How to access the Educational Psychology Service
The local authority funds the service for a range of high-priority and statutory activities as part of the Education, health and care needs assessment process. These activities are delivered without additional cost to state-funded schools in Northamptonshire. This constitutes the Local Offer from the service.
Educational Psychology Services:
- Educational Psychology Service (EPS)
- Targeted Mental Health in Schools Programme (TaMHS)
- Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) training and supervision
The provision of an educational psychology service (EPS) is a statutory function for local authorities and supports the local authority to discharge a range of its statutory responsibilities.
The EPS provides a targeted and specialist service for and to children and young people experiencing barriers to their education and development, through direct work and through supporting their families and key professionals. These barriers include difficulties in:
- cognition and learning
- physical, medical and sensory needs
- communication and interaction
- social, emotional and mental health difficulties
It supports the council’s core purpose by helping those who are struggling to help themselves, particularly through specialist interventions with children, young people and families, as well as through helping people to help themselves, through advice and consultation.
The EPS is provided on both a commissioned and core-funded basis. The EPS core activities are part of the council’s Local Offer. Several priorities are identified and refreshed each year. The commissioned activities of the EPS provide a key component in early intervention and school development and training. The majority of our commissioned work is from schools - some of it is commissioned by other sections within the council, such as children’s social care or Public Health.
Recent commissioned work has focused on upskilling Health and Social Care staff in the theory and practice of Emotion Coaching - supporting children, young people and adults to recognise and understand the emotions behind our responses and how to handle them. It promoted a relational approach to thinking about children and young people’s behaviour.
For those children, young people and adults undergoing a statutory Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment, the council requests the EPS provide Psychological Advice. Where the demand for this work exceeds the capacity of the service to deliver, the council commissions psychological assessments from other approved providers.
The EPS welcomes requests for involvement from other sections of the local authority and from health authorities, who will need to commission this support from the EP Service.
Following a traumatic incident, the EPS provides support and advice to schools and early years settings in the immediate aftermath (such as for incidents including death or serious injury of a member of the school community - parent, pupil, or staff).
- guiding schools / other educational settings regarding managing the impact of psychological wellbeing and recovery of the school community, in respect of the particular event and situation
- being a critical friend to the educational setting’s senior leadership team regarding the plans they are making for communication and support to their school community
- identifying and providing the most relevant resource materials from EPS resources or from other organisations to help work through our resources on the School emergency plans and procedures
- providing psychoeducation through spoken and written resources to education setting staff to use themselves and some to pass on to children, young people and parents
- providing direct support to staff who are particularly affected – providing immediate emotional containment, and helping them to identify coping strategies and their own network of support in both work and personal aspects of life
Early years work
The EPS offer for early years work is as follows.
An opportunity for carers and practitioners of 2 to 3-year-olds whose behaviour expresses an emotional need to engage in an emotional wellbeing project with a relational emphasis over several sessions. Requests for the project are considered by the specialist senior educational psychologist for early years for those children who have not met the criteria for Specialist SEND Service involvement when discussed at Panel.
For early years Children in Care to the local authority, the EPS provides consultation support for early years setting staff and carers to advise upon the child’s engagement in the setting and/or to aid planning for school transition. Such cases are requested via the Virtual School direct to the specialist senior educational psychologist for early years, usually as a result of agreement at the child’s Personal Education Plan meeting.
Commissioned work from educational settings for early years children and their families, this could include direct assessment and intervention work, such as Video Interaction Guidance. This work is accessed via a service level agreement.
Commissioned work is available as follows.
For early intervention, staff training and capacity building and preventative work, the council has retained capacity within the EPS that is available through a consultation approach to be commissioned by schools and other providers, including:
- systemic or capacity-building support through training and development
- individual assessment and intervention for children who have emergent needs, presenting with complexity and severity
- interventions with children at the whole-class level or in pupil groups
These interventions use a variety of evidence-based approaches appropriate to the context and assessment information. Dependent on the work involved, they are provided by qualified educational psychologists or by assistant educational psychologists who provide a variety of interventions focused on children with social, emotional and mental health needs, including supporting the transfer between primary and secondary schools.
Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS)
The Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) programme is an additional priority supported by the local authority which is run jointly by North and West Northamptonshire EPSs. TaMHS supports the early intervention/prevention agenda to enable schools to maximise their capacity to promote and support children and young people’s mental health and to intervene where mental health difficulties emerge. TaMHS provides centrally-organised core-funded training to schools and partner agencies.
In addition, schools can commission bespoke training and a full consultation process to support the matching of the needs of their school community with in-school provision. The full process involves audit, action planning, consultation, training, evaluation and review. Finally, to recognise and celebrate each school's work to meet children’s mental health, TaMHS offers a core funded accreditation process for schools to be deemed Mentally Healthy Schools at Bronze, Silver or Gold levels.
Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)
Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) training and supervision - are provided jointly by North and West Northamptonshire EPSs. The ELSA programme is a preventative capacity-building development programme for Teaching Assistants working in primary and secondary schools. The training aspect is funded by the local authority, with schools required to commission the ongoing supervision by educational psychologists.
Northamptonshire Baby Room Project
Northamptonshire Baby Room Project aims to raise the quality of babies’ experiences by strengthening the relationships between practitioners and babies, and parents and their babies. The project is led by the West Northamptonshire EPS for more information please visit the Northamptonshire Baby Room Project website.
Definition of terms
- EPS practitioners - this includes all members of the EPS providing a service - Psychology Assistants, Trainee Educational Psychologists, Educational Psychologists, Specialist Senior Educational Psychologists, Senior Educational Psychologists, and Principal Educational Psychologist
- EPS Senior Managers - the Senior Management Team of the Educational Psychology Service (the Principal and Senior Educational Psychologists).
- Organisation - this refers to the schools, settings or services that are commissioning the EPS
- Educational Psychology Service or EPS - this is the West Northamptonshire Council Educational Psychology Service
- Organisation Senior Staff - this refers to the relevant managers within organisations able to commission services
- The Service Level Agreement (SLA) - this agreement
- Service - this means those activities described below
- The Educational Psychologist’s professional judgement - this refers to the professional judgement of the Educational Psychologist applied in relation to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulations and core principles, standards of conduct, performance and ethics
Nature of SLA
This SLA describes the level and type of service that will be provided to the commissioning organisation between the dates specified on their online request form (i.e. an academic year).
The service will be provided by the West Northamptonshire EPS, who will be responsible for the clinical supervision and quality standards of their practitioners.
EPS practitioners may include Trainee Educational Psychologists supervised by a named Educational Psychologist.
All organisations will need to commit to funding by 1 June and will have their service prioritised within the academic year starting 1 September. Requests made later in the academic year will only be accepted if staffing is available.
The pricing for EP services will be secure for the duration of the agreement.
Where organisations work together as a consortium or cluster, a lead manager or Headteacher should be identified as responsible for negotiating and agreeing on the commission.
Essential criteria for service delivery
The child or young person is within the age range of birth to 25 years and, if of statutory school-age or above, is on roll at a school or college. Commissions will be taken only from organisations and not from individual citizens, including those acting on their own behalf.
The Educational Psychologist’s professional judgement will be used to consider all requests; agreement for service delivery is through negotiation between the commissioning Organisation and the EPS, with reference to the EPS’ core principles and priorities.
EPS practitioner involvement with individual children and young people requires informed and signed consent either from those with parental responsibility or from the young person, as appropriate (please refer to the online request for support form guidance). Working with those in the care of a local authority requires signed consent from the Social Worker.
Commissions will not be accepted from parents, either directly or indirectly via an organisation. Any parental requests for commissioned work will be redirected to the website of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and/or the British Psychological Society (BPS). These sites provide registers of private practitioners.
