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Educational psychologist: Job description

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An educational psychologist is concerned with helping children or young people who are experiencing problems within an educational setting with the aim of enhancing their learning.

Challenges may include social or emotional problems or learning difficulties. Work is with individual clients or groups, advising:

  • teachers
  • parents;
  • social workers;
  • other professionals.

Client work involves an assessment of the child using observation, interviews and test materials. Educational psychologists offer a wide range of appropriate interventions, such as learning programmes and collaborative work with teachers or parents.

They also provide in-service training for teachers and other professionals on issues such as behaviour and stress management.

Work can also involve research and advising on educational provisions and policies.

Typical work activities

Duties typically involve:

  • assessing learning and emotional needs by observing and consulting with multi-agency teams to advise on the best approaches and provisions to support learning and development;
  • developing and supporting therapeutic and behaviour management programmes;
  • designing and developing courses for parents, teachers and others involved with the education of children and young people on topics such as bullying;
  • designing and developing projects involving children and young people;
  • writing reports to make formal recommendations on action to be taken, including formal statements;
  • advising, persuading, supporting and negotiating with teachers, parents and other education professionals;
  • attending case conferences involving multidisciplinary teams on how best to meet the social, emotional, behavioural and learning needs of the children and young people in their care;
  • prioritising effectiveness, the context and environment that influence the child's development are seen as increasingly important;
  • liaising with other professionals and facilitating meetings, discussions and courses;
  • reviewing and developing policies;
  • conducting active research;
  • formulating interventions that focus on applying knowledge, skills and expertise to support local and national initiatives;
  • developing and applying effective interventions to promote psychological wellbeing, social, emotional and behavioural development, and to raise educational standards.

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Written by Tom McAndrew, University of Exeter
April 2014

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