Support Available to Schools from Education Psychology

Find out about the support available to educational settings.

Who we support

The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) supports children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) arising from difficulties in the following SEN Categories: 

  • Cognition and Learning (C&L)
  • Social, Behavioural, Emotional and Well-being (SBEW) 
  • Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) 
  • Sensory (SE)
  • Physical Needs (PN)

Our Team

The Educational Psychology Service is a regional service made up of teams of professionals with knowledge, understanding, specific training and qualifications in psychology, child development and teaching. These teams include Educational Psychologists (EPs), Assistant Educational Psychologists (AEPs) and Psychology Assistants.

What we provide

Each educational setting and school in Northern Ireland has a named Educational Psychologist, who works closely with the teachers and staff to identify those children and young people who are presenting with a barrier to their learning. Our service provides advice, involvement and training to educational staff who are working with children and young people with Special Educational Needs.

What we do

Your named Educational Psychologist will be in contact with you at the beginning of the year to conduct your initial school planning meeting to assist you with identifying priorities for your school for the coming year which may include the following:

Research and Strategic Development

A growing area of Educational Psychology Service core work is that of research, contributing to an evidence base for educational practice, informing policy and strategy and exploring new educational ideas. Educational Psychologists can support schools to evaluate new ways of working and develop effective practice to support children and young people with SEN.

Training

Educational Psychology Service support and training may be provided to school staff on a range of topics including:

  • Emotionally-based school avoidance,
  • Attention & concentration,
  • Executive functioning,
  • Memory; and
  • Therapeutic work.

If you would like further information on the training available or to speak to someone about training needs within your educational setting or school, contact your regional Educational Psychology Service office phone number or link directly with your named Educational Psychologist for your school.

Early Intervention

Our Service can also provide early intervention training and support to educational settings and schools by recommending early intervention strategies and approaches and by following the graduated approach to supporting children and young people with SEN, as detailed in the SEN Code of Practice: Identification, Assessment and Provision by Schools.

Direct Involvement with Children and Young People

Consultation

A Consultation meeting is usually arranged between an Educational Psychologist and each school in the first term of the academic year. Pre-school staff or school Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCo) can bring to the attention of Educational Psychology Service any child about whom they have significant concerns. This allows for a shared understanding of the child’s needs and agreement on how best to support them.

Assessment

Where appropriate and when required, an initial assessment may take place within the child’s school or at home if the child is of pre-school age or below. This provides an opportunity to gather more information about how a child is making progress or otherwise, including strengths they have and any difficulties or barriers they may be facing.  

Following the assessment and depending on the support required, a tailored intervention programme may be developed. Where appropriate a request for specialist input from EA SEND Services may be recommended.

Following the graduated approach, further consultation may occur to consider whether a request for longer term support should be made. Where a child has complex needs and there are concerns that their current educational setting is not meeting their needs, a request for Statutory Assessment may be required.

Intervention

Following assessment by an EA Educational Psychologist and SEN being identified a tailored intervention programme may be developed. This may involve short-term teaching approaches within the classroom and/or therapeutic interventions led by an Educational Psychologist.

The child’s school will monitor the expected level of progress. If difficulties persist, the Educational Psychologist will review the strategies and interventions put in place and liaise with the school about any further involvement which may be required.

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Contact the Educational Psychology Service

The Educational Psychology Service can be contacted for advice and information specific to children and young people who have, or may have, special educational needs.