors

Community Services

Educational Psychologists work and provide consultation and training to a wide range of community services including:

  • Third Sector Partnerships
  • Families First Projects
  • Flying Start
  • Barnardos
  • Family intervention Services
  • Information support for Parent/ Guardians.
  • Pre-school providers
  • Police and Youth Justice Services

Welsh Government led

Educational Psychologists will provide input by:

  • Responding to consultations on a wide range of subjects.  This would include consultations about new initiatives, policy formation and new legislation
  • Contributing to a wide range of Welsh Government training initiatives.
  • Playing a major role in early intervention projects e.g. Flying Start, Portage