Educational Psychology

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Educational Psychologists are specialists in learning, emotional well-being and child development. We work directly or indirectly with children and young people. We also provide advice to their parents and other adults who teach and support them. In Cornwall, Educational Psychologists (EPs) work as part of the Children's Psychology Service.

Vision: Children and young people at the heart of everything we do

Mission: Using psychology to enable positive change

Core Values:

  • Inclusive
  • Collaborative
  • Child-centred
  • Strengths based
  • Empowering

The Educational Psychology Service are offering a new, free telephone advice service.  This provides consultation on the education and well-being of young people with:

  • additional needs and
  • vulnerabilities

The issue may relate to an individual or a broader need within a setting. If the issue is about a young person already known to either team, please contact the relevant Educational Psychologist.  You may also wish to contact your school's Educational Psychologist. 

The service can be contacted at EPS.Advice@cornwall.gov.uk. Please give your:

  • name
  • setting
  • phone number
  • best time to contact you throughout the working day

This is so that we can phone when you are available for a brief outline of the issue that you would like to discuss. Please do not include the names of children or young people in your email. 

We will aim to phone you back within two working days and offer a consultation on the issue raised.

Please note that similar arrangements are in place for all SEN Services. You can continue to contact a known member of staff or the service.

Useful resources

We work with children and young people, their families and educational settings.  Our role is to promote positive outcomes for vulnerable groups of children and young people including:

  • children and young people with general or specific learning difficulties
  • children and young people with physical disabilities and significant medical needs
  • children and young people in care and those who have Social Care involvement
  • young people with emotional and mental health needs.  They may also present with behavioural difficulties

The Educational Psychology Service provides specific pieces of statutory and core work. We are funded to provide this free to educational settings within Cornwall.

Statutory work

The service is commissioned by the Council to carry out statutory psychological work.  This is to assess children and young people with special educational needs.  

On behalf of the Council we carry out the following statutory duties: 

  • Providing assessment and written Psychological Advice. We do this as part of an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment of a child or young person (aged 0-25)
  • Providing assessment and Psychological Advice. We do this as part of an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs re-assessment of a child or young person (aged 0-25)
  • Providing psychological knowledge and opinion at Special Educational Needs and Disability tribunals. We do this for children or young people on behalf of the local authority
  • Contribution to the Statutory Special Educational Needs Panel
  • High priority casework requested by the Manager of the Statutory SEN Team. This is agreed by the Principal Educational Psychologist

Core Work

The service carries out a number of applied psychological tasks. This is to support improved outcomes for those children where Cornwall Council has other statutory duties.

Criteria for all core work:

The child or young person is on the roll of a state educational setting within Cornwall and: 

  • is in care to Cornwall Council
  • is subject to a Cornwall Council Child Protection Plan
  • is a child in care for whom a Recovery Plan is being written

The child or young person also has significant social, emotional and or special educational needs.

Documented evidence is required before Educational Psychology involvement can be agreed. This must demonstrate that the child or young person’s difficulties are persistent.  This is despite the educational setting having taken relevant and purposeful action over time, as set out in the Code of Practice. In addition the child or young person may also be at risk of:

  • Permanent exclusion
  • Placement breakdown

Work with a child in care or with a child subject to a Child Protection Plan is time-limited. This will usually involve one cycle of:

  • assess
  • plan
  • do and
  • review

Additional work can be purchased via our traded services in regards to the above children and young people. This could include:

  • a range of assessments
  • delivery of interventions
  • attendance at prioritised meetings and
  • providing advice and guidance to the professional network around the child or young person. 

Educational Psychology Service to work with children and young people who do not meet the criteria

Educational settings can buy service time via the Services for Schools website. This can be as a Service Level Agreement for a whole year.  It can also be a one off purchase through the flexible option.

Parents who would like an educational psychologist to work with their child need to discuss this with the SEN Coordinator.  This is to see if it would be appropriate. 

For more details on any of the work mentioned below, please view our brochure.

