A Guide to the Educational Psychology Service

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					Educational Psychology Service
Service guide 2005-6

            A Guide to the Educational Psychology Service

Introduction

Psychological well-being and resilience in childhood are known to be
crucial to everyone‟s life chances. Our role as educational psychologists
is to use our knowledge of psychology to promote the psychological
well-being of everyone within the education system. We work on the
basis that a sense of achievement and confidence in being able to learn
is important for emotional well-being. Conversely, social and emotional
well-being is necessary for success in school.


            Success in                      Social and
            learning                        emotional well-being


Therefore our aim is to apply our knowledge of psychology at all levels
within the education system, and with other agencies, to ensure that
any barriers to learning and development, whether cognitive, social or
emotional, are reduced and children and young people‟s future
prospects are enhanced.

Our context

The Educational Psychology Service is changing and developing to
meet the expectations set by national initiatives and by Derbyshire‟s
implementation of these.

    DfES guidance Removing Barriers to Achievement places a
     greater emphasis on the use of support services to build capacity
     in schools to meet inclusion needs
    A variety of new guidance promotes early intervention and
     measures that prevent problems arising (Children Act 2004,
     Together from the Start, National Service Framework, Extended
     schools, Children’s Centres). All of these will have implications for
     the Psychology Service and we are beginning to work with
     children and families outside of schools settings, for example, in
     the early years. Multi-agency working will be a key focus.
    Derbyshire LEA‟s new funding mechanism which aims to see a
     reduction in Statements and the increase of funding in schools to
     meet more commonly encountered special educational needs
     should mean less need for psychologists to assess these
     children, concentrating instead on more complex needs
    Derbyshire‟s Single Education Plan and SEN and Inclusion
     Strategy


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    Derbyshire‟s focus on the building of learning communities, and
     organising support services where possible to deliver to clusters
     of schools
    Code of Practice on Special Educational Needs 2002

The DfES Report on Effective Psychological Services in England and
Wales (July 2000) is clear about the purpose of the service

   To promote child development and learning through the application
   of psychology by working with individuals and groups of children,
   teachers and other adults in schools, families, other LEA officers,
   health and social services and other agencies

We also share the view (Code of Practice) that children‟s needs are
defined by a complex interaction of systems. Difficulties they experience
do not exist in isolation from school, family and community, and this has
important implications for how we work with those who seek our help.

The Service Guide sets out how we will apply psychology to make a
difference for children, their carers and the schools and early years
settings they attend.


Aims

    Improving the educational attainments of pupils through the
     application of psychology in partnership with educational settings
    Improving the psychological health and well-being of children
     through the application of psychology in schools and community
     settings
    Improving the early development of children through the
     application of psychology in school and community settings
    Improving the educational attainment and emotional well-being of
     children looked after and other vulnerable groups through the
     application of psychology in schools and community settings
    Providing good quality psychological advice to the local education
     authority for statutory assessment
    Improving the functioning of the Psychology Service to achieve
     these outcomes for children
    Ensuring high levels of inclusion for all.




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A good value and effective educational psychology service works in
partnership with schools and other partners at three levels:



           Work with                                    Work
          children and                               supporting
            families                                 educational
                                                       settings




                                 Effective EPs
                                 must do all of
                                    these in
                                  education
                                    settings



                                   Work such as
                                   professional
                                 development with
                                     teachers



How we work
Overall perspective

Psychologists work within a chartered profession having ethical and
practice guidelines set by the British Psychological Society. Derbyshire
county council also maintains standards for all its employees in how
they relate both to the public and to other employees.

We are committed to
   Working only with the informed consent and active participation of
     those with whom we work
   Working only within the limits of our recognised competencies
   Taking active steps to promote the welfare, well-being and rights
     of those with whom we work



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    Demonstrating and promoting equal opportunity and anti-
     oppressive practices

We apply psychology
   Informed by evidence
   Using processes to facilitate change
   Drawing on a range of models
   Involving those we are working with in an open exchange

Educational psychologists have degrees in psychology. They are also
qualified as teachers and have taught successfully before doing a
second psychology degree which is their educational psychology
qualification. Thus they know about children and young people, schools,
teaching and the education system, and can provide advice based on
this breadth of knowledge.


