School of Psychology, University of East London
For many years educational and school psychologists from all over the world have emphasised the importance of consultation as a key approach to delivering effective services. However, there is a considerable body of literature indicating that the approach has not been widely adopted by educational psychologists in the UK and elsewhere. This paper considers some interconnected factors that might explain why educational psychologists may be reluctant to wholeheartedly embrace this approach. First, it considers the possibility that educational psychologists, who may claim to work in a ‘traditional’ way, are in fact using consultation regularly in their everyday practice, although not in the way that it is often defined in the literature. Second, the influence of the history of the profession, in which educational psychologists were described as being experts in psychometric assessment, may be acting as a barrier to adopting alternative practices. Third, unintentionally perhaps, the efforts of professional associations to promote educational and school psychology may reinforce the importance of maintaining traditional practices based on individual psychometric assessments of children thought to have special educational needs and disabilities. Finally the paper discusses the skills and competencies needed to work effectively as a school-based consultant and suggests that these pose particular challenges to new entrants to the profession who wish to work in this way. The paper concludes by suggesting that debates about the relative importance of individual work versus consultation present a false dichotomy. Both roles are central to the delivery of effective psychological services. Educational psychologists need to have the necessary skills and confidence in all areas of professional practice, being able to strike the right balance between the two approaches and sensitive to the situations where each is likely to be effective in dealing with the range of problems with which they are presented.
Farrell, P., & Woods, K. (2015). Reflections on the role of consultation in the delivery of effective educational psychology services. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 1(1), 2–9. https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8856w
Professors Peter Farrell and Kevin Woods
Manchester Institute of Education
This paper reviews educational psychology practice and strengths-based interventions in the UK. An historical and contextual overview of the development of positive psychology and strengths-based interventions is outlined. The interventions used with children and young people are introduced. In order to evaluate their effectiveness, a presentation of the evidence base includes a review of the recent literature and a critical evaluation of the findings. Based on the conclusions, recommendations for professionals are drawn and future directions are proposed to inform professional practice with children and young people.
Chatzinikolaou, R. (2015). How can strength-based interventions be useful for educational psychologists working with children and young people? Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 1(1), 10–16. https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8856x
Dr Rodanthi Chatzinikolaou
London Borough of Hounslow
There are two significant components of the three-year full-time doctoral programme required to train as an educational psychologist (EP) in England. These are the university-based academic component and the educational psychology (EP) service-based practice component. The purpose of this paper is to outline the ‘psychological contract’ to help understand the psychology of starting the bursary placement in the second year of the programme. Establishing the psychological contract is a concept that comes from organisational psychology to explain the dilemmas that face anyone starting a new job. Essentially it suggests that employees go through three stages of adaptation before they reach ‘nirvana’ – where there is mutual acceptance between the trainee educational psychologist (TEP) and the EP service. Strategies for moving through the three stages are outlined based on practical examples from trainees. Establishing the psychological contract is particularly relevant for understanding the psychological tasks that face a TEP starting their placement.
Fox, M. (2015). Developing as a trainee educational psychologist: Establishing the psychological contract. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 1(1), 17–22. https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8856z
Dr Mark Fox
University of East London
This paper explores the importance of theoretical and practice frameworks in educational psychologists’ work. It focuses on the effective psychological assessment of young children (aged three to five) who seem unsettled, different, or to be struggling with school routines and requirements. The challenges of meeting the assessment and intervention needs of this complex and heterogeneous group are explored. Woolfson et al.’s (2003) Integrated Framework is proposed as potentially useful to encourage cross-stakeholder collaboration, to structure the assessment process, and to encourage shifts in meaning. The practicalities and challenges of its application are discussed.
Wood, J. (2015). Best practice in the psychological assessment of early years children with differences. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 1(1), 23–29. https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.88570
University of East London
This paper explores the utility of Foucauldian-informed thinking, methodology and analysis as part of educational and child psychology professional doctorate research. It is based on the experience of a researcher who undertook mixed-methods emancipatory and exploratory research with 14 children (11–15 years old) attending pupil referral units (PRUs) in one local authority setting. The researcher was interested in the label ‘behavioural, emotional and social difficulties’ (BESD),1 exclusions and PRUs and, importantly, how the characteristics and constructions of children attending PRUs were made possible through historical, social and political influences and practices.
Browne, L. (2015). Educational and child psychology research using a Foucauldian-informed approach and analysis. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 1(1), 30–41. https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.88571
Dr Lucy Browne
Social Emotional Behavioural Difficulties Association (SEBDA)
Dr Jeremy Monsen
Tri-borough Principal Educational Psychologist
Tri-borough Educational Psychology Service (Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster)
Team Leader/Senior Educational Psychologist, Early Help Service, London Borough of Southwark