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Frequently asked questions - psychology and learning
What is an Educational Psychologist?
An Educational Psychologist has undertaken a minimum of 7 years' training. This includes a first degree in psychology and postgraduate training in educational psychology at doctoral level.
As part of their postgraduate training, EPs study child development, the psychology of learning and teaching and the psychological aspects of teaching children with special educational needs. They study how groups and systems function and how people communicate and maintain relationships. They also learn about assessment, solving problems, training others, consultation and research methods.
What do Bury Educational Psychologists do?
We work with children and young people between the ages of 0-16 and 16-19 years of age who have a statement of special educational needs and who have been identified by school as needing some intervention or assessment. We regularly visit schools and early years settings. We work closely with parents, carers and school personnel and, where appropriate, with other staff within Children's Services and Health.
How does the Educational Psychologist help?
We usually consult about a child in school using a number of ways which may include:
- discussing the child with his/her parents, carers, teachers and others who know them well;
- observing the child in his/her classroom or playground;
- reviewing the work he/she has been doing in class;
- speaking to the child;
- testing to check on the child's skills and/or intellectual development;
- referrals to other Services within Children's Services; and
- referrals to other agencies within Health.
We offer parents, carers and educational establishments suggestions about how they can help the child's development and learning.
We offer advice to teachers and school staff to suggest ways to support a child's learning or behaviour within the classroom or at break and lunch times.
When does the Educational Psychologist usually get involved?
If school have any worries about your child's progress, the head teacher / SENCO / teacher will inform you of their concerns and will involve you fully in the decision to ask the EP for help. The EP is consulted at the Special Educational Needs Planning meeting held in primary schools once per term and involvement negotiated.
Bury Children's Services can be asked to carry out a more formal assessment of your child's special educational needs which is called a statutory assessment. This usually only occurs when the child has received intervention through the SEN procedures set out in the Code of Practice. If this statutory assessment is carried out, the EP will be one of the people who advise about the child's needs. You have a right to be involved during the assessment of your child.
Sometimes parents, carers want the EP to see their child before the teachers have decided that this is necessary. If this happens, we ask parents to discuss their concerns further with the school before contacting us directly.
Can I refuse to give my permission for the Educational Psychologist to become involved?
EPs would only wish to work with children with the permission and support of parents/carers.
Will I have an opportunity to discuss my child with the Educational Psychologist?
We work in partnership with parents and carers and want them to know what we are doing. The head teacher or senco will tell you when the EP is coming to school to see your child and you have a right to meet with him/her. Once the EP has a clear idea of what your child needs, he/she will want to discuss this with you.
If you want to meet with the EP before deciding whether to give your permission for him/her to work with your child, school may be able to arrange this for you. This may need to be negotiated with the school as this meeting would have to come out of the EP time allocated to the school by the Educational Psychology Service. You can be present when the EP sees your child, but the presence of a parent often inhibits a child from performing in their usual manner.
Where can I find out about special educational needs?
School is the best place to discuss whether your child may have special educational needs. They will explain the procedures and what action is being taken to help your child. School will explain what exactly happens at the various graduated levels of response (Code of Practice - SEN Procedures).
What is a SEN planning meeting?
The Special Educational Needs planning meetings are held in primary schools once per term. School staff and representatives from the Children's Services attend these meetings. The meetings give the head teacher/senco/teachers the opportunity to raise any concerns they may have about individual children.
Cognition and Learning Support
What is a Specialist Learning Support Teacher?
A Specialist Learning Support Teacher is a qualified, experienced teacher who has extra training and experience in assessing and teaching children and young people who have special and additional learning needs.
What do Specialist Learning Support Teachers do?
Specialist Learning Support Teachers work in partnership with other support agencies and teams, school and parents to meet the needs of children who are usually in the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 or 2.
- They assess children who are referred to them through consultation with schools and give advice on individual teaching programmes and teaching and learning strategies.
- They provide training on a range of learning difficulties, how to remove barriers to learning and training for schools on how to deliver a range of learning intervention programmes.
- They support Children's Services in monitoring provision for pupils with statements for learning difficulties.
- They support schools in setting up systems and provision for pupils with learning difficulties.
What is a Learning Support Teacher?
A learning support teacher has similar training and experience to a specialist learning support teacher. Their work mainly involves assessing and teaching pupils.
What is a Special Learning Support Assistant?
A Special Learning Support Assistant is an experienced Support Assistant who has extra training and experience in working with children and young people who have special and additional learning needs. The Assistant works under the direct supervision of a Specialist Support Teacher to deliver specific programmes to help children develop the skills they need to learn. They often model what they do for school-based Teaching Assistants so the programmes can be continued by them.
What does the Bury Cognition and Learning Team do?
- Support children and young people with special or additional learning needs.
- Support schools.
- Support parents through assessments and advice.
- Provide training.
- Support literacy/numeracy developments within Children's Services.
- Maintain and develop a resource base of teaching materials for use with pupils who have difficulties with learning.
- Support the inclusion of children with learning difficulties in mainstream schools.
When does the Bury Cognition and Learning Team become involved?
If school have any concerns about a child's progress, the Head Teacher or Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator will inform parents of their concerns and involve them in the decision to request the involvement of the Cognition and Learning Team. The involvement is negotiated at the SEN Planning meeting held in primary schools at the beginning of every term.
Will I have the opportunity to discuss my child with a member of the Cognition and Learning Team?
The Team works in partnership with schools and parents. The Head Teacher or SENCO will tell you if someone from Learning Support is going to work with your child. You will be provided with a copy of any assessments or reports on teaching programmes. If you want to discuss what members of Cognition and Learning Team are doing, this can be arranged in conjunction with the school at a time when they are usually working with your child.
What types of programmes do the Cognition and Learning Team deliver?
Cognition and Learning Team mainly deliver programmes that develop skills in:
- motor skills;
- handwriting skills; and
- underlying skills for learning.
What is a SEN Planning meeting?
The SEN Planning meetings are held in primary schools once per term. School staff and representatives from the Children's Services attend these meetings. The meetings give the Head Teacher / SENCO / Teachers the opportunity to raise any concerns they may have about individual children.
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