FAQ

Q. I think my child is struggling at school. How can I get help for them?

If your child seems to be struggling with school work, getting into trouble or with their emotions it is important to speak to their teacher first. The teacher will be able to give you details on how your child is getting on when they are in school and you can discuss anything at home that might be having an influence on them too. Together, you can agree on the support that will be put into place for your child and then you can review how things are going together after a period of time. The school may ask to put your child on their special educational needs register and set them some targets to guide the support that is given. When you all review how things are going, there may be changes that need to be made to the support plan or targets to make sure the support is right for your child. If, after at least 2 reviews, you all agree that your child is not making progress, even with the extra support, the school may involve a specialist from outside the school to help them work out how to meet your child’s needs. An Educational Psychologist is one example of an outside specialist that works with schools (Speech and Language Therapists and Specialist Teachers are other examples). Some specialist services are paid for by the school (like the Educational Psychology Service) and others are funded directly by the Local Authority or Health Service.

The Wolverhampton Local Offer can give more information on what children, young people and their families can expect if they have special educational needs.

If you feel you need support in talking to your child’s school about their special educational needs, the Wolverhampton Information and Advice Service (IASS) for parents may be able to help you.


Q. Why would my child be referred to the Educational Psychology Service?

An Educational Psychologist may become involved if a child/young person is experiencing difficulties in the following area(s):

  • Learning new skills.
  • Making progress with learning.
  • Expressing themselves or understanding what has been said to them.
  • Communicating and interacting with others.
  • Physical and sensory needs which are affecting their engagement in school.
  • Social and emotional development.
  • Being independent.

Schools will usually have tried to support your child in different ways before they look for help from an Educational Psychologist and you should be aware of what they have been doing. They will always ask for your consent before referring to the Educational Psychology Service.


Q. Can I contact the Educational Psychology Service directly?

If one of our psychologists is involved with your child, you are welcome to call or email to discuss their work at any time. We spend a lot of time out and about in settings or on home visits but will call you back if we have been unavailable. If your call is urgent then one of our other psychologists may be able to answer your query.

We don’t accept referrals directly from parents or young people at present but, if your child’s setting subscribes to our service, we may be able to discuss your concerns with the setting to see whether a referral needs to be made.


Q. My child is struggling emotionally at home but at school he is doing well. What can i do?

We have an information sheet on promoting emotional wellbeing that may be useful. There are also a number of local organisations which may be able to provide help, depending on your child’s circumstances. Please see the page ‘Where else can I find support’.


Q. What happens if my child goes to a school outside the Wolverhampton area but we live in Wolverhampton?

The Educational Psychology Service usually only trades with Wolverhampton’s schools and settings so schools in other areas (or those in Wolverhampton who choose not to buy our service in) are not able to make referrals to us. Those schools may receive a service from their own Local Authority’s Educational Psychology Service or from a private service.

There are some pieces of work that we complete which fall outside of the traded service that schools pay for. These include assessing and writing advice for Single Assessment of Special Educational Needs; assessing and writing reports for the ASD or ADHD diagnostic pathways or supporting young people who are looked after by the Local Authority or are involved with the Youth Offending Team (YOT). These pieces of work are requested by the health or education departments involved and may involve us visiting settings that do not buy in a service or which are located outside of the city. Your consent would always be needed before an Educational Psychologist became involved with your child.


Q. What happens if the school my child goes to does not buy into your service?

Some specialist services are paid for by schools and this is partly true for the Educational Psychology Service. Schools buy in a certain amount of time from the Educational Psychology Service each year to support their students. If your child’s school chooses not to buy into our service, they may be employing the services of a private psychologist or psychology company who can offer support and advice. Alternatively, the school may be able to make use of Wolverhampton’s Outreach Services or other specialist services.

There are some pieces of work that we complete which fall outside of the traded service that schools pay for. These include assessing and writing advice for Single Assessment of Special Educational Needs; assessing and writing reports for the ASD or ADHD diagnostic pathways or supporting young people who are looked after by the Local Authority or are involved with the Youth Offending Team (YOT). These pieces of work are requested by the health or education departments involved and may involve us visiting settings that do not buy in a service or which are located outside of the city. Your consent would always be needed before an Educational Psychologist became involved with your child.