Service organisation
The service is managed by a principal educational psychologist. Five
senior educational psychologists line manage the educational
psychologists working in three area offices – Buxton, Chesterfield and
Ripley. One senior educational psychologist is responsible for specialist
work we undertake in relation to early years and manages the County‟s
Support Service for Pre-school Children with SEN.

Typically each psychologist has to serve a large area. There is
approximately 1 psychologist per 6000 children (age range 0-19).
Demand for us to work with large numbers of individual children simply
far outstrips our capacity to undertake a quality job. Therefore, in order
to plan effectively and to respond to the diverse range of needs in
communities we have organised into cluster teams to serve
communities of schools. We can then share expertise and do more joint
work when necessary eg in relation to training and projects. Each area
will have an experienced manager as leader who will plan with the
psychologists their use of time.

Time allocation

Psychologists‟ time is managed in terms of priority for certain vulnerable
groups, for example, Early Years, Looked after children and those with
social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The remaining time is allocated on behalf of children in schools and pre-
school settings (including direct time, administration, parents, LEA
procedures, legal processes).


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Dedicated teams

A number of psychologists have a proportion of protected time for
contributions to particular aspects of work for which the service has
received dedicated funding.

    CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service).
     The service contributes the equivalent of 1 fte educational
     psychologist across the county, contributing to the multi-agency
     specialist mental health teams. This involves 5 EPs providing full
     time equivalent cover across the County, 0.7 completed by 2 EP‟s
     for the North, 0.3 involving 3 EP‟s covering the South.

    Early Years. The service contributes the equivalent of 3.5 f.t.e.
     Educational Psychologists across the county. Within each area
     base, there is one Educational Psychologist with a substantial (at
     least 0.4 f.t.e.) commitment to Early Years to act as a contact and
     focus point for other team members and external agencies. The
     Early Years Educational Psychologists work closely with the
     SSPSCSEN including the County‟s Portage service (Derbyshire
     First Steps at Home) and with the Early Years and Childcare
     Service. Educational Psychologists provide direct casework for
     children in non-maintained settings and those still at home,
     training and consultation to early years practitioners and parents,
     and contribute to Local Authority policy and strategy decisions.
     The service is currently looking at developing its work with Sure
     Start local programmes and Children‟s Centres.

    Children Looked After. There is the equivalent of one full time
     EP to make specialist input into this area. This work will be
     undertaken by 5 experienced EPs who are co-ordinated by a
     Senior EP who will also act as the link EP to stakeholders such
     as Corporate Parenting and Social Services. Additionally, all EPs
     will have a generic role with the schools in their „patch‟ which will
     focus on the attainments and emotional well-being of all CLA in
     schools.

    Multi-agency team (MAST) A Specialist Senior Educational
     Psychologist (Behaviour) provides a psychological service to the
     MAST team within the Behaviour Support Service, contributing to
     a team approach to the assessment and re-integration of
     permanently excluded pupils across the County. MAST teams
     operate both in the North and South of Derbyshire and along with
     the EP include integration teachers, education social workers,
     integration support assistants and a nurse. In addition the EP


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       provides a psychological service to non-mainstream settings such
       as Support Centres where some permanently excluded children
       are educated. Strategic work is included in the work of this EP
       and involves training, projects and research towards reducing
       exclusion.

Working with schools

The role of the educational psychologist has widened from a school
based service. However, as most children spend a significant proportion
of their time there, schools will remain a focus of educational
psychology work. In evaluations schools have told us they want us to be
involved in activities such as more consultation and training in addition
to work with individual children.

We expect to be working with children who have more complex needs
where schools would like practical guidance (for example, children with
complex learning disorders, children experiencing emotional and
psychological distress and particularly children who experience both).

