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When an EP works with your school-age child
If an Educational Psychologist (EP) becomes involved with your child it will be to use what they know about psychology to: help develop an even clearer understanding of your child recommend and help work out how your child can make better progress at school. Your child will have their own pattern of strengths and difficulties, perhaps related to learning and understanding; physical or sensory needs; behaviour and/or managing their feelings; and communication. You know your child well and the EP will be keen to meet you to build their picture of your child.
To start with
Before a school's Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) asks for EP involvement, there will already have been a lot of work done in the school, in line with the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. The EP involvement will build on what has already been done.
Parents are always asked to give their permission for an EP to be involved with their child. The permission is usually by a signature on the 'request for EP involvement' form.
What an EP will do when they are involved
Exactly what an EP will do depends on the individual situation for each pupil. The 'menu' of things that an EP might generally do is :
Discuss your child with you, the parents. This might be in a meeting just with you, and/or meeting with you and school staff, and/or during a Review Meeting.
- Discuss your child with the class teacher or form tutor and other staff who know them well.
- With your permission, discuss your child with other professionals who know them.
- Have conversations with your child about their views of themselves and school.
- Observe your child in school.
- Ask your child to take some assessment tests.
- Attend School Review Meetings for your child.
- Find out how your child is making progress over time.
- Write summaries and reports (that are copied to parents and school staff) that help everyone remember what has been found out, what is recommended to help your child, and who has agreed to do what action.
How long does all this take?
Again, each individual situation is different. Generally an EP will carry out their work with your child over a period of two or three terms.
How will I know what the EP is doing when and what they think about my child?
Different parents like to have different amounts of information at different times about the work an EP is doing. Some parents like to communicate directly with the EP, some prefer to be kept up-to-date by the SENCO. EPs are flexible about they way they communicate with parents, to suit each parent and situation.
Once EP involvement has begun, the EP plans in advance with the SENCO when they will visit to do their school-based work with your child.
EP meetings with parents are arranged either via the SENCO or directly with parents, as best suits each situation.
You will always receive copies of any report, summary or letter the EP writes about your child.
What questions do EPs ask parents?
Generally an EP finds it helpful to know about:
- what your child is like at home,
- what strengths and interests your child has,
- how your child developed as a baby and toddler,
- what worries you may have about your child,
- what you find works well to help your child,
- what you would most like to see happen for your child.
EPs are also happy to answer questions that parents have.
If an EP works with my child does that mean that my child will move to a Special School?
Some of the pupils an EP works with do move to a Special School; most of them do not. Part of an EP's job is to think about which type of school would best suit the learning of the pupils they work with, but parents are always involved in decisions about which pupils do move school. If you are anxious about this, ask the EP about it when you meet them.
Will my child change because an EP has worked with them?
Some children do change in some way. Others have needs that can never change. All children can be helped to make their own progress in school.
When an EP is involved with your child what they hope to do is work with your child, their teachers and you to:
- help build an even clearer understanding of your child
- look at what can be done to help your child make their own learning progress and be happy at school.
Educational Psychology ServiceAddress: Education Department, PO Box 32, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 3AU
Tel: +44 01481 733000 Fax: +44