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Volume 2, No. 2




Cite as:
Fox, M. (2016). Editorial. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 1–3. Available at:

Dr Mark Fox
School of Psychology, University of East London
Pages 1–3



Cite as:
Vingerhoets, H., & Wagner, K. (2016). The voice of the child in the Code of Practice. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 4–7. Available at:

Hayley Vingerhoets and Kirsty Wagner
Year-2 Trainee Educational Psychologists, University of East London
Pages 4–7


A key function of educational psychologists is to promote empowering and cultivating learning environments that prepare children and young people for the twenty-first century. This study explores how children may be empowered to learn through the clarification of their daily lived experiences. Learning experiences are examined from the perspective of the children themselves, with a particular emphasis on metaphysical concepts. A listening tool was used to gather data: in-depth stories, experiences, motivations and beliefs about individual learning. Thematic analysis was applied to interviews, further promoting the ‘voice of the child’ and illuminating how children think about their own learning. Autonomy, experience and purpose are examined in the context of how children learn. This research aims to contribute towards the growing body of knowledge about how children learn. The findings may help to inform the work of educational psychologists and enhance the educational experiences of children and young people.

Keywords: voice of the child, listening to children and young people (CYP), empowerment of children and young people, spiritual listening, The Little Box of Big Questions 2 (LBBQ2)

Cite as:
Thorne, L., & Gersch, I. S. (2016). Empowering children to learn: An exploratory study using a philosophical listening tool (The Little Box of Big Questions 2). Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 8–18. Available at:

Lauren Thorne and Professor Irvine Gersch
University of East London
Pages 8–18


Cite as:
Howarth, I. (2016). So I met an EP…? Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 19–24. Available at:   

Dr Imogen Howarth
Specialist Educational Psychologist, Suffolk Psychology and Therapy Services
Pages 19–24


Changes to national legislation in England have resulted in a cultural shift towards ensuring children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities are held at the centre of assessment and planning. The promotion of person-centred approaches within the Code of Practice is a welcome addition to many within the educational community. However, little consideration has been given to how professionals can ensure children and young people are maximally involved within this process. This is of significant concern when considered in the context of research which shows children with additional needs often lack the necessary skills to participate meaningfully in the planning of their educational provision. This article draws upon research in which young people with dyslexia were interviewed about the planning for and outcomes of their transition to secondary school. The implications of this research indicated that self-advocacy skills can be an important element in enabling young people to more competently contribute to transition planning. A range of self-advocacy skills are considered in the context of enabling young people to participate in person-centred planning. Practical ideas are outlined which are aimed at professionals wanting to help young people to develop self-advocacy skills, which could empower them to take a more active role in contributing to planning their support and educational provision.

Keywords: person-centred planning, self-advocacy, dyslexia, transition

Cite as:
Kelly, S. (2016). Can self-advocacy skills support young people to participate in person-centred planning? An example from research involving young people with dyslexia. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(1), 25–30. Available at:

Dr Samuel Kelly
Educational Psychologist, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Pages 25–30


This article highlights my reflections on the process of co-constructing the Psychological Advice component of the Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP). Having completed various pieces of Advice for EHCPs, I set about trying to make my Advice more meaningful. Knowing the young person about whom this article is written, and some of her life experiences, it seemed apt to try an approach where she got to dictate her needs rather than be told them. I set about co-constructing my Psychological Advice with her. As part of this article, I offer things to consider and be mindful of if attempting to work in this way.

Cite as:
Alrai, S. (2016). The king is dead; long live the king: Is it possible to co-construct EP Advice given the ‘new’ Code of Practice? Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 31–36. Available at:

Dr Sarif Alrai
Educational Psychologist, Essex County Council
Pages 31–36


Cite as:
Hussain, N. (2016). My name is Sohail, and I am in year 5 — ‘This is me’: A fictional narrative. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 37–38. Available at:

Nazam Hussain
Educational and Child Psychologist, Bradford Council
Pages 37–38


This article describes the response of an Educational Psychology Service (EPS) to a marked increase in requests from their Local Authority (LA) for statutory advice reports. A working party was developed to consider how educational psychologists (EPs) might write statutory reports for the LA in a time-efficient manner, without compromising the quality of the advice given. The working party met during the 2015–16 academic year, in which the psychological advice format was streamlined, piloted and eventually launched. The article concludes with some reflections on the wider issues that arose from discussions within the working party and, in particular, the impact of increased statutory demands on other aspects of EP practice.

Keywords: education, psychology, special needs, statutory assessment, psychological advice

Cite as:
Crane, J. (2016). Rethinking statutory advice: A working party’s solution. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 39–45. Available at:

Dr Julia Crane
Senior Educational Psychologist, Buckinghamshire County Council; Fieldwork Tutor, University of East London
Pages 39–45

Executive Summary

Psychologists are often in a position to see the effects that social and economic changes have on people. We also occupy a relatively powerful position as professionals and therefore have an ethical responsibility to speak out about these effects.