Parents are advised to discuss their concerns with their child’s school before seeking any commissioned work, to ensure that this would not be more appropriately commissioned by their child’s school or other education setting.
The EPS cannot accept requests for involvement from schools that pass on the costs of the commission to parents or carers.
Current local authority priorities for the EPS
The Local Authority (LA) has agreed on an SLA with the EPS for a range of priorities, funded centrally. Access to this support is exclusively through LA officers.
- children for whom the LA requests statutory psychological advice
- participation in first-tier tribunals and other legal functions requiring formal SEND expertise
- first day responses to critical incidents
- support to West Northamptonshire pupils placed in out-authority, independent special schools at risk of placement breakdown
- contributions to decision-making for High Needs Block funding and other panels, as requested by the LA
- requests from the LA regarding consultation and/or assessment of children in care who are not on the roll of an educational setting.
- children referred by the LA through the early years panel (specialist support service panel) meeting local criteria for involvement
- other work as directed by the LA
Work requested by schools and other settings (including training and development and child assessment work: including for Children in Care), will require commissioning by schools, settings and other organisations.
Nature of service provided through commissioning
The service will constitute the activities set out in this section. EPS support will be made available for a range of work aimed at promoting inclusion, psychological well-being and raising standards across the full range of ages and abilities. West Northamptonshire EPS promotes a consultation-based service delivery model.
The focus of the work may be at any or all of the following levels:
- individual level
- group and class level
- strategic systems
- organisational level
At the individual level, EPS practitioners will be able to:
- provide consultation, psychological assessment, interventions (including therapeutic interventions) and recommendations for individual children and young people
- provide psychological interventions and advice that focus on narrowing gaps in attainment and improving academic progress at the individual level
- provide psychological interventions with families as part of their work with individual children
- contribute towards multi-agency meetings about children and young people, as appropriate
At the group and whole class level, EPS practitioners will be able to deliver services that:
- provide psychological interventions aimed at developing particular skills for small groups of children and young people (e.g. social skills, emotional regulation, managing anxiety and thinking skills)
- provide psychological interventions and advice that focuses on narrowing gaps in attainment and improving academic progress (e.g. study skills, literacy and numeracy attainment, memory skills or understanding)
- provide support to small groups of staff in managing a particular issue (e.g. bullying)
- provide parent and carer workshops and programmes in schools or other suitable settings (e.g. training for foster carers and prospective adoptive parents on attachment and promoting resilience)
- provide professional supervision and/or coaching to staff in schools and settings regarding individual, group or whole-class issues
- provide professional supervision and/or coaching for staff working in the Children’s Trust or other LA services for service-related issues
- provide joint problem-solving, solution-focused consultation at the individual, group and systems levels, including to staff and senior management groups
At the strategic, systems and organisational levels, the EPS practitioner will be able to:
- provide psychological support for schools in developing strategies and systems around whole-school matters (e.g. policy development) - this may include advice and recommendations concerning current Ofsted inspection requirements
- provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for staff on a wide range of topics with a psychological, learning and child development basis
- provide support for and/or deliver project development and research work (e.g. around transitions; evaluating interventions; participation in school development work)
- provide professional supervision and/or coaching to staff (including Headteachers and senior teachers, specialist staff such as SENDCos and staff in designated roles for safeguarding, Children in Care and mental health) regarding strategic, systemic and/or organisational issues
EPS responsibilities and service delivery
The EPS has a duty to ensure that assessment and intervention practice is compliant with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) standards of conduct, performance and ethics.
This information is available on the Health and Care Professions Council (HSPC) website.
