Educational Psychology Service: schools and practitioners

What schools can expect from the service

Salford Educational Psychology Service is an evidence based consultation service.

This means that conversations have been found to be crucial in effecting positive change for children, teachers and families.

The exact nature and time required for the work will be determined at the planning meeting. Possible ways in which schools often use EP time include:


Consultations with teacher/lecturer, teaching assistant, learning mentor, parent, SENCo etc. Observation and/or assessment of a child/young person in class/learning setting. All work with individual children will include a minimum of 2 consultations, utilising the Plan-Do-Review cycle.

Therapeutic work

Evidence based individual therapeutic intervention, with set sessions, eg Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in schools or settings (FRIENDS), Motivational Interviewing.

Group interventions

Planning and delivery of weekly group sessions with pupils/students, focusing on a specific need e.g. social skills, anxiety, resilience, self-esteem.


Delivery of whole day training sessions, half day training sessions, or twilight sessions, chosen from those listed in the brochure or specifically commissioned.

Systemic work

Project or research work eg teacher stress and wellbeing. Developing policy and practice eg behaviour management. Whole school initiatives eg Emotionally Friendly Schools.

Statutory services

The Local Authority will provide statutory services to schools, settings and partner agencies. There will be no charge for these statutory services which include:

  • The provision of Psychological Advice as part of the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessment process, when requested by the Local Authority SEN Team.
  • Updated advice for pupils with EHCPs, when requested by the SEN Team.
  • Other work commissioned by the Local Authority via the SEN panel.
  • Critical Incident Support Service.

Traded services

In addition to the above Statutory services, schools, settings and partner agencies now have the opportunity to purchase a wide range of additional packages of support through a service level agreement (SLA), as ‘traded services’. These can either be chosen from the brochure or can be specifically designed to meet your individual requirements.

Services may be purchased by an individual school or a cluster of schools. Working in close partnership with schools provides greater opportunity for sustainable, positive outcomes for children. We also offer reduced rates for schools wishing to purchase higher numbers of hours. The charges are as follows:

Cost for Educational Psychologist to school:

  • Up to 20 hours is available at a cost of £100 per hour
  • 21 to 40 hours is available at a cost of £90 per hour
  • Over 40 hours is available at a cost of £80 per hour
  • Half a day per week: £8,000 term time only (excluding the first and final weeks of the year, 3 hour sessions)

Cost for Assistant Educational Psychologist to school:

  • Up to 20 hours is available at a cost of £60 per hour
  • 21 to 40 hours is available at a cost of £50 per hour
  • Over 40 hours is available at a cost of £40 per hour
  • Half a day a week £4,000 term time only (excluding the first and final weeks of the year, 3 hour sessions)

Please note: When multiple sessions are purchased these will usually be equally spread throughout the year in agreement with the school, setting or partner agency. When larger contracts are commissioned in advance costs can be further reduced.

Assistant Educational Psychologists

The service has begun an initiative to enhance our offer to schools through the recruitment of Assistant Educational Psychologists. These professionals have the prerequisites to apply for the doctoral training in Educational Psychology.

They assist the service through conducting and supporting many of the functions of an Educational Psychologist including basic assessment work, information gathering, group work, individual intervention and training.

Your named Educational Psychologist will advise you of activities that might be better supported or delivered by an Assistant. This will help to meet the needs of schools whilst also being cost effective.

Types of work that can be completed

The time can be used for prioritised casework which can take between 6 and 12 hours per case. The EPS work in a consultation model of service delivery which means all cases will require initial and review consultation with key adults, parents and child where appropriate. Assessment work would occur as part of this process where there is a clear purpose. All commissions have to include administrative time.

The Educational Psychology Service can also offer a range of projects/research, training and interventions for your general population and/ or your SEN support population. It is expected that larger contracts will commission a range of activities within their hours.

Invoicing arrangements

Invoices will be sent out at two points in the year, Spring term and Summer term depending on the amount of commissioned time/hours you have received from your Educational Psychologist. (This may be subject to change).

Any additional charges will be discussed and agreed with the school before the service is undertaken.

Fees for ad hoc services will be charged immediately following delivery of the service.

Ethical trading

The service operates an ethical trading policy. This means as an LA service we don’t operate as a regular business might (eg on a first come first served basis).

We feel that we have a duty of care across the borough and try to prioritise areas of highest need while maintaining service access borough wide. It is also essential that the Educational Psychology Service makes a contribution to the education and outcomes of all children and builds capacity through project work and research rather than limiting access to individual children. We prioritise contracts that are likely to support us to do this.

Examples of how we work

Examples of individual child assessments

Cognitive assessment

A cognitive assessment involves a child or young person completing tasks designed to evaluate a range of skills that underpin learning. It can provide information about how pupils/students acquire and process information and can identify strengths and weaknesses that can be used to inform future teaching and learning.

