An educational psychologist (EP) is a trained applied psychologist who has a psychology degree and a post graduate professional training in Educational Psychology at Masters or Doctorate level. They use their knowledge of psychology to promote the educational achievement and improve the life chances of children and young people.
EPs work at different levels to help make a difference. This includes applying psychology with:
- system leaders at a national, regional or local level, supporting policy and strategic developments. This can involve undertaking action research.
- whole school or educational settings to support implementation of organisational approaches and developments, such as a whole school approach to wellbeing, training staff on approaches for autism, training teaching assistants (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants), on programmes to support emotional wellbeing.
- groups of parents or carers on common areas to provide help, such as workshops or intervention programmes on topics such as autism or children’s emotional development.
- groups of children and young people on common areas to provide help, such as workshops or intervention programmes on managing their worries, preparing for exams or supporting siblings of autistic children.
- individual children and young people and their families when there are concerns about their learning, development, emotional wellbeing or behaviour. They work with the other professionals working with the child or young person and the child’s educational setting (preschool, nursery, mainstream schools, college or specialist provision). EPs help to identify children and young people’s strengths, wishes and aspirations as well as their needs. This information is used to make sense of what is going on and find ways to help the child or young person.
When educational psychologists become involved with a child or young person
Children, young people and their families are eligible for support from an Enfield EP when any one of the following apply:
- the child or young person goes to an Enfield School that has purchased Educational Psychology Service
- the SEN service has asked for advice from the Educational Psychology Service as part of an Educational Health and Care Needs Assessment or to support the Education Health and Care Plan of a child or young person
- the child or young person has been referred to another team which asks for support from an EP, for example Enfield's Health and Education Access and Resource team (HEART).
Educational settings can usually meet the needs of most children or young people, but if parents or carers are concerned about their child’s learning, wellbeing or mental health, they usually speak to the setting first. Educational settings are there to listen to the concerns of parents and carers and may set up a Learning Support Plan or an Individual Education Plan together with you. The plan will include areas to improve on, possible outcomes and support that will help in school and at home. You will meet with the school to review the plan and progress your child is making. During this process, the school or educational setting may want to involve the EP for further thinking and support. Schools purchase this service and prioritise in line with the needs of children in their school.
Enfield EPS also has a telephone support line for any parent or carer of a child living in Enfield or attending a school in Enfield. This is a confidential space for parents and carers to talk through any concerns they have about their child’s wellbeing, learning or behaviour. Signposting information is also provided.
The work of an educational psychologist
Regarding work relating to individual children or young people, EPs work with the adults who know the child or young person well to understand their strengths and areas of need. They can also carry out psychological work with the child or young person. By working together, the EP will help plan the next steps to support a child’s emotional wellbeing and learning.
EPs can carry out a range of work including:
- consultation and advice to schools and settings
- individual psychological assessments with children/young people
- working with other agencies
- interventions including therapeutic support
- professional learning for education staff
- providing parent or carer support
How parents or carers are involved
An EP will always gain written consent from parents or carers, and from young people over the age of 16 years, before becoming involved.
EPs are committed to involving parents and carers and children and young people in all decision making. EPs work collaboratively as it is recognised that parents and carers and education staff know the child or young person best.
A written summary/report is provided when any direct work is carried out by the EP. If EPs are joining a school review meeting, the school will usually provide the written record or the updated Individual Education Plan or Learning Support Plan.
How to contact the team
You can contact the team on 020 8379 2000 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit Enfield Schools Traded Services Hub.