The Consultation Approach
We operate through a consultation model of service delivery. A consultation meeting is a problem-solving meeting which values the knowledge and skills of everyone present. These are also the people that know the child well. Through this meeting the child’s strengths are celebrated, concerns are shared and plans to promote the best way forward are devised. Actions are agreed by everyone to create a positive change.
This means that after initial discussions with parents/teachers and possible assessment work with a child any interventions/recommended courses of action are usually undertaken, not by us, but by someone close to the child such as the child’s teacher, a member of the school support staff or the parents.
We provide the advice, support and training to assist:
- Parents of both primary and secondary-age children.
- Schools and parents of pupils with Special Educational Needs when those children are due to transfer to secondary school.
- Looked after children attending school in Torbay.
- Schools regarding pupils who may be at risk of an exclusion as well as those returning after an exclusion.
- Children who are receiving ‘Education other than at school’, for instance those pupils attending a ‘Assessment Centre’
- The in depth assessments and written advice required for children undergoing Statutory Assessment.
We also deliver and support:
- INSET opportunities for teachers, other professional colleagues, governors and parents.
- Other courses, forums, and an annual conference for Special Educational Needs Coordinator' s (SENCO’s) to promote their continued professional development
Every school has the support of an Educational Psychologist, who is a specialist on how children and young people develop and learn. Schools have to buy this service to meet their responsibilities. As schools are free to choose how they spend their budgets to best effect we do not necessarily provide the same range of services to all schools as it depends on what they included in their contract with our service.
We work with schools and provide them with support, advice and training.
We also assess the needs of children who may be having difficulty with their learning and development. Advice is offered to the parents, pre-school, school and the Local Authority about a child’s special educational needs and ways in which to help them. Only our statutory and core work is directed by the Local authority rather than bought in by schools.
If parents are concerned that their child may have special educational needs they should speak first to the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) at the pre-school or school setting. They will be able to intervene and monitor progress. If the difficulties persist the SENCo, with parental agreement, will ask for further advice from the Educational Psychology Service.
- Informed Consent
we only work directly with children and young people with a parent/carer’s permission after agreeing the need to do so with the child’s pre-school/school.
- Parenting Courses
we assist some pre-schools and schools in running parenting courses
- Statutory assessment process
A statutory assessment of a child’s Special Educational Needs may be undertaken if there is evidence that the needs may exceed those that can be provided for within the school’s resources or expertise. The SEN department has specific criteria for deciding whether such an assessment should be undertaken. As a result of statutory assessment, the authority may decide to make additional provision in some cases and issue an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. Parents of children with Special Educational Needs have the same rights as other parents, to choose where their child should be educated. However, in deciding where needs are best met the SEN department of the local authority must consider the efficient use of resources. In most cases this means that children are educated in mainstream schools where their parents would normally have sent them, with additional resources or support provided by the local authority. However a very small minority of children will be offered places in specialist schools.
When Children are under 5 years old the pre-school SENCo can also ask advice from the Early Years Inclusion Service. If your child is very young and you are worried about their development, a discussion with your allocated Health Visitor or Doctor would also be advisable.
From September 2006 the training route for those wishing to become an Educational Psychologist changed from a one year masters program to a three year doctoral training course, with a two year in-service placement.
Entrants to the new Educational Psychology PhD training course require a BPS accredited Psychology degree (usually a 1st or 2:1) and 1-2 years experience of working with children and young people.
For more information contact:
We are often contacted by and encourage people wishing to gain experience in this field to contact us. However, for practical reasons as well as those of confidentiality we are only able to offer a very small number of work experience placements each year.