Educational Psychology Service

We work with children, parents, schools, pre-school providers, other education settings and health and care agencies to apply the principles of the SEN Code of Practice to help children and young people to improve their learning and to achieve the best they can in life and promote the inclusion of all children and young people in the life of their school and in the local community.

Welcome to Doncaster!

Being inclusive!

Doncaster EPS believe that this is the reason we are here! In terms of inclusion, we practice what we preach:

  • We are welcoming of members who may have additional needs or disabilities and will adapt our practice to suit those individuals.
  • We have a focus on disability rights and ensuring our colleagues and co-workers adhere to the legislation that supports children and young people (CYP) and colleagues with disability.
  • We expect you to advocate for inclusive practices and to be critical of practice which could be described as medicalised or deficit based.

Being supportive!

We are a small close and well connected team:

  • We value and respect each other’s contributions to our practice.
  • We support each other through group supervision and providing containment and we will provide this to you as well.
  • We feel is important to keep strong relationships between not only ourselves but the wider team and agencies that we work with: we view this as an essential skill of an EP, i.e., to build and maintain these positive working relationships. We expect you to do the same.

Being holistic!

We view CYP as a whole and as a person first:

  • During consultations we consider the CYP’s whole life and circumstances (e.g. environment, relationships, culture, disability and learning needs).
  • We work in our Pyramid Planning Meetings (PPMs) alongside other teams so that we are connecting with teams across agencies ensuring the best outcomes for CYP are reached.
  • We expect you to use reflective practice in order to consider the CYP as a whole and to use person centred approaches when working within our team and to work in a multiagency fashion.

Being consultants!

We work within a consultation model.  There are many forms of consultation:

  • We will help you develop the way that works for you.
  • We encourage EPS members to use solution focused approaches within their consultations to help move solutions forward.
  • We take the view that the school or the setting is the problem holder and we are there to assist in a systemic and individual level through the use of consultation.
  • We expect you to work largely within a consultation model, however, we use assessments where the EPS member deems it appropriate (e.g. Observational Assessment, Developmental Assessment, Neuropsychological Assessment, Dynamic Assessment, Psychometric Assessment,). There is a Local Authority EPS policy around the use of assessments available for further information.
  • We also seek CYP and Parent/Carer’s (the term ‘Parent’ will be used in this document to reflect both types of caregiver) views where ever possible taking care to consider the best way of seeking these views.

We are committed to providing you with the breadth of experiences you need to meet your university competencies.

Being advocates!

In our day to day work we advocate for CYP with SEN and Disabilities right to be educated and included:

  • We advocate for our team and employer. We feel it is important to represent the pupils in our settings and be their ‘voice’ when needed in terms of having their needs met.
  • We encourage these settings to hold high but realistic expectations of the all CYP and work alongside them with the CYP’s outcomes at the heart of what we do.
  • We encourage CYP to contribute to their own assessments, planning for their futures and their outcomes. We expect you to also advocate for CYP and their right to be included in education and society.

Being proactive!

We regularly share creative solutions to ensure our team runs as efficiently and effectively as possible:

  • We are an ambitious and dynamic team who have a range of varied experiences to bring to our practice.
  • We have a focus on prevention through the use of the Graduated Approach outlined in the Special Educational Needs and Disability: Code of Practice.
  • We provide traded training to settings and engage in systemic area based working across provisions. We encourage you to bring with you your prior experiences and expertise; your contributions will be met with respect and interest.

Being assertive!

Sometimes we have to have challenging conversations, a skill essential to the Educational Psychologist (EP) role:

  • We expect you to ask for support when needed and come forward, share your ideas an observation with the team and others.
  • We would support you to develop these skills have challenging conversations with colleagues.
  • We expect you to ask for support or advice and to share experiences within settings; positive and negative.

Being flexible!

We work under different conditions and in different scenarios, e.g., across different schools and provisions, attending panels, multiagency meetings and 1:1. This means being flexible in your approach.

  • We expect you to do the same and to reflect on your practice and be able to adapt it if necessary. From a practical perspective we are able to provide flexible working, this includes working from home, in family hubs within the locality or within schools. As a team we also evaluate our approaches and are willing to act on feedback to develop over time.

How we work!

Pyramid Planning Meetings

Here at Doncaster we work within consultation model, we are a relatively small service and to work effectively we hold Pyramid Planning Meetings (PPMs). These take place across 4 Areas (North, South, East and Central). There are PPMs each half term for each Pyramid.  A Pyramid is the secondary school/s and all of its primary feeders*. Each Area is covered by a main EP and a supporting EP.  Work is shared between them and Assistant Educational Psychologists (AsEP), as appropriate. Also attending these meeting are colleagues from the Autism Social Communication Education and Training Service (ASCETS), Behavioural Outreach Support Service (BOSS) and Special Educational Needs Officers (SENDOs) but there can be colleagues from other services attending, eg, Speech and Language Therapy (SALT), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Locality Worker (LW).  School SENDCos are expected to attend the meeting which is held at a volunteer host school in the Pyramid. If the SENDCo is unable to attend, a representative from their school should attend in their place (eg, Inclusion Manager, Deputy Head or Headteacher).

