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. This is 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. This referral is 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. This is 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 it could be the young person themselves who signs consent. This is where they have the capacity to do so.
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.