We would be less involved with individual children having what might be
termed “high incidence” needs, e.g. literacy difficulties,
underachievement, low attainment levels. There will be other inputs we
can offer regarding these, for example, consultation and advice;
projects to support inclusion; training needs of teachers and support
assistants; promoting the achievements and well-being of vulnerable
groups. In particular, the service will focus on key priorities in the
Derbyshire Education Strategy:

    To raise attainment at all key stages – for example through our
     work in Early Years, Language, ROWA
    To raise achievement of children in public care – for example, our
     work to monitor their achievement in schools, training of
     residential staff
    To raise the achievement of children with special educational
     needs – through assessment, advice, training on effective
     learning for a wide range of children in mainstream and special
     schools
    To raise the attainment of children from vulnerable groups – our
     input to anti-bullying, to CAMHS, to gifted and talented
    To reduce exclusions – our input to the multi-agency support
     team
    To ensure the active involvement of children and young people –
     for example, the provision of guidance for schools in helping
     children and young people participate



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    To provide support to parents and carers – through advice,
     training and practical strategies

The value we add is based on our knowledge of psychology in solving
school-based problems. We will undertake a broad range of activities
related to
     School improvement needs
     Support for schools in planning for individual pupils at school
       action plus or who have statements
     Supporting the LEA in fulfilling its statutory duties and strategic
       responsibilities
     The needs of schools‟ communities

We are moving towards each school will have a named link EP who will
be part of a learning community team (where staffing permits). It will be
the responsibility of members of the “community” team to balance the
needs of the whole community with the demands from particular
schools. The link EP will work with the school through SENST meetings
to identify priorities that will assist the school‟s planning in relation to
inclusion. Identified needs will be prioritised by the community EP teams
and time allocated to work accordingly. To improve effectiveness in
planning the LEA is working to support the development of learning
communities and we will try to link schools together where they have
needs in common, and to offer support across their wider community.

SENST meetings

The "SENST" (Special Educational Needs Support Team) enables schools to
plan with their educational psychologist. This year, we aim to use SENST
meetings more creatively, working with schools to develop their scope and
function.

These meetings are an established part of Derbyshire SEN practice.

The basic allocation to all schools is two meetings per year. Schools with
more than 100 pupils on roll can negotiate an additional meeting.

We suggest schools use this meeting for planning, and limit it to about an
hour and a half. The head, the SENCO or their nominee should represent the
school. Sometimes it will be useful for members of other support services to
join the planning meeting to assist in joint planning. We welcome appropriate
colleagues joining the meeting. Because of the planning role laid down for the
meeting, we suggest SEN training needs in the school are discussed at this
meeting.

The planning meetings are not the right setting for lengthy reviews of
individuals. It would be inappropriate, for example, to use this meeting to hold
the annual review of a child‟s statement.


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When schools consult us about an individual child at the meeting, their parent
or carer needs to be told by the school, since data is being shared with an
organisation not involved with every child. It needs to be explained to them
that:

● The meeting is for planning what can be done in school
● The psychologist will not be seeing the child; only advice is being sought
  at this time
● Any outcomes will be shared with parents

The meeting should be recorded. Some schools prefer the educational
psychologist to do this, while in some schools the SENCO likes to make the
record. Whoever makes it, the record should set out clearly what was
discussed, what was agreed and what actions were to be undertaken.

SENST is currently under review to look at how the agencies can work
effectively together in supporting schools.

Task teams

In addition to generic work with schools all psychologists have time
allocated for development work in relation to the following tasks
     Emotional literacy
     Effective learning
     Children looked after
     Tasks commissioned by LEA planning and strategy
     Tasks that enhance professional skills
     Anti bullying
     Development of training materials
     Autism Spectrum Disorders
     Early Years


Consultation

It is not always appropriate or effective to see children individually. The
DfEE Review of Educational Psychology Practice (2000) strongly
advocates that psychologists use consultation models. This is where
concerns are raised, eg by a teacher or other professional, and there
then begins a shared process of exploration of the problem,
suggestions for intervention, followed by review. We value this
approach because it sees professionals as equals and can employ
everyone‟s skills to best effect.
Consultation sessions can be used for individual issues, family issues,
class group issues, and whole school issues. Where we undertake any



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consultation sessions they will be properly planned with actions agreed
and recorded.

