Educational Psychologist Children's Services
Rochdale Child and Educational Psychology Service
Child Educational Psychologists (CEP) work with schools to help support children with special educational needs.
What we do
Rochdale Child and Educational Psychology Service aims to improve the emotional well-being, personal development and educational outcomes of children and young people in our borough. We apply psychology in our approach to consultation, assessment and intervention and are fully committed to working closely alongside parents/ carers and school staff. For us, co-production lies at the heart of our work supporting successful intervention and meaningful change.
We are trained to understand what helps children think, learn and problem-solve, form positive relationships and experience a sense of wellbeing and belonging and also what helps them recover from emotional distress. We believe that change is always possible.
We aim to create a safe, non-judgemental space to enable families and children to share their stories
We believe that relationships are key to creating positive change. Feeling connected to others and having a sense of belonging helps us all to thrive.
We value the knowledge of parent/carers and other professionals. We work alongside others to recognise strengths, identify what is working well and build on this to move things forward towards improved outcomes for children and families.
We believe that everyone has the right to access opportunities to enable them to grow and develop as a person. We value diversity and are committed to promoting fair access and equal opportunities for all.
I am concerned about my child- what should I do?
If you are worried about your child, the first step is to talk to the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) in your child’s school. Sometimes this can be enough to move things forward for your child. If school staff implement changes but things still feel stuck, we may become involved.
How do you start involvement?
Often we will start with a consultation. This is a meeting with parent/carers, school staff and an CEP. Having you there is important as you are the expert on your child. Everyone at the meeting is there because they want to try and understand your child. It can be helpful to have the time and space to think together about what might be happening for your child and how best to help them. The meeting lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and usually takes place within school.
What will we talk about?
All families are unique and complex and we recognise that all of us have ups and downs. We aim to create a safe, confidential space so that you feel able to share your experiences. This can help us all to better understand your child. We’ll explore what your concerns are, things that are going well for your child, in which situations and why this is the case. We bring knowledge from psychology, child development and problem solving processes. Together we’ll consider what it would look like if things were better and come up with actions we can all carry out to help to move things forward.
What will happen next?
It may be that from the initial meeting, we have a full picture and ideas that can be carried out to make things better for your child. It might be that more information is needed to help understand what is happening for your child. This could include further involvement from a CEP, to observe your child in school or to meet with them and complete some assessments or get their views about how things are. We may come back together to review how things are or to talk about other information we’ve gathered and how this might help to better understand your child.
How will I be informed?
We will send a written summary of the key points we have discussed during consultation meetings to school and will also send a written summary of any work completed with your child. School should then forward this on to you.
How do you support the EHCP Process?
Many children will be supported well by the resources that are within school. Few children, who have the most severe and complex needs may need an EHCP. It is a statutory requirement that Child and Educational Psychologists provide psychological advice for all children going through an EHC assessment. The purpose of this is to gather information about their needs, strengths and what support they require. For further information regarding EHCP’s please speak to your child’s school or the local authority SEN Team.
When can I refer children and young people (CYP) to the CEPS?
It can be helpful to refer CYP when you feel you don’t understand their needs or are feeling ‘stuck’ about how to make things better for them. However there are a number of things to consider before making a referral:
- It can be helpful to share concerns and listen to parent/ carers and CYP and see if a plan can be put into place within school first. If it is agreed that CEP involvement is needed, school and parents then complete a consent form.
- If there are a number of children with similar needs or issues within school, completing work systemically with the CEPS can be more effective.
- Children develop at different rates and many may miss developing foundation skills (e.g. due to Covid). The key factor is that they are making small steps of progress and are feeling successful.
What happens after a referral?
A consultation will be held with parent/ carers and school staff who know the CYP well. This meeting usually lasts around an hour and a half. Consultations aim to develop a shared understanding of CYP’s needs and we will explore all the different interacting factors which may be impacting on the situation (see model below). Consultation is a key part of the assessment process.
Together we will then develop a plan to: adjust approaches and environmental conditions and develop interventions to support the CYP to develop skills and promote inclusion and engagement. This process may enable the CYP’s needs to be met but if further information is needed there may be ongoing CEP involvement.
What assessments you do?
There are a range of different assessments that we can complete, depending on the CYP’s needs and the priority areas of concern. This is one reason why the first step is usually to complete a consultation. Schools often already have a wealth of assessment information about a child. It is most useful to complete assessment when information is missing.
Dynamic assessment analyses the strategies and cognitive skills used by children within problem solving. It considers the processes rather than outcomes in order to understand how children learn. It allows the assessor to intervene in order to gather information about the most effective support and teaching approaches.
Meeting with the CYP to observe them and get their views is often an important part of the assessment process. Information can be gathered for example, about their emotional needs and how these might be better met. Often we use approaches from Personal Construct Psychology to get an insight into CYP’s views of the world and their relationships.
A cognitive assessment involves a series of standardised tests to assess strengths and needs in terms of a child’s cognitive skills. They are standardised tests so give us an indication of how a CYP has performed on that particular day in relation to other children of the same age. It is important to recognise that cognitive assessments do not consider cultural, environmental and affective (emotional) factors, therefore caution should always be made to how the scores are reported, used and interpreted and they should always be considered alongside other pertinent information.
Schools generally should have the staff and resources to identify and to intervene early with any child who has long term persistent difficulties with the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills. Teachers can identify children who have persistent difficulties with reading, spelling and maths skills; this does not have to be carried out by external specialists. However, CEPs can support school staff to undertake more detailed and holistic investigations and help them to consider appropriate approaches, support and intervention
What is systemic work and what can it involve?
Systemic work can have an impact on a greater number of CYP within a school and is particularly helpful when a number of CYP are experiencing similar issues. It might involve project or research work, training and coaching with staff or whole school initiatives. Some examples of systemic work that can be completed are given below:
- ELSA Training - (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) is an educational psychology led intervention aimed at promoting the emotional wellbeing of children and young people. Schools please email ELSA@rochdale.gov.uk for more information.
- Whole school SEMH Audit – This non-judgemental, school-led approach supports the school to recognise what is already working well in terms of their universal provision and identification and support for individual learners with SEMH needs and also to identify gaps in their existing provision.
- Whole School Attachment/Trauma Informed School Programme- The programme aims to develop knowledge and understanding around Attachment Theory and Trauma-Informed Approaches to ensure all staff have a greater understanding of the behaviours and needs of CYP who have experienced disruptions in their caregiving due to, for example, trauma, loss and separation.
- Connect2 Communicate- developing the foundations of communication. C2C training is available to both staff and parents facilitated by schools. It aims to support staff and parents of children who are experiencing a delay or difference in their speech, language and social communication development. Schools please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What staff training do you offer?
Whole school training can be completed in a range of areas such as:
- Supporting CYP with social communication needs, including Autism
- Supporting CYP with executive functioning difficulties, including ADHD
- Trauma and Attachment
- Supporting CYP following bereavement and loss
- Emotion Coaching
- Relational and Restorative Approaches to managing behaviour
- Literacy and numeracy difficulties
- Promoting Development through Play
How to access the service
Referral to our service can only be accepted from schools. Parents, carers and agencies should consult the school if they think a referral is needed.
Who to contact
Where to go
Number One Riverside
Time / Date Details
When is it on
Monday to Friday 8.45am to 4.45pm
Local Offer Ages
4-10 (Primary School)
11-16 (Secondary School)