As LA employees, the EPS management will ensure that all practitioners have successfully undergone all necessary pre-employment checks. West Northamptonshire EPS is a Safer Recruitment organisation, and all staff will:
- be appropriately qualified for the work undertaken
- have received enhanced DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) disclosures, as required, appropriate for regulated activities, including regular contact and unsupervised working with vulnerable children and adults and those who work with them
- have and will display for inspection their Council employer’s photo-ID badge
- be fully covered by the Council’s insurance for this work
- have undertaken mandatory training for working with children and adults; including Safeguarding and data protection
The EPS operates within the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Partnership safeguarding procedures and will take actions, when required, in accordance with these procedures.
The EPS practitioner providing the service may not be the school’s named link Educational Psychologist; the EPS reserves the right to identify the Educational Psychologist most appropriate for the delivery of the commission.
All work carried out as part of the commission will be chargeable. This includes the writing of reports and/or consultation records and all other case-related record-keeping, research, scoring and other activities integral to the service commissioned, much of which will be completed off-site, including during school holiday periods, when necessary.
Multi-agency or professional liaison time and contact with parents or carers (including telephone consultation, liaison and home visits, where required), will be included as part of the time bought by the Organisation, including when delivered off-site.
Work may be carried out face-to-face or virtually in negotiation between the EP practitioner and the Organisation. Where work is carried out virtually the EP practitioner will discuss expectations for virtual working such as using a secure connection, etiquette and safe practice.
EPS practices must be in agreement with the advice to EP practitioners from their professional organisations. All EPS staff visiting schools, settings and homes, if deemed appropriate according to EPS Risk Assessment, will wear Personal Protective Equipment and follow social distancing and hygiene measures in line with government and local authority guidance at the time .
EPS staff will follow the requirements set out in Risk Assessments for the Organisation when visiting. Some EP practitioners may hold their own Individual Risk Assessment due to their specific needs and these must be shared with school or setting staff before a visit.
The Service will be planned and negotiated in consultation with the relevant senior staff of the Organisation.
8. Arrangements for circulation, recording and storage of records and documents
EP practitioners aim to produce written reports, records of consultation and action plans within four weeks of their final contact, except when this is otherwise agreed with the commissioner.
Reports about individual children and young people will be sent by e-mail when
appropriately protected through the ‘egress system’, and/or letter post to both the commissioning school and those named in the Request for Support as having parental responsibility. It will be the responsibility of the Organisation to notify the EPS of the address(es) of all those with parental responsibility to whom the report should be sent.
For children and young people attending early years’ settings, and state-funded education establishments in West Northamptonshire, the storage of records and documents will be organised through the usual EPS processes in accordance with LA and EPS policies. All documents stored are subject to access under the Data Protection Act requirements and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They should be considered open to scrutiny by the subject of the file or those with parental responsibility.
Handwritten notes are securely destroyed once their essence has been incorporated into more formal typed reports. For the purposes of the GDPR, the EPS is a Professional Provider and consequently, the LA (as EPS employer) is a joint data controller with the school or setting. Data retention within the EPS would be aligned with the requirements of the LA.
For independent schools within West Northamptonshire and other organisations outside of West Northamptonshire, reports will be sent to those identified as having parental responsibility and the commissioning organisation. For young people of 18 years and older, the report will be sent to the young person and the Organisation.
For all children and young people who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) maintained by West Northamptonshire Council, records will be held following the usual EPS processes in accordance with Council and EPS policies.
9. Management, monitoring and review arrangements
The SLA will be monitored and evaluated on an annual basis through consultation between the Organisation and the EPS. This may include information gained through questionnaires and/or discussions between Organisations and EPS practitioners.
10. Absence liability (including sickness and holidays)
The professional context is that there is a national shortage of Educational Psychologists. Recruitment and covering for absent colleagues are very challenging and EPS capacity may run below the levels hoped for at certain times (such as following the departure from the service of an EP). Nevertheless, service capacity is under continual review and every effort is made to provide the levels of service requested.
Depending upon the Service agreed upon, EPS practitioners are available to provide support throughout the calendar year, by agreement with the commissioning organisation.
The EPS will endeavour to cover any short-term EPS practitioner absences. Longer-term absences may have to be reflected in a reduction in charges or support unless other cover arrangements can be identified by the EPS.
