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Educational Psychology Service

Many children and young people have problems with their development and learning at some point in their lives. Most improve with the help of their families, their schools and their friends. An educational psychologist can offer additional advice if schools or families are having difficulty helping the child to improve. Our job is to assess the needs of these pupils or learners and advise them, their parents/carers, educational setting or the Council about the best way to help them.

Every school and preschool setting has the support of an educational psychologist - a specialist on how children and young people develop and learn. They offer consultation, assessment, advice and support to pupils, parents/carers and teachers where there is a concern about the development, learning or behaviour of children and young people. Educational psychologists only work with pupils with a parent/carer's agreement.

If parents/carers are concerned that their child may have additional learning needs they should, in the first instance, speak to the additional learning needs coordinator (ALNCo) at the school or pre-school setting. The school or setting will be able to intervene and monitor progress. If the difficulties persist, the ALNCo, with parental permission, will inform the educational psychology service. If a parent/carer of a very young child is concerned, a discussion with the allocated health visitor or doctor would be advisable.

Educational psychologists usually work with pupils, families and teachers in a school or preschool setting. They do this in a number of ways, following the EP Pathway Model (see below).  EP involvement may include:

  • Discussion with pupils, their parents/carers, teachers and others who know them well, (in person, via the EP Support Line, remotely, or at Group Consultation meetings).
  • Discussion at Team Around the Child (TAC) multiagency meetings.
  • Observing the child in their classroom or playground.
  • Reviewing the work they have been doing in class.
  • Speaking to the child to explore their views.
  • Assessment and screening to check on the child's wellbeing, skills and/or learning.

They can see how the pupil responds to what they have recommended. Educational psychologists offer parents/carers suggestions about how they can support their child's wellbeing, development and learning.

The advice that they offer to teachers is usually to suggest ways to improve a pupil's wellbeing, learning or behaviour and ways to help the children and young people with learning difficulties to cope with their work in class.

School is the best place to discuss whether your child may have additional learning needs (ALN). They will explain the procedures and what actions, if necessary, is being taken to help your child. School will explain what exactly happens at the various stages of the ALN procedures.


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