Learn more about Educational Psychology
What do Educational Psychologists do?
Psychology helps us understand how people think, learn, feel and develop. The work of the Virtual School Educational Psychologist is often concerned with supporting the development of learning, social, emotional, behavioural, physical or sensory needs; with the key aim of identifying and overcoming barriers to children’s and young people’s learning.
The Virtual School Educational Psychologist operates a consultation model of service delivery that promotes early intervention in order to minimise pupils’ barriers to learning. They apply psychology in working with staff, parents, carers, pupils and other agencies in order to generate solutions to concerns and facilitate change. The Virtual School Educational Psychologist promotes psychological wellbeing, inclusion and raising standards of children who are looked after across the full range of age and abilities.
How does the Virtual School Educational Psychologist work?
The work of the Virtual School Educational Psychologist is based on the consultation model, where it is expected that the majority of our psychological work takes place in consultation meetings, in settings, working directly with the people who own the concern, and are in the best position to implement change. There are times when EP involvement needs to move beyond consultations with school staff and parents/carers in order to explore, and provide a deeper understanding of, all the factors that contribute to children’s/young people’s educational attainment and social and emotional wellbeing. This direct work may involve observations and individual work with the child/young person (using a combination of dynamic assessment, published tests, play-based assessment and therapeutic approaches). Direct work only ever occurs when consultation discussions illustrate that there is a clear rationale to do so, following the generating of ideas (hypotheses) jointly between school staff and EP.
Key activities of the Virtual School Educational Psychologist can be summarised by the five following activities:
These key activities are undertaken at a variety of different levels: individual, group and organisational. Below are some examples of what the Virtual School Educational Psychologist can offer at the different levels of work.
- Psychological assessment to help define the nature and implications of children and young people’s difficulties in order to inform interventions
- Psychological interventions (including therapeutic interventions)
- Support on setting and evaluating objectives, outcomes and impact
- Psychological advice to staff focused on narrowing gaps in attainment and improving academic progress
- Contribute towards Personal Education Plan meetings about a child or young person
- Psychological interventions to develop particular skills, e.g. academic skills, study skills, thinking skills, overcoming exam stress, improving social skills, self-esteem, dealing with depression or anxiety
- Psychological interventions focused on narrowing the gap and improving academic progress
- Support to small groups of staff in managing a particular issue, e.g. challenging behaviour and disaffection
- Parent / carer workshops and training.
Strategic, systems and organisational level
- Support the development of whole service strategies and systems
- Continuing professional development (CPD) for staff on topics with a psychological basis
- Project development and research work, e.g. evaluating interventions to ensure that they are evidence-based and proven to be effective