The EPS will use reasonable endeavours to make up time ‘lost’ by adverse weather or circumstances beyond its control.
Should the Organisation cancel an EPS appointment at short notice (less than 48 hours) then there will be a 50% charge of the cost allocated for that appointment. For postponed appointments, while the EPS will arrange another appointment, this cannot be guaranteed to be within the same school term. Postponed appointments will not incur any penalty charges.
In the case of training being cancelled by the EPS, it shall be at the sole discretion of the EPS either to provide an alternative date for the training or to provide a full refund.
11. Responsibilities of schools and settings
To make the most efficient use of EP commissioned time the Organisation shall:
- identify a senior member or members of staff for consultation, liaison and planning of EPS work and activities
- work with the EPS in arranging face-to-face and/or virtual appointments and in promoting pupil and parent and carer attendance
- liaise with parents and carers to ensure that all those with parental responsibility have given consent to the involvement of the EPS practitioner - please refer to the online request for support guidance and consent form
- ensure appropriate access to children and young people and staff for interview and observation
- ensure the EPS is informed of pupil absence, including as soon as possible on the day of the absence
- provide an appropriate safe quiet space for the EPS practitioner to work, including individual work with the pupil and for family meetings, when required
- provide access to relevant records
- gather data to support collaborative assessment, as required
- ensure that all staff commissioned independently of the LA have successfully undergone all required pre-employment checks, including that they are appropriately qualified, and that their professional development has been maintained so that they are capable of assessing and responding to any risks identified in the course of their work, and that they carry full professional indemnity
12. General service arrangements
If the Organisation is unhappy with any aspect of the Services provided by the EPS, discussions should occur with the EPS practitioner in the first instance. If the discussion with the EPS practitioner does not resolve the matter, then the issue should be referred to the EPS practitioner’s line manager, usually, the Senior Educational Psychologist for the area (see below), who may convene a three-way meeting to try and resolve the concern.
This will occur within the LA’s policies and procedures. If the intervention of the Senior Educational Psychologist does not resolve the matter, then the commissioner may escalate their concern to the Principal Educational Psychologist.
Schools will be invoiced regularly following service delivery at a minimum of 3 times per year. The final invoice of the financial year may include a prospective element based on estimates of service delivery during March. Any discrepancies will be rebalanced through the next invoice period, or by individual negotiation with the Organisation.
If you need to contact the West Northamptonshire Educational Psychology Service please email us at [email protected].
West Northamptonshire Council
Educational Psychology Service
One Angel Square
Commissioning support directly: Service Level Agreements
Schools and settings can commission support directly from the educational psychology service using a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Service Level Agreement date
Please see below for the date by which an SLA should be taken out in order for the service to be prioritised in time for the next academic year:
|Timeframe for SLA
|Submit your SLA form by
|Service will be prioritised
|Academic year (September to July)
|Within the following academic year
Please note, all contracts, for both maintained schools and academies, will run from September to July on an annual basis and we will contact you in the Spring term about renewal.
If your Service Level Agreement (SLA) was previously a financial year contract, you will have received information within your SLA letter on how many sessions we can offer your school between April and July 2024.
Requests made later in the academic year cannot be guaranteed and will only be delivered if staffing is available.
The charge for SLA work for all organisations from April 2021, is:
|Session (in hours)
|Cost per session
|Educational Psychologist (EP) work
|November and April
|Assistant Educational Psychologist (AEP) work
A session is 3 hours – typically, half the time allocated will be on the school premises, and half the time will be away from school doing preparation, analysis and report writing.
Costs are secure for the duration of the agreement.
For commissions from outside West Northamptonshire, travel costs will be added.
For further information on how to secure support from an Assistant Educational Psychologist (AEP) please contact us at [email protected].
How to sign up
You can sign up to the service by completing the service level agreement below.
Last updated 12 February 2024