Educational Psychology Service (EPS)
What does an educational psychologist do?
Educational psychologists use a wide range of applied psychology and educational skills to support settings to understand and meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs. Psychologists draw on evidence based approaches and interventions that help children and young people who are experiencing difficulties in learning. This includes strategies to support communication, social relationships, and emotional wellbeing.
We take a problem-solving approach and offer consultation to staff and families, which means that we usually meet with staff in the setting and/or parent / carer first to explore peoples’ concerns and help to clarify the key issues. We will discuss strategies and interventions that build on strengths, and work with the network to review progress and make changes where they are needed.
Consultation may lead to an educational psychologist working more directly with a child or young person, for example:
- carry out an observation that helps understand what is working well and what can help make changes.
- attend an IEP review or annual review
- meet with a child or young person to support the assessment of their special educational needs
We work in collaboration with other teams and professionals who are involved with a child or family. Sometimes educational psychologists work in a multi-agency team such as the Social Communication Assessment Service (SCAS) and the Looked After Children (LAC) Virtual School.
The Educational Psychology Service also manages the Parent Carer Counselling Service.
How to access the Educational Psychology Service
Work involving the educational psychologist starts with a discussion between the Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) in an early years, school, or college setting. The SENDCo may arrange for a parent/carer to meet with the educational psychologist without making a formal referral to think about what will happen next and so you can ask any questions.
If any individual work is planned, the SENDCo will make the referral. The SENDCo must discuss this with you first, and obtain your signed consent, before they can send a referral (called an e-CAF).
Sometimes other agencies, mainly health professionals, let the Local Authority know they think a child has special educational needs that might need more help than is already available. The law says that they have to do this if they have a concern. If this happens, an SEN officer, a teacher, or an educational psychologist will contact the parent/carer to find out more and discuss the options about who is best placed to offer help.
An educational psychologist will not see a child or young person without consent. For a child under 16 this must be the consent of a parent/carer. For a young person aged 16 or above, where they have the capacity to do so, it could be the young person themselves who signs consent.
If the Local Authority has agreed to carry out a statutory Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment, the SEN team will request statutory psychological advice from an educational psychologist. The SEN team will have already obtained consent from a parent/carer or young person aged 16 or above to agree to carry out the assessment.
Parents/carers cannot refer directly themselves.