At the meeting, anonymous cases that are of the greatest concern to the school are discussed.  School is expected to bring appropriate documents about the CYP:  Their Special Educational Needs Support Plan (SEN Support Plan) which should contain evidence of what is working and not working, Provision Map, One Page Profile, data on attainment, attendance and, if appropriate, exclusions, plus, and any further appropriate information, eg, medical reports).  Collectively, possible solutions are proposed with opportunity for neighbouring schools to share good practice, resources and, even, to provide training. Where appropriate one (or more) of the agencies at the meeting may become involved (if they’re not already), e.g.:

  • If the CYP has a Social, Emotional, Mental Health (SEMH) need BOSS can become involved
  • If they have Speech, Language, Communication Need (SLCN), e.g., Social Communication Difficulties (SCD), Autism/Autistic Spectrum Condition/Disorder (ASC/D) then ASCETS would provide support.

It could be that the CYP may need the support of an agency not at the meeting, e.g.:

  • If the CYP has speech and language difficulties, school may seek the support of SALT (NB: From September, 2019, SALT have supplied schools with packs to help them address basic needs in these areas. If concerns persist then they can contact them).
  • If the CYP presents with mental health concerns then school may wish to seek support from the CAMHS LW
  • If there appears to be concerns with parenting school may wish to seek support for the family from Family Support Services. There are other family support agencies such as the Domestic Violence Team, where appropriate.  Some Area Localities have family support agencies specific to their area.

At the meeting we also discuss what the school may need on a whole school or group level, any interventions or training they may need from our services in order to work in a preventative manner.

At the end of the meeting all parties will have made dates with the schools to complete work across the term and the next meeting date will be set at a convenient time and date.

Consultation Surgeries and Parental Consent

If the school can demonstrate they have followed the Graduated Approach and have received involvement from, appropriate, external service/s (and are in agreement with the school) then the school may need to support of the EP.  Such cases can be discussed in greater depth at the monthly Consultation Surgeries (CS).  These Surgeries take place in each Pyramid at a host school where schools book an hour’s slot in advance (typically at the PPMs).  Also at the CSs schools have the opportunity to discuss they didn’t have the chance to discuss, or weren’t deemed to be complex enough, at the PPMs.  These are discussed anonymously, however, the case/s which are to be discussed from the PPM will need to have parental consent provided before the CS.  There are specific EPS parental consent and privacy forms for parents to complete and sign.  Schools countersign, scan and email to the relevant EP who will save it on the CYP’s e-file on our database (EDM).  TEPs need to be mindful of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and must complete on-line training as part of their induction.

At the CSs, the EPS members will decide if they need to conduct further assessment, eg, attendance at an Assess-Plan-Do-Review (ADPR) as part of an Initial Consultation (IC), observation, structured assessment.  If the school has followed the Graduated Approach and consider the case may need to be referred to Statutory Assessment (with parental agreement) then the EP would become involved.  However, it is expected most cases can be supported through consultation with the EP applying psychology to problem solve as the facilitator of the PPM and CSs.

Statutory Assessment

Statutory work is part is an essential part of our core offer of support to settings, generally speaking, the EP for the Area will complete the Statutory advice. The SEND CoP stipulates the Advice must be completed within 6 weeks.  In Doncaster, we aim for 5 weeks as a guiding deadline so that it leaves time for Trainee Educational Psychologists’ (TEPs) reports to be checked and signed off by a qualified member of staff (usually your Supervisor).

Traded Services

We are a partially traded service. For us, this means that we do not trade core work, however, we do trade training through Buy Doncaster. We began trading our training in the academic year 2017/18.  We provide varied packages of traded training for settings and all of the courses can be found on the BuyDoncaster website. Examples of training we have run include Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) programme, SENDCo 101 and Restorative Practice. If you would like to contribute to the training or be an observer for your own Continuing Professional Development (CPD)/competencies your Supervisor will be able to arrange this for you.

Other examples of working with other agencies

EPS hold representation on several panels including SEND Panel.  There is a list of dates which EPS members sign up for so that the role is shared fairly. You can shadow a member of the EPS until you feel confident to represent EPS on the SEND Panel.

We also meet with our Early Years colleagues to plan alongside them within the Locality Areas. Our Special Schools are supported together by an EP and our Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) or Short Stay Schools (SSS) are supported by the Senior Educational Psychologist (SEP) for SEMH.  For the latter, where CYP are on dual role it is the EP for the mainstream school who works with the settings.  

We have two SEPs): One who supports with Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) and the other for Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC).  TEPs are encouraged to observe them at work, e.g., the SEP for ASC at the Social Communication Difficulties (SCD) Assessment Pathway Panel; the SEP for SEMH at the Inclusion Panel and being involved in the Mental Health Trailblazer project.

The majority of the members of EPS are trained in the FRIENDS Programme and can deliver this in schools.

This Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA) co-ordinator regularly meets with ELSA Co-ordinators in the region and is a member of the national Steering Group.  All members of the EPS contribute to training.  TEPs are also encouraged to co-host and to shadow ELSA supervision sessions.

*In Doncaster we have 5 and soon to be 6 specialist schools; we also have two Secondary Free School with two sites, these take pupils from across the borough but they attend the PPM in Central Area.


Further information

Last updated: 26 May 2020 16:30:45