Educational Psychology Service

Our service aims to improve the learning and development of vulnerable children and young people from 0–25 years. To help achieve this, we work with children and young people, parents and carers. We also work with schools, services and agencies from within the local authority and across the community.

What does an educational psychologist do?

Educational psychologists use applied psychology and educational skills. This is 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. We usually meet with staff and/or parent/carer first to explore peoples’ concerns and help clarify the key issues. We discuss strategies and interventions that build on strengths. We also work with the network to review progress and make changes where needed.

Consultation may lead to an educational psychologist working more directly with a child or young person. This might include:

  • carrying out an observation that helps understand what is working well and what can help make changes.  
  • attending an IEP review or annual review
  • meeting 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 we work in a multi-agency team. This is 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

A school Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) may arrange for a parent/carer to meet the educational psychologist. This can be without making a formal referral. It is so that you can think about what will happen next and ask any questions. 

If it is decided an educational psychologist should work with the child, 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. This referral is called an e-CAF.

Sometimes other agencies, mainly health professionals, let the Local Authority know they think a child needs extra help. The law says that they have to do this if they have a concern.  If this happens, the SENDCo, a teacher, or an educational psychologist will contact you, the parent/carer. This is to find out more and discuss the options about who should 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 it could be the young person themselves who signs consent. This is where they have the capacity to do so.

Parents/carers cannot refer directly themselves.

If the Local Authority agrees to carry out an assessment, the SEN team requests statutory advice from an educational psychologist. The Local Authority assessment is a statutory Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment. The SEN team will have already obtained consent from a parent/carer or young person aged 16 or above. This is to agree to carry out the assessment.