Our Educational Psychologists provide a service to children, young people and their families, as well as to school staff in Sheffield. We help to find solutions to worries and concerns people might have about how children are developing, progressing or learning.
All our psychologists are fully qualified. They have a degree in psychology and have undergone post graduate training.
Local Authority statutory working
The Local Authority commissions the following services from Sheffield Educational Psychology Service:
- advice, consultation and casework requested by the local authority linked to statutory duties; including the provision of Psychological Advice and reports to Sheffield City Council as part of the statutory assessment process or re-assessment of special educational needs
- reviewing/monitoring of pupil progress where there is a Statement of SEN/disabilities or the new single Education/Health/Care plans
- specific work related to vulnerable groups like those in public care or children/young people subject to Child Protection procedures
- acting as an expert witness for the Local Authority in SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) tribunals
- supporting schools and settings with a planned response to a critical incident
The ‘new’ service offer from Educational Psychology
From September 2016, the Sheffield Educational Psychology Service has been centrally funded. Previously it was a traded service. This change was made to ensure that Psychologists were available to all schools and that they could play an active role in promoting early intervention support and locality working.
Working through consultation
All schools have a named Educational Psychologist. However, The Educational Psychology service now operates largely through consultations:
- schools are offered drop-in consultations where class teachers and parent/carers get the chance to talk through concerns and plan practical actions to move situations on
- group consultations are offered for the SENCOs in each family or school to work together to devise creative support plans for children and young people (CYP) with more complex needs.
The service now employs 3 Assistant Psychologists. They support this new ‘active’ approach; leading intervention groups in schools, developing training materials, conducting focussed observations and supporting research projects.
Support for the most vulnerable
In addition to providing statutory psychological advice for the local authority, EPs have completed planning meetings with schools to get an idea of those ‘vulnerable’ CYP who might require Educational Psychologist input. For some this might be reviews of their EHC plans. For others it may be supporting schools in meeting the needs of children looked after or those at risk of exclusion. It is intended that closer links with the early help provided by MAST will ensure that we develop more integrated services.
All localities have their own small team of Educational Psychologists who work in their area. This team is part of the local inclusion workforce which is responsible for helping schools to identify and meet needs. Examples of current practice have included:
- supporting schools in the moderation of Sheffield Support Grid decisions
- contributing to locality SENCo forums in the majority of localities
- participating in agreeing to assess decisions in locality D
- devising a programme of activities linked to locality C’s wish to develop a network of leads for autism in each school. This involved focus groups to identify training needs and offering training alongside autism team colleagues
- providing Lego therapy training in localities B and C
- setting up and evaluating the ‘Friends’ intervention, which promotes wellbeing and emotional regulation, in several localities
Autism and Social Emotional & Mental Health
We continue to be busy supporting schools to find alternatives to exclusions. Our senior lead for Social Emotional and Mental Health has worked to develop and evaluate the Bumble Bee intervention offered by the Sheffield Inclusion Centre. This has demonstrated the relevance and effectiveness of nurture based approaches.
We intend to identify a mental health lead Educational Psychologist in each locality. This role will link with the development of the Healthy Minds programme which aims to provide better mental health support to schools.
Autism has emerged as a strategic focus in several localities as noted above. Our senior lead for Autism has been busy developing the use of Autism Education Trust materials across the city.
Educational psychology for young people
Many Government documents describe the importance of giving children and young people a say in matters that affect their lives. We have Education Psychologists who are trained in understanding how children and young people behave and learn.
We initially have discussions to establish whether we have the skills, knowledge and experience to make a difference. We then gather information and apply psychology to support schools in developing appropriate responses. Following this we:
- track progress
- address challenging behaviours
- develop support
Educational psychology training packages
We offer a range of bespoke training packages that can be delivered in a range of formats to best fit need and audience.
The range of topics we can offer includes:
- motivation and learning
- mental health issues and impact
- attachment & trauma
- understanding and responding to challenging behaviour
- bereavement and loss
- changing family circumstances – family break up.
- counselling skills
- using cognitive behavioural therapy
- working memory
- using solution focussed strategies
- language development/impairment
- executive Functioning
- structured conversations with parents
- parenting from early years to teenage
- social Stories
- governor training
- Looked After Children
- SENCo mentoring
- early years
- school planning for critical incidents
- the role of parents in children’s learning
- Children with Special Educational Needs in mainstream - what makes inclusion work
- developing child/family friendly schools