Key conclusions

Austerity policies have damaging psychological costs. Mental health problems are being created in the present, and further problems are being stored for the future. We have identified five ‘Austerity Ailments’. These are specific ways in which austerity policies impact on mental health:

  1. Humiliation and shame
  2. Fear and distrust
  3. Instability and insecurity
  4. Isolation and loneliness
  5. Being trapped and powerless

These experiences have been shown to increase mental health problems. Prolonged humiliation following a severe loss trebles the chance of being diagnosed with clinical depression. Job insecurity is as damaging for mental health as unemployment. Feeling trapped over the long term nearly trebles the chances of being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Low levels of trust increase the chance of being diagnosed with depression by nearly 50 per cent.

These five ‘ailments’ are indicators of problems in society, of poisonous public policy, weakness of social cohesion and inequalities in power and wealth. We also know what kind of society promotes good health. Key markers are that societies are equal, participatory and cohesive. Some important indicators of a psychologically healthy society are:

  1. Agency
  2. Security
  3. Connection
  4. Meaning
  5. Trust

Mental health is not just an individual issue. To create resilience and promote wellbeing, we need to look at the entirety of the social and economic conditions in which people live.


  • Social policy should work towards a more equitable and participatory society, to facilitate individual wellbeing, resilient places and strong communities.
  • It is crucial that policy makers and service developers consider the psychological impacts of current and future policies.
  • Creating the conditions for wellbeing and resilience directly helps to prevent distress in the short and long term, both saving resources and reducing suffering.

Cite as:
McGrath, L., Griffin, V., Mundy, E., Curno, T., Weerasinghe, D., & Zlotowitz, S. (2016). The psychological impact of austerity:  A briefing paper. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 46–57. Available at:

Dr Laura McGrath, Dr Vanessa Griffin and Ed Mundy
with contributions from Tamsin Curno, Dr Dilanthi Weerasinghe and Dr Sally Zlotowitz
Pages 46–57


The three key principles which underpin the Code of Practice have been highlighted by a number of authors in this edition. We must have regard to:

  • the views, wishes and feelings of the child or young person and their parents;
  • the importance of the child or young person and their parents participating as fully as possible in decisions and being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions;
  • the need to support the child or young person and to help them achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes, preparing them effectively for adulthood.

SEND Code of Practice 2014, p. 8.)

These principles clearly lay out the EPs’ responsibilities in terms of listening to the child and ensuring that they have a voice as regards their SENs. These principles not only apply to EPs but to all those who are involved in the construction of the Education Health and Care Plans. The importance of involving children and young people in the assessment process has been advocated by EPs for many years (Gersch 1996). More recently, EPs have written about the importance of Person Centred planning (Sutcliffe & Birney 2014). Buck (2015) has highlighted the opportunity for EPs to reconstruct psychological reports with the new Code, though his particular focus is not on the representation of the child’s views. The purpose of this paper is to present a model which would allow EPs to develop their practice in ensuring the child’s voice is represented in their EHC Plans.

The origins of this article came from reading and analysing 21 Psychological Advices written by trainee EPs (TEPs) on their final year- three placement. These reports came from sixteen different services in London and the South East of England. All these reports had been anonymised before analysis and had been part of the audit of TEPs’ placement portfolios.

Analysis of these reports and reflections on the other articles in this journal were the basis for conceptualising a pyramid of representation. This pyramid was also stimulated by Hart’s (1992) Ladder of Participation (see Vingerhoets and Wagner in this issue). Hart’s ladder helps professionals think how they can move upwards, to ensure that professionals move beyond seeing service users’ involvement as tokenism and into actual participation. However, movement in this pyramid is conceptualised as downwards, to where there is a wider base and a solid foundation for understanding the child and young person.

Cite as:
Fox, M. (2016). The pyramid of participation: The representation of the child’s voice in psychological advice. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 58–66. Available at:

Dr Mark Fox
University of East London
Pages 58–66


Book Reviews

Cite as:
Clark, I. (2016). Systematic approaches to a successful literature review. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 67–68. Available at:

Ian Clark
Psychology Subject Area Librarian, University of East London
Pages 67–68


Cite as:
Kelly, M. (2016). The human advantage: A new understanding of how our brain became remarkable. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 69. Available at:

Mike Kelly
Senior Specialist EP (Autism Spectrum), Essex EPS
Page 69


Cite as:
Wilson, J. (2016). Educating children and young people in care: Learning placements and caring schools. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 70. Available at:

Dr Joe Wilson
Leeds City Council Educational Psychology Service/Leeds Trinity University
Page 70



Cite as:
Edmonds, C. (2016). Parents’ resources. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 2(2), 71–72. Available at:

Casey Edmonds
PhD Researcher and Parent, University of East London
Pages 71–72