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Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Educational Psychology Service

The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) delivers high-quality education support services to schools and settings across Devon.

How educational psychologists help children and young people

Educational psychologists (EPs) use specialist psychological knowledge and skills to promote the development, learning, achievement and well-being of children and young people from 0 – 25 years.

It takes at least 8 years to train as an EP. The training includes an initial psychology degree, work with children and completing a doctorate in Educational Psychology. Ongoing training and development is a professional requirement. This means that we base our independent advice on extensive up-to-date knowledge of research and good practice.

How educational psychologists’ skills are used in Devon

  • Schools and settings engage us to use psychological knowledge and skills in specific ways depending upon what is needed.
  • Each of our EPs completes a range of work to achieve different purposes.
  • Some EPs also have specialisms in areas such as literacy or social, emotional and mental health which are used across the service.
  • The EPS is organised into four locality teams across Devon, based in the north, south, east and west of the county.
  • Each team provides a service to a group of learning communities and the children, young people and families who live there.

“We wanted to thank you so much for the very thorough and specific report you wrote on X’s special educational needs. When you were doing your research, we could see how much effort and diligence you are putting into it and we were so pleased when we found the report you wrote showed exactly the same. We suspect you rarely get a chance to find out the ultimate outcome of your reports, so we wanted you to know what a difference your work has made to X and ourselves”.

Feedback from parents following EP assessment of their child (summer 2021)

The Devon EPS has made two short videos to explain what an educational psychologist does. This video for young people gives information for those of school or college age. We have also produced a short, easy-access version, which is ideal for younger children. We hope that the videos help children be relaxed and enjoy their time with the educational psychologist.

Our EPs are trusted professionals because they have:

  • a passion for thinking about the perspective of children and young people and achieving best outcomes
  • a friendly and approachable style so that they are good at connecting with people
  • a detailed understanding of child development, emotional health and wellbeing and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
  • substantial experience supporting children and young people in education from 0- 25 years of age
  • excellent knowledge of the current education system including the SEND legislation and Devon-specific processes
  • commitment to providing independent advice and working ethically based on the British Psychological Society Code of Ethics, Conduct and Professional Practice Guidelines (2018)

Our EPs are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)  Health and Care Professions Council logo

How the work of the Educational Psychology Service is funded and delivered

A finite amount of educational psychology time is funded by Devon County Council (DCC) for special educational needs statutory work and other tasks to support improved outcomes for children where DCC has duties for their care.

Schools and settings have the option to purchase educational psychology support in blocks of time to meet their own specific needs and priorities. Devon Education Services offers a range of work to promote inclusion, achievement and psychological wellbeing across the full range of ages and abilities.

All our EPs work creatively to make the most of your educational psychology time, meeting the needs of individual schools and working flexibly across MATs.

Managing requests for educational psychology support

We are always delighted to receive requests for EPS support from schools and settings because we appreciate each request is made following careful decision-making about using resources wisely. We always work to meet your requests where this is possible.

The demand for the support and services we offer increases each year and so schools, settings, MATs or groups are advised to purchase their educational psychology time as early as possible. This means we can plan to provide the level of support required for the forthcoming academic year.

Once EP time is allocated to a school or setting then this is their ‘protected’ time. With increased demand, at times, we may have reduced capacity for in-year purchases of significant amounts of additional time.

Exceptionally there may be fluctuations in the EPS staffing levels to account for but we will always work with you to make reasonable adjustments to our delivery if needed so you get the best value service for the time purchased.

“Thanks so much for coming along to the Annual Review today. Throughout this whole thing I have felt SO supported by the team and the amazing experience you all bring. I have learnt SO much! I honestly would have felt so alone with it all without you…I needed people around me who understand schools. Team work!”

School SENCO: Summer 2021

“Our EP has always been amazing.  He helps us and advises, so that we try to implement strategies before we contact him.  Can’t speak highly enough of him”.

Headteacher, St John’s Catholic PS