Working with SEN & Inclusion Administration

Children with SEN are vulnerable, particularly in terms of their
psychological well being.

The psychology service is responsible to Derbyshire County Council to
apply psychology to the benefit of children, families and schools. It also
has a particular requirement to enable the local education authority to
fulfil its statutory duties under the Education Act (1996), the particular
requirements being set out in the revised Code of Practice (2002).

Statutory advice from educational psychologists has to be submitted
within statutory time limits. All statutory advice is potentially open to
challenge within a Tribunal (SENDIST) or in a court of law. It is
therefore imperative that we follow the good practice set out by our
profession in relation to standards, evidence and ethics. In exceptional
cases educational psychologists may be expected to appear as expert
witnesses for the LEA and for parents at tribunals or hearings. These
activities arise unexpectedly and disrupt other planned work.
Educational psychologists will only be expected to appear where it is
clear that their psychological expertise is required.

We will work with LEA officers to:
   Participate in the county Statutory Assessment Moderation Group
     (SAMG) both in the application and development of consistent
     criteria
   Provide advice about the appropriate placements of young people
   Provide advice to assist the planning of provision and resources
   Provide evidence of the effectiveness of placements and
     provision
   Attend key reviews of children placed out of county
   Contribute to initiatives to improve procedures



Working with individual children

As many as 20% of children will experience emotional or learning
problems/difficulties at some stage of their lives. For the most part they
will be helped by teachers and other staff applying good teaching and
pastoral interventions. A small number of children will experience
extremely complex problems. As a service we are working on finding



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methods for identifying those children with more complex needs to
ensure we are targeting the most vulnerable children.

    Assessment and intervention
   We recognise that what are often described to us as children‟s
   problems and difficulties actually take place against a wider
   backdrop of influences e.g. family support, school effectiveness,
   healthcare, economic factors, peer influences etc. Even where there
   are clearly within child factors, looking at the systems surrounding
   the child will help to identify what factors might be maintaining the
   problem and how the child can be supported more effectively. When
   assessing children therefore we have to look for information about
   those elements that can be changed to improve the situation. The
   goal of all assessment we undertake will be to identify a helpful
   intervention for those who have sought our help and to support them
   in doing it.

   To intervene
       We need to speak to the key people in the child‟s life
       Identify everyone‟s goals
       Plan/complete a relevant assessment
       Work with the key people to develop solutions
       Review the outcomes

   This is the process known as “Plan…Do……Review”. This is most
   likely to lead to successful outcomes.

   We will write down a contract with the referrer based on the Plan-Do-
   Review process and seek evaluative comments subsequently. In all
   cases where we have assessed an individual child we will write an
   account of this.

Consent

We see children only with parent/carer permission.

The Derbyshire standard is that a parent will give informed consent.
Derbyshire psychologists will, so as to make the consent real and
informed, give those with parental responsibility the following rights:
     To receive from the referrer or us a booklet setting out what
      educational psychologists are and what they do.

    To be given the opportunity to meet the Educational Psychologist
     at or around the time when their child is seen.




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    To be present if they wish whenever their child is seen
     individually outside the classroom.

Recording our involvement

We will record what we do.

When individual children are seen, we will produce a written record,
setting out clearly:
        What we found
        What we think are the important issues
        What we advise should be done
        How we will follow this up, if necessary


This may, when appropriate, be a full psychological report. In many
instances, however, it will appropriately take the form of a briefer note,
However, it must always address the listed areas.

Reports that are about individual children will be routinely copied to their
parents. We will store information in a confidential pupil file.