Work with a focus on individual children and young people

Educational Psychologists try to gain an understanding of the whole child. We also consider the environment they live and learn in.  This is so we can best support others in working together to reach positive outcomes.

Others we work with include:

  • Young people
  • Parents or carers
  • Teachers and
  • Other professionals

Individual work may include:

  • Observation
  • Consultation with parents, teachers and other professionals
  • Completing questionnaires
  • Pupil interviews 
  • Dynamic assessment 
  • Play based assessment
  • Cognitive assessment
  • Standardised assessments of academic performance
  • Contributing to statutory Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments 
  • Setting and reviewing outcomes/targets
  • Attendance at multi-agency meetings and reviews
  • Draw and Talk intervention
  • Solution Focused Brief Therapy
  • Personal Construct Psychology
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing 

Family interventions

  • Video Interaction Guidance
  • Coaching
  • Video Feedforward

Group interventions

We can develop and deliver bespoke interventions on a needs led basis. Please see the traded service section for further information.

Interventions include: 

  • Emotion Coaching
  • Loss and change
  • Friends (KS 2-4) and Fun Friends (KS 1-2)
  • Therapeutic Story Writing
  • Circle of Friends
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy based interventions
  • Understanding anger
  • Whole class intervention

Whole school interventions

Please see the traded services section and brochure for further information

  • School development projects
  • Soft Systems Methodology
  • Research
  • Provision Management

Staff Support: training and interventions

  • Staff support and supervision
  • Staff well-being and stress management
  • Video Enhanced Reflective Practice (VERP)
  • Staff drop in sessions
  • Teacher (staff) coaching
  • Collaborative problem solving e.g. Circles of adults or Solution Circles
  • Motivational interviewing

Staff training

  • Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) Training
  • Attachment and resilience
  • Dyspraxia/Coordination difficulties
  • Differentiation
  • Memory and Learning
  • Mediated learning to develop thinking skills
  • Use of ipads and apps
  • Memory and learning
  • Concentration and attention
  • Precision teaching
  • SMART targets
  • Draw and Talk training for staff
  • Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)

Please see our brochure above for further information and examples of training. 

For all individual casework, educational settings need to complete the form below:

Request for Involvement Form This must be signed by the person with legal parental responsibility. For Children in Care this should in the vast majority of cases be signed by the Social Worker and not the foster carer.

Statutory – individual casework

All requests are made by the Statutory SEN team.

Core – individual casework

The educational setting’s named Educational Psychologist must agree their involvement at a planning consultation. The signed and completed request for involvement form, should be sent directly to that Educational Psychologist. 

Traded – individual casework

Educational Psychology time must first be purchased via the Services to Schools site.  The signed and completed request for involvement form, should be sent to the school’s named educational psychologist.

We are a partially traded service. Educational settings can buy Educational Psychology support in blocks of time. This is to meet your specific needs and priorities.

One day equals 6.5 hours. Purchased time should include time for preparation, write up and follow up.

Download the Traded Services brochure

How educational settings buy traded educational psychology services

All purchases are made via Services for Schools. This can be as a Service Level Agreement or on a pay-as-you-go basis using the Flexible Support Option.

Service Level Agreement

  • Cost: time purchased before 30 September 2021 is offered at a lower rate
  • A guaranteed enhanced level of service
  • Educational settings that purchase an SLA will have a named Educational Psychologist to carry out all of their traded work. The same Educational Psychologist will also aim to carry out any and all core or statutory work
  • In the planning consultation the range of work can be discussed.  They can also agree and prioritise any educational psychology involvement.
  • The setting can decide whether the time is to be used flexibly across the year. Or its to be delivered on a regular pre-planned basis. This is dependent on the amount of time purchased as an SLA.
  • Every Educational Psychologist keeps an up to date log of all work they carry out in a school, or across a MAT, during the academic year. This information is shared with the SENCO and headteacher on a termly basis and at the end of the year.