Q. Will I be able to see what is written about my child?

Our policy is to share any report that we write with parents and you will receive a copy when it is complete. You may request to see any written information that we hold about your child. Formal requests should be addressed to the Head of Service but you can talk to your child’s psychologist first to see whether your query can be resolved more quickly


Q. My child has had previous involvement from the Educational Psychology Service, can I get her to be re-referred?

We are happy to receive re-referrals where young people, or the people working with them, require further support. Talk to your child’s school or setting about a new referral being made.


Q. What is a Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment?

This is also referred to as a Single Assessment of Special Educational Needs or a statutory assessment. There are some children whose needs cannot be met with extra support at school and who need a high level of individual planning and support to make progress. When schools have done all they can to help a child make progress, including committing some of their own funding and seeking advice from outside professionals, but the child is still having great difficulties, it may be possible to ask the Local Authority if an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment to take place. The difficulties do not have to be with learning, a request can be made for needs in the areas of communication and interaction; social, emotional and mental health or physical and sensory development. Often a child will have needs in more than one of these areas. Anyone can make this request, but it usually comes from school because they hold the most of the evidence about what has been provided and what progress has been made.

An Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment is a legal process. It asks parents, young people and a range of professionals about what the young person’s situation is and what they will need if they are to make progress. When all of the information has been collected, the Local Authority will decide whether to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which is a legal document which states what a child should be working towards in their education, what special educational needs are preventing them from making progress and what will need to be provided to help them move towards their goals. Often some extra funding is provided (as well as the funding the mainstream school is already spending on that child) or there may be extra resources provided through a place being offered at a special school. If the Local Authority decides not to issue an EHCP, they will write a Summary of Needs instead, which also sets out special educational needs and provision, without offering any additional resources above what is already being provided by the setting.

You can find further information on the Wolverhampton Local Offer webpage. Only the children with the highest level of needs receive an EHCP (2.9% of all pupils in England in 2017). If you think your child may be entitled to this level of support, the Information Advice and Support Service (IASS) can offer independent advice to parents on the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment process.

Parents considering making a request for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment are advised to speak to their child’s school and/or the Educational Psychologist linked to that school first.


Q. Once referred, will my child be involved with the Educational Psychology Service for the rest of their time in school?

No. An Educational Psychologist may only be involved for a short period to help school or setting to meet your child’s needs. We will usually stop our involvement when we have completed the piece of work that your child was referred for. However, a child can be re-referred later if further or different work is needed.


Q. Help! There are words or letters on this website and I’m not sure what they mean, where can I find out?

Sorry about that! Education is full of abbreviations and terms that can be difficult to follow. Some of the ones we have used on this website are explained briefly below:

Term

Meaning

Educational Psychologist (EP or Ed Psych)

A professional who uses psychology to help children and young people with learning, behaviour or emotional wellbeing. This might be by working with them directly or by helping the adults around them to support them better. An Educational Psychologist must have completed a professional training course in Educational Psychology, as well as having a degree in Psychology.

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHC Needs Assessment)

The legal process that takes place to decide whether a young person can have an EHCP. The Local Authority carries out EHC needs assessments and will ask the advice of a range of professionals (Educational Psychologist, teachers, doctors, Speech and Language Therapist etc) to help make the decision. Sometimes also referred to as Single Assessment of special educational needs.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

An Education, Health and Care Plan is a legal document which describes a young person’s special educational needs and what they need to help them learn. Only children with the highest level of need will get an EHCP, there are many other children with special educational needs who are supported in schools without an EHCP. EHCPs replaced Statements of Special Educational Needs.

Inclusion

Making sure that all children, including those with special educational needs, can be fully involved in their school, taking part in activities alongside the others and attending their local schools whenever possible.

Psychology

The study of the mind and behaviour, including learning.

Mainstream School

A nursery, primary or secondary school which does not select its pupils by ability and does not require parents to pay any fees for their children to attend. This includes the majority of local schools in Wolverhampton.

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

When children need extra or additional help so that they can learn, they have special educational needs.