About educational psychology

Poole Educational Psychology Service provides services to:

  • children and young people aged 0-19
  • families
  • schools
  • pre-school settings
  • officers of the Borough of Poole

Educational psychologists understand how children and young people think, learn, feel and behave. They have a higher degree in educational psychology and have experience in the practical application of psychology to children and schools.

Each school has an entitlement to time from the Educational Psychology Service. How this is used is negotiated with each individual school, but typically we:

  • assess the psychological needs of children within an educational context
  • plan and advise on appropriate educational programmes and types of educational placement
  • monitor and evaluate programmes
  • advise schools on the ways that their organisation can develop to enhance the psychological well being of their pupils
  • research and evaluate good practice
  • provide training to teachers and others who work with children and young people

All of the above also takes place in pre-school settings. However, before statutory school age psychologists tend to work more with individual children.

School consultation and training

We work with schools in many different ways. During our regular visits, as well as individual assessments, we try to prevent problems arising by providing advice about children and how to prevent difficulties by consultation and/or training.

When problems do arise about a particular child or group of children, we will try to find out why the difficulties are occurring. We do not always need to see the child in order to help. We may be able to make suggestions on the basis of information provided by other people such as teachers and parents.

We can offer both training sessions specifically designed for a particular school or situation, and more general courses on issues relating to:

  • behaviour
  • anger management
  • social skills
  • learning
  • ways that schools can help youngsters with various medical diagnoses

Additionally we are involved in training courses for pre-school workers and teaching assistants.

Individual assessments

One way that psychologists’ time can be used is to carry out an individual assessment on a child or young person. This might involve:

  • the use of various types of tests
  • a structured conversation around the problems perhaps using techniques such as solution focused brief therapy
  • an exploration of what the young person’s views are and how they relate to other people’s perception of the problem

With younger children assessment is often play based, and at all ages observation in class or other groups may be important.

We try to produce practical and realistic recommendations for the young person, their parent or care-giver and for the school. We do not see children or young people without explicit agreement from parents or carers and we are always happy to talk to all the adults involved.

If there are concerns about a youngster in nursery or playschool, referral is possible either direct to the educational psychologist or to them via one of the pre-school services.

Statutory assessment

When we carry out a statutory assessment under the Education Act 1996, an educational psychologist must see the child or young person as part of the process.

The actual assessment is usually very similar to that done if the person was seen as a matter of course in school.

On the rare occasions when a parent agrees with us that the best way forward is a Special Educational Needs Tribunal, the psychologist is normally one of our witnesses.

Work with other agencies

One of the psychologists works closely with Children and Young People's Social Care, with children and young people who are looked after and their carers. Another spends time with the medical services on issues related to young people with mental health issues and another with various agencies on issues relating to Aspergers syndrome and autism. Additionally, when other services are involved with the child or family we will liaise with them.

We initiate and contribute to a range of working parties and policy initiatives. Recent work by members of the psychological service includes:

  • the production of a manual for running social skills groups
  • guidance for schools on handling critical incidents
  • research the effectiveness of Precision Training

As well as the social skills guide, we also publish a similar manual for anger management groups and guidance on bereavement issues. A guide for schools on the use of Precision Training is currently being completed.

Page last updated: 02 May 2019
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