We will record consultations we undertake with settings and parents.
We will store these in a school or setting file. If this leads to direct work
then we will open a pupil file. Schools should always seek parental
consent when wishing to have a formal consultation. Anonymous
consultation is possible eg a hypothetical situation. However, if it
becomes clear that there is some risk to an individual we will seek to
formalise the consultation.

We work within an ethical code of confidentiality; issues relating to child
protection would override this, as would a court order.


Working with other professionals

We believe that where more than one professional is involved with a
child or a school then there should be effective planning to improve
outcomes.

We will attempt to improve communication with professionals in other
agencies by planned meetings, sharing information where we have
permission, providing information about our service, and undertaking
joint training for appropriate activities. We will always attempt to
ascertain the network surrounding a child and make them aware of our
involvement. We anticipate working within the Common Assessment
Framework guidance soon to be released by government (2005).


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School improvement

The psychology service works to support school improvement plans or
to work with schools at risk of serious weakness or special measures.
Schools should discuss their needs with their named psychologist. The
EP may draw on the knowledge and resources of other psychologists in
the community team.

Training

We believe that an effective and efficient means of improving children‟s
lives is through offering training to those who work more closely with
them. We will seek evaluative comments on all training we provide.

LEA projects

The service makes a contribution to a number of projects the LEA has
developed with schools and other partners

      Autism file/Autism Friendly School File
      Dyslexia friendly schools file
      Anti Bullying Commitment
      Extended schools
      Language friendly schools file
      SEN in learning communities project
      ROWA
      Reducing exclusion or social inclusion
      Developments in policy and strategy

Monitoring and evaluation

Time allocation will be monitored through the EPS Data Management
and Activity Recording System (DMAR). This includes records of the
time in schools and the activity undertaken.

DMAR will also bring together other data such as clerical ratios and the
level of specialist work undertaken by the EPS. All the information on
DMAR will be available to all members of the EPS.

Activity recording is a way of recording what was done. We are also
keen to know if that work was effective. We will pilot a form that
establishes a “work agreement” between psychologist and service user.
It will establish the goal and the intended outcomes. We can then
measure the effectiveness of the service.


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Individual review (management supervision) takes place at least twice
yearly. This is an opportunity for a psychologist and his/her manager to
review the individual‟s achievements of service goals. In addition
managers oversee the work of individual psychologists in their teams to
ensure quality of work.

The service has previously surveyed schools and parents for their
views. In the next year we will be updating our methods of getting
feedback from service users including the views of young people. We
are aiming to produce a report for schools about our work.

The service is also accountable to the senior management team within
the education department who hold regular performance reviews.

Externally, the service is accountable to OFSTED and the Audit
Commission.

Complaints

The service has a procedure for investigating complaints from schools
and from members of the public. You can contact an area senior
educational psychologist or the principal educational psychologist for
further information. Our aim is to resolve issues speedily so that a
working relationship can be resumed.

Critical incidents

 “A crisis (critical incident) is seen as a situation which is outside the
range of normal human experience, which would be markedly
distressing to anyone.”

When alerted to a possible critical incident, Derbyshire Educational
Psychology Service will always assess the nature of the incident, advise
on the right level of response, and give the school a point of contact
who can be referred to if the situation changes or develops.

Derbyshire EPS will respond promptly when potential critical incidents
are reported to it.

In all cases, it will investigate sufficiently to determine the level of
response that will be made.

The aims of the response will be to give school staff help in keeping the
school functioning effectively, and to identify, help and assist individuals



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who are suffering particularly badly in the aftermath of the critical
incident and/or may suffer longer term negative outcomes.


Service documents:

Educational Psychology Service Handbook

Annual service plan

Service principles and values

Critical Incident Handbook

Training Portfolio

A Guide for Parents

Leaflet for Parents



Educational Psychology Telephone Numbers:

Area Teams

Ripley: 01773 748002

Chesterfield: 01246 204851

Buxton: 01298 26121

Headquarters

County Hall: 01629 585850




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