Flexible support option

  • Cost: time purchased via the flexible option incurs a higher rate
  • Flexible support requests are subject to availability. Whilst we do our best to provide the time requested, there is no guarantee that we will have sufficient capacity to respond. Or how quickly we are able to respond
  • Flexible support is only available to purchase between 1 October 2020 and 26 March 2021
  • We will try to ensure that the Educational Psychologist for your setting carries out the time purchased via flexible support. However, this may not always be possible
  • Educational settings who have already purchased an SLA can increase the amount of time if they wish.  This is subject to availability.
  • Educational settings who have missed the deadline for buying an SLA can still buy educational psychology support.  This is subject to availability.

Costs

Service Level Agreement bought on or before 30 September 2020 Flexible Support bought between 1 October 2020 and 26 March 2021
£490 per day £550 per day


We have set the rates at a very competitive level. This is when compared to neighbouring authorities and independent providers. For the academic year 2020-21 we have not increased our rates.

Time for preparation, write up and follow up is included within the purchased time.

Online training (£30)

‘Using iPads to support pupils with literacy difficulties- evidence based practice’

This online course covers:

  • school and local authority statutory duties. Using technology to support pupils with special educational needs.
  • current research findings. Good practice when using technology to help children learn. And as a literacy intervention.
  • a step by step video guide which shows how to change settings to support literacy. Using iPad apps can to support pupils with literacy difficulties.

Access the online training

Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) is a way of looking at video clips of people interacting. It supports an understanding of communication. This provides a process for building communication and interaction skills.

How it will help

  • It will highlight the strengths people already have
  • It will build on these strengths
  • Seeing yourself communicating effectively is a very empowering and motivating process
  • The process provides an understanding of communication that can be applied in any interaction

How it works

  • A short clip of video is taken (approximately 10 minutes) of the interaction of those involved
  • The video is looked at by the VIG practitioner who will pick out a small number of clips showing positive communication
  • The VIG practitioner returns to the client(s) to feedback and discuss the clips
  • Clients are equal partners in the process with the VIG practitioner

Who the video belongs to

  • The videos belong to the people in them
  • Clients receive a written contract. It says that the video will not be shown to anyone outside of the VIG project without their permission 

Where VIG comes from

  • The model was developed in Holland 30 years ago
  • The theoretical base to the model was provided by Professor Colwyn Trevarthen, based at Edinburgh University. He picked out the successful components of mother and baby interactions. These have become the corner stone to the approach and are referred to as “the principles of attuned interaction”

Who the VIG service is for

VIG is for parents and carers who want to make changes in their relationship, communication and interaction with their child. An assessment by a professional in the Together for Families services* indicates a concern about:

  • a lack of emotional warmth in the relationship
  • a predominance of negative responses from the parent or carer to the child
  • the parent or carer is not being able to see the world from the child’s point of view
  • the parent or carer having difficulty bonding with their baby or has missed the opportunity to bond with their child when younger
  • the parent or carer being at the early stages of developing a relationship with the child and will benefit from some support to do this
  • a parent or carer needing support to implement their learning from other interventions. (eg Incredible Years, Triple P, Passionate about…)

* (e.g. health visitor for children 3 and under, social worker, family worker, psychologist) 

Before making a request please consider the following

  • Has the assessment you have done with the family or child indicated that VIG would be the appropriate intervention? If so, can you make sure this is clear as part of your request for VIG.
  • Have you discussed whether VIG would be an appropriate intervention with other people working with the family? Is everyone clear why VIG would be helpful?
  • What change is hoped for from the parent or carer and has this been mutually agreed?
  • What impact will this have on the child’s lived experience? Is the parent or carer clear about this?

Request involvement from the service

All requests for involvement of the VIG are managed by the Early Help Hub

If you are not sure whether the service would be right for you or your client, please contact us for information.

Leaflets and other resources

You can also watch a short video about VIG on the Association for Video Interaction Guidance website.

The VIG Service in Cornwall was evaluated by researchers from Cardiff University in 2019. This work has now been published in the British Journal of Social Work.  You can view the report below:

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