Attainment tests

An attainment test (eg the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – WIAT) can be used to determine the stage at which a child or young person is at in terms of their literacy and numeracy skills. A selection of these subtests can be used to plan the next steps in a child’s learning and to monitor responses to intervention.

Dynamic assessment

Dynamic Assessment (DA) incorporates a range of methods for exploring learning potential using prompts, cues and mediation. It enables a deep understanding of cognitive processes ie tactics, strategies, habits, modes of thinking, approaching and solving problems. The main focus is on determining the ‘zone of proximal development’ that lies between the level of performance the child can reach unassisted and the level attained with adult assistance.

Access arrangements for examinations

The JCQ form 8 or other relevant access arrangement format can be completed by an EP following the required assessments.

Developmental and play based assessment

A developmental assessment can be carried out to determine at what developmental age or stage a young child is at. They are usually carried out via standardised testing or observation and use of checklists.


Observations of children within the classroom or playground can be conducted to gather information on the child’s presentation within the school context.

Gathering child views

Child views are a vital source of information when considering how best to support children and young people in their education. Salford Educational Psychology Service draw on a range of tools for this purpose including Talking Mats (a non-verbal, visual communication tool).

Other assessments include:

  • Neuro-Psychological Assessments eg NEPSY
  • Auditory and Working Memory Assessments
  • Functional Analysis of Behaviour
  • Personal Construct Psychology based assessment
  • Beck Youth Inventory (eg depression, anxiety, self-concept)
  • Resiliency Scale Assessment

Example of therapeutic work

Motivational interviewing

The aim is to help children and young people move through the stages of change, supporting them to plan for change, and to enact and achieve the positive change they have found the motivation to achieve. There is an expectation that members of relevant staff would be involved at the end of the intervention to support the child in implementing the changes.

Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)

This intervention aims to improve relationships and interactions through looking in detail at filmed clips of the interactions in question. One effective use of VIG is in helping to enhance interactions within adult-child pairings, for example in order to improve a parent/carer-child relationship. By focussing on reviewing edited clips of positive moments in the interaction, the adult is empowered to build on their strengths and work towards their goal. This is a fun intervention which has a strong research base. A standard VIG intervention (3 cycles) is around 7 hours.


Theraplay is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.

Examples of group interventions

Resilience groups

This group intervention is for those vulnerable students who constantly seek adult re-assurance and advice within the school environment. It aims to build their confidence by developing positive strategies to enhance their independence and organisational skills.

Cognitive Behavioural Interventions

This is an evidence-based intervention that supports groups of children to manage anxiety, stress and/or behavioural triggers. Evidence based courses for groups include: ‘Think Good: Feel Good’, ‘Friends For Life’, and ‘Why Try’ (sessions according to need).

Circle of Friends

This small group intervention is focused on helping an individual child’s difficulties. It draws on the help and social support of the whole class and then focuses on the support of 5/6 peers and a familiar adult. The psychologist will lead the whole class session; provide support to set up the small circle of friends; and consult with the familiar adult helping them to prepare and lead the subsequent meetings.

Social Skills Groups

The group consists of sessions on improving communication, co-operation, managing difficult situations and building/maintaining relationships. This group work is suitable for all ages.

Pyramid Club (After-school club intervention)

This is an evidence-based intervention that supports children who are shy, anxious, withdrawn or quiet children who struggle with friendships and internalise, rather than externalise, their difficulties. You will receive training to support you to become a club leader, providing you with the tools and resources to run a 10 week after-school club with a group of around 10 children (Year 3 to Year 8). The club will help them to; build confidence, develop their coping skills, improve their emotional wellbeing, improve relationships with their peers, participate more, and achieve higher at school.

Attention and Listening Skills Intervention

It is well understood that children’s attentions skills are important for all aspects of learning, language and play development. This training and intervention package provides Early Years and Key Stage 1 staff with the opportunity to develop their understanding and practice in improving children’s attention skills.

The 1.5 hour training session supports staff to increase their understanding of attention skills and how they develop, and to set up and run a small group intervention for children. The training package includes access to an Activity Pack including a manual, session plans and 40 user-friendly colour coded activity cards, which staff can use to plan and run their group sessions.

Working Memory (MeeMo)

Working Memory is our ability to hold onto information and process / use it in some way and has been demonstrated to be the single most important cognitive process that predicts children’s academic achievement outcomes at all assessment stages. The MeeMo is a 6 week working memory card based intervention that supports a whole class to improve their working memory through rehearsal.

Lego therapy

Lego therapy is a social skills intervention for children with Autistic Spectrum Condition or related social communication difficulties. Lego therapy involves children occupying specific roles within a structured group context and working collaboratively to build Lego models.

