An Introduction to an Educational Psychologist
What is an Educational Psychologist?
Psychology is the science of understanding our minds and behaviours. An educational psychologist (EP) can help in understanding a child’s learning, development and behaviour in relation to their education. This includes cognitive, social and emotional processes that are important for learning. An EP uses knowledge of child development and psychological theories to identify reasons why a child may be having difficulty. Recommendations are then made for interventions and support that can help the child make progress. EPs can also offer training, consultancy and group work services.
How long have you been one and why did you become one?
I’ve been an EP for over 10 years. I remember as a teenager thinking about what I would like to do for my future career. I knew I wanted to work with children and help them in some way. At university, I was selected for a programme that linked students with professionals in different fields. I was mentored by an educational psychologist and this helped me decide that I wanted to enter the profession myself.
What is the best thing about what you do?
I enjoy the problem solving aspect of the job, meeting different people and visiting various types of educational provision. Every child I work with is unique so the work is always interesting, often leading me to read up on new research in different fields of psychology, cognition and learning. Most of all I love being able to help a child, and the adults in their life, understand their strengths and difficulties. Understanding is incredibly powerful and so important for being able to plan how best to help a child make progress and positive changes.
Why do parents contact you?
All sorts of reasons. Some cases are straightforward, and parents want to know whether their child has a specific learning difficulty, like dyslexia. Other cases are complex, and parents are seeking help to understand their child’s learning, social interactions and/or behaviours. All parents request advice for strategies and interventions that can help their child. Some also use the report to evidence a request for an Education, Health and Care Plan assessment.
What does the day in the life of an Educational Psychologist look like?
Every EP works differently. For me, my day may be split over a couple of mornings/evenings. Typically, I would spend a morning assessing a child. Then half a day to a whole day writing the report. I also observe some children at their nursery, school or college to gain further insight into their educational experiences. There’s always phone calls and emails to respond to. Plus, all EPs must undertake CPD, so some time each week is spent reading to update my knowledge of research relevant to my work, attending courses, or engaging in CPD discussions with colleagues.
Many many thanks to Hannah a lovely Educational Psychologist and Independent Practitioner for sharing her time and expertise. Should you wish to contact Hannah feel free to use these links:
For further aids to bridge the gap between home and school take a look here: