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Educational Psychology Service

What does the Educational Psychology Service do?

The Educational Psychology Service supports teachers, parents and carers, where there is concern about pupils' educational development and/or behaviour in school. It is a local authority service which is offered to all schools in the borough of St Helens.

St Helens EPS comprises a team of dedicated, highly trained and skilled professional psychologists. Service members have extensive experience of working with children, young people and families in a range of contexts.

Educational Psychologists within St Helens EPS are committed to professional development, ensuring that the service is of the highest quality. This is achieved through Continued Professional Development (CPD) (ensuring that current research evidence informs practice), as well as through regular opportunities to reflect on practice, e.g., via access to high quality clinical supervision and Peer Group Support (PGS).

St Helens EPS has strong links with a number of Universities and contributes to the initial training of Educational Psychologists and other professionals. Service members also link with Educational Psychologists working across the North West of England (e.g., via the annual, North West CPD Conference and nationally via the National Association of Principal Educational Psychologists). Activities such as these provide additional opportunities to remain well-informed of key developments across the profession.

All St Helens Educational Psychologists are DBS checked are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and adhere to the HCPC Standards of Proficiency. They are also work within the ethical and professional standards outlined by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Our EPs are:

  • Dr Tricia Lunt (PEP)
  • Dr Hannah Barton (SEP)
  • Dr Rachel Durkin
  • Dr Joanne Dean
  • Dr Jamin Sohrabi-Shiraz
  • Dr Allison Inoue

St Helens EPS typically works at three levels adopting an Assess–Plan–Do-Review cycle in order to adhere to St Helens Graduated Approach for SEND. These levels involve:

Systemic

Educational Psychologists work flexibly to help meet the needs of schools, settings and other organisations. Input may involve supporting the development and evaluation of school and local authority systems, policies, plans and projects and involve the application of research skills.

The aim would be to support settings and organisations in developing initiatives and systems that embrace diversity and reduce barriers to participation, learning and achievement. This way of working maximises the use of Educational Psychology time and affects change on a greater scale for the children and young people within St Helens Local Authority

Group

Educational Psychologists are able to apply a psychological perspective when working with groups of school practitioners, students and parents/carers. Specific requirements would be taken into account and may involve training and CPD (Continuing Professional Development).

Individual

Educational Psychologists may work on an individual basis via (i) assessment, (ii) consultation and/or (iii) intervention with school practitioners, students and parents/carers depending upon concerns raised through the referral process. These are explained below:

Consultation

Consultation is a problem-solving approach (based on psychological models and principles) involving a variety of professionals and/or parents who bring concerns for exploration. It involves the need to speak directly with those who hold the greatest concern and may have the greatest motivation to effect change. An Educational Psychologist facilitates the discussion using a psychological framework to enable positive and realistic solutions.

Assessment

Educational Psychologists are able to apply a range of techniques to highlight an individual’s strengths and areas for development. Individual assessments typically involve collecting and synthesising information in order to psychologically formulate and reach appropriate recommendations. Such methods may involve observations and/or curriculum-based, standardised, dynamic and play-based assessments. These may focus on:

  • a child/young person’s academic and developmental profile;
  • the learning/school context;
  • barriers to successful development;
  • an individual’s approach to learning;
  • a review of, and recommendations for, provision.

Intervention

Psychologically-based intervention promotes the holistic development of the child or young person. With up-to-date knowledge of evidence-based interventions, Educational Psychologists are able to support staff with the design, implementation and evaluation of these.

  • Every school has a link Educational Psychologist who attends termly multi-agency planning and consultation meetings in the school/setting. The school must obtain permission from parents or carers for their child/young person's needs to be discussed at this meeting. At this meeting, EPs offer consultation support and provide advice relating to next steps to support progression.
  • Following discussion at this meeting, progress can then be reviewed at future multi-agency planning meetings allowing the Graduated Approach for SEND to be followed. Should concerns persist and progress remains a concern, further referrals can be explored.
  • EP involvement can then be discussed and negotiated with the EPS referral processes followed if deemed appropriate.

Parents/carers should discuss any concern in the first instance with their child's Teacher and/or SENCo. If school staff share the same concerns the Graduated Approach for SEND should be followed to monitor progress.

Effective systems should be in place for identifying and monitoring a child's or young person's progress and this information can be shared upon request.

   

 

Following a period of time reviewing a child/young person’s progress via the termly multi-agency planning meeting, it may then be agreed that further EP involvement would be beneficial. The nature of this involvement will also be negotiated and the SENCo should then communicate this plan and agree jointly with parents/carers. A service referral will then need to be completed jointly between parents/carers and the Class Teacher/SENCo, valuing the views of both parents/carers and school staff.

This referral form, alongside any additional information (e.g., other professional reports) should then be returned to the EPS prior to any visits made. It will then be processed and logged by our dedicated administrative team, prior to any direct work being undertaken by the Educational Psychologist.

It is also advised that the child/young person should be consulted with as part of this referral so as to gather their views; promoting the voice the child/young person and supporting person-centred planning.

“Educational Psychologist is very friendly to talk to and has very good understanding about my child and family background."

“Educational Psychologist was extremely helpful and explained things to us in an easy way.  We are both very grateful for their help.”

“I found the Educational Psychologist to be patient and understanding and the report was thorough.”

"After our initial meeting with the Educational Psychologist, we found them to be friendly and approachable and it was encouraging to hear we could contact them with any other questions / concerns.”

“Thank you for your help and advice for my child’s difficulties.  I feel that the referral went through quickly and the report reflects my child’s difficulties as well as giving good advice to help them."

“Can we take this opportunity to thank our Educational Psychologist and the team for their continuing hard work and support – your expertise is invaluable to us.”

“Our Educational Psychologist is amazing and very helpful.”

“We have an excellent relationship with our Educational Psychologist.  Their contribution is essential to supporting our staff in delivering quality interventions for our SEN pupils.”

“Excellent service from our Educational Psychologist very professional and easy to work with."

"A great service!”

“We find the EPS very helpful in all parts of our SEN provision: assess, plan, do, review. Your advice and recommendations are invaluable when planning provision for our children. Your recommendations and support for school have enabled us to provide suitable provisions for children with learning, behavioural and emotional needs. Your rapport with our families is very much appreciated!”

 

Office:    
   Susan Ford 01744 671124 susanford@sthelens.gov.uk
Debbie Edmondson 01744 671120 debbieedmondson@sthelens.gov.uk