Solution circles

A solution circle is a systematic 30 minute session which can be facilitated by an Educational Psychologist. It involves a small group of adults, one of which is the ‘problem presenter’ who has a problem that needs a way forward or solution. It follows a set structure and aims to use the resources, ideas and expertise within the group to develop positive solutions with the problem that is presented.

Circle of adults

The circle of adults’ intervention is a problem solving approach where the Educational Psychologist works with key adults in the school. The aim is to build an in-depth perspective of the emotional needs that underlie challenging behaviours and to agree strategies that promote the wellbeing and inclusion of children with complex needs. The approach provides staff support and has been positively evaluated in a range of settings, including primary, secondary and special schools.

Examples of training

The EPS offers training in all areas of SEND. Below are some examples of the type of training that we offer. The EPS also offer individualised and bespoke training on request and this can be discussed further with your link Educational Psychologist. The prices of the training packages outlined in this brochure are dependent on the length of training required. Please enquire for prices.

Precision teaching

This single session ‘hands on’ course promotes a skills mastery teaching approach and is suitable for teachers, learning mentors and teaching assistants. This course has specific reference to basic educational skills in literacy, numeracy and other curriculum areas.

Looked After Children

The EPS are aware of how vulnerable the Looked After population of pupils are at times of transition. Therefore the Educational Psychology team can offer:

  • The use of the LAC transition tool, which can be used to estimate the relative level of risk regarding transition for each child and then recommend relevant action according to risk level.
  • A transition training twilight which focuses on the importance of planning for transition, Attachment theory with a focus on transition, strategies for good practice and an introduction to the transition tool

Understanding Autism

This workshop aims to provide hands on experience of what teachers can do to support autism within school. The workshop aims to provide an introduction to the National Autistic Society SPELL framework which will facilitate you to identify changes you can make to the classroom. It also provides time to explore a variety of resources and activities that can be implemented within the classroom.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

This course raises awareness of ADHD and explores techniques and interventions to promote positive outcomes in a school setting for children with ADHD.

Understanding Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

This single session course looks at the impact of FAS on the pupil’s response to teaching and learning at different ages. Strategies to support pupils within the school context are outlined and evidence based.


This training can be delivered within three formats; a twilight session, a half-day or a full-day with each level being designed for whole staff delivery in schools or settings.

Twilight session

In this introductory session, you will learn about how attachment has been studied, how secure and insecure attachments develop and some of the key concepts linked to attachment theory. The course will make theoretical concepts easily accessible and will include activities that will support your thinking around how to meet the needs of children with attachment-related behavioural difficulties. It will also emphasise the importance of you, the adult in school, as a secondary attachment figure.

Half-day session

This session includes all features of the twilight session, plus a more in depth look at the research underpinning attachment theory; the neuropsychology of attachment; and the different types of insecure attachment style. We will look at how children with insecure attachments may present within the classroom, depending on their particular attachment style, and how you can meet the needs of children with insecure attachments in your settings.

Full-day session

This session includes all features of the half-day session, plus a more in depth look at the parenting styles that can lead to the development of each attachment style; the effects of healthy vs. toxic shame; and more opportunities for group discussion and activities around meeting the needs and children and young people with insecure attachment styles.

Emotion coaching

This training often works well following the completion of the Attachment Training (as above). It will support staff to deal with behaviour using a structured 3 step approach, from the adult’s point of view as well as the young person’s. Staff will also develop their skills to remain calm and consistent, which helps to improve staff and pupil relationships.

Examples of systemic work

The EPS also holds advanced research skills, and are pleased to be able to offer schools research packages to suit their individual needs.

Example research packages include:

  • Identifying the effectiveness of your schools Special Educational Needs (SEN) and behaviour support systems
  • Pupil views of the effectiveness of the reward system
  • Parent views of the SEN support systems
  • Pupils views of particular issues such as bullying, gambling, self-harm behaviours in school

Examples of projects that we have been involved in include:

  • Setting up enhanced provision
  • Developing the emotional well being of staff and pupils
  • Encouraging positive playground behaviour

Emotionally Friendly Schools (EFS) programme

The Emotionally Friendly Schools (EFS) programme is a flexible, whole-school approach to improve children's mental health and wellbeing supported by Salford Educational Psychology Service. The EFS supports the process of becoming more emotionally friendly by focusing on four key areas:

  • Staff wellbeing and school ethos
  • Whole school and classroom practice
  • Assessing children's needs
  • Supporting individual children

We have developed both primary and secondary versions of the EFS and online versions of the manuals are also available. We will take you through a cyclical process in which you plan and take action using a comprehensive whole-school approach. The programme includes a manual, training, ways to audit your school and a planning meeting. Further training is available on selected areas included in the Supporting Individual Children section of the manual, for example:

  • Self harm and young people
  • Depression and young people
  • Anxiety and young people
  • Loss and bereavement

More information is available on the Emotionally Friendly Settings website. 

Educational Psychology Service

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