Andrew gives us insight into his career path to becoming an Educational Psychologist, having completed placements in education, disability and mental health services, which provided him with a range of skills that can support the psychological needs of children. He tells us that he enjoys bridging the gap between home and school, being immersed in these two parts of the system around the child.
What was your education path?
I completed a degree in Psychology, a Master's in Atypical Child Development and a Doctorate in Educational Psychology. I worked as a Special Needs Assistant, an Applied Behavioural Analysis Tutor, an in-home teacher, and an Assistant Psychologist.
What does your role entail as an Educational Psychologist in National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)?
I work for the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS). I provide educational and child psychology support to children and young people (students), their teachers and family through the school/educational system with direct referrals from the principal. I work within the NEPS model of service which is based on a three-tier continuum of support and response to intervention framework. A large part of my work involves consultation with teachers regarding their teaching practices and the young people they support. I provide teacher training in well-being programmes for students such as the FRIENDS programmes and in social, emotional and behavioural support such as the Incredible Years. I also provide support to teachers in the area of literacy and numeracy, such as the Balanced Approach to Literacy and Effective Interventions for Struggling Readers. NEPS take part in supporting schools in response to critical incidents. I also complete individual casework through assessment and intervention and try to understand how other systems, such as policy, impact the teacher, the young people and their families. I take part in multidisciplinary meetings and engage with other services around the child. I am involved in the supervision of Trainee Educational Psychologists, and I am a member of the Dyslexia Working Group.
What were your reasons for joining the National Educational Psychologist Service (NEPS)?
Before joining NEPS, I completed placements in education, disability and mental health services so I think that I have a range of skills that can support the psychological needs of children. I really enjoy bridging the gap between home and school, being immersed in these two parts of the system around the child. NEPS can work with, influence and support the systems around the child. We get to work with the individual child, their family, school and community, as well as the policy that can impact their school and home life. Not many services can have as wide-ranging reach and impact as NEPS.
What opportunities has this role provided you with?
NEPS has a well developing continuous professional development (CPD) plan. There is a CPD Working Group, and we receive an individual, regional and national allowance to continue upskilling. We also have an Annual Business Meeting, which is similar to a conference, which is an excellent opportunity to meet with other NEPS colleagues and learn from them and reflect on practice. We often receive inputs from international experts.
In NEPS, we have a good network of internal supervision, with supervision being offered individually and more recently in groups. We have a Supervision Working Group, which is a very important part of the development of a Psychologist.
I also enjoy being a part of Working Groups, I am a member of the Dyslexia Working Group. Working Groups are an excellent way of specialising in topics and informing policy review and development.
I also enjoy supervising Trainee Educational Psychologists.
What aspect of your role as a psychologist in the National Educational Psychologist Service (NEPS) do you particularly enjoy?
I enjoy working with children and adolescents, their teachers and parents. I enjoy reflecting on how policy can be improved and trying to influence this. I enjoy meeting students in their school, a place where they might be more comfortable meeting me. I enjoy being in working groups and working with other educational psychologists. There is a supportive team environment.
Would you recommend a career in the National Educational Psychologist Service (NEPS)?
If you want to work in a dynamic and constantly evolving and progressing service that specialises in the provision of educational and child psychology services to children, their families and schools, I would recommend a career in NEPS.