BHISS - Educational Psychology Service

All Educational Psychologists have experience of working in education, many as teachers. We have additional qualifications that allow us to apply psychology to understand how children develop, to assess what their special educational needs may be, and to support them.

We are all fully qualified and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which is our regulatory professional body.

Who we work with

Educational Psychologists work to support children and young people aged 0 to 25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) that significantly impact upon their psychological wellbeing and/or learning. We work with their parents and carers, staff in schools, colleges and early years settings and with other agencies. The range of needs a child or young person may have includes:

  • autistic spectrum condition (ASC)
  • general learning difficulties
  • medical needs
  • physical disability
  • sensory impairment
  • specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia)
  • speech language and communication difficulties
  • social emotional and mental health (SEMH) including school refusal, where children and young people are at risk of exclusion, are offending or are at risk of offending

During our assessment we can work with any agency involved with a child or family. We are part of the Brighton and Hove Inclusion Support Service (BHISS) and work closely with the other teams in this service as well as paediatricians, health visitors, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), social workers, the Youth Offending Service, and the Virtual School for Children in Care.

We also help children and young people with SEND from Brighton & Hove who are placed (by the Local Authority) in schools outside of the Local Authority when needed.

What we do

The Educational Psychology Service promotes the educational, social, emotional and mental health needs of children and young people through:

Whole School Support

  • training for schools, parents, carers and other professionals, such as on attachment, working with children with autism, separation and loss, solution focused approaches, nurture groups, and learning approaches
  • advice, support and guidance to teachers and school staff
  • response and support for schools in the event of a sad event/critical incident, such as bereavement of a child, parent or member of staff

Work to support individual children and young people

  • consultation with significant people in the child/young person's life to help problem-solve ways forward, including attendance at multi-agency meetings
  • assessment including writing psychological advice to help identify how children learn, think and feel, looking at both strengths and areas which need support.
  • training for schools, parents, carers and other professionals  on approaches to support individual children and young people with additional needs such as attachment, autism and separation and loss, based on solution focused approaches
  • direct interventions with a child or their family, such as using video reflection (Video Interactive Guidance), solution focused approaches, Motivational Interviewing
  • research and evaluation e.g. on exclusions from school
  • provide advice for statutory assessment; in these cases the involvement is a legal requirement and requested by the Local Authority SEN team as part of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan needs assessment

Research, policy development and guidance

How we do it

Educational Psychologists follow an ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ cycle as highlighted in the SEN Code of Practice 2014. This means we complete some assessment and discussion about a child or young person’s needs, agree ways forward with those supporting the child, and then review the impact of this work after an agreed period of the support being in place. Parents and carers are included in this, taking into account a child or young person’s needs at home as well as school.

The ways we assess children or young people varies with their age and needs. We will often observe a child in their usual learning environment as well as work individually with them. We may use toys to play with the child to help us understand their learning, or use puzzles and talking to see what their strengths are and what they need help with. Some assessments are standardised tests which give us an idea of how they are doing in comparison with their peers (eg literacy and language tests or tests of their non verbal thinking skills). We also use questionnaires which help a child/young person tell us their views, thoughts and feelings.

When using assessment tools we make this as comfortable as possible for the child or young person who often report that they have enjoyed working with us, liking the individual attention. When a piece of assessment is completed we summarise this in a report which we send directly to parents by post and share with schools and other relevant professionals.

The length of time we work with a child or family is variable and dependent on the needs and progress.

How to access the service

If a parent or carer is concerned about their child’s progress they should speak with someone at the school or nursery in the first instance, who may make a request for assessment by an educational psychologist. We always get the consent of a parent or carer before working with a child. The Educational Psychology Service does not have open referral access.

How we listen to service users

We regularly seek service user feedback. For example, parent/carers are invited to complete a feedback questionnaire when we send written summaries of our work with children young people. We also do school surveys to find out views to improve our service delivery.

Accessibility of the service

We typically see children and families within the community (i.e. home and school visits) and will make arrangements to ensure we are fully accessible when appointments are arranged.

We use interpreters, translators, signers or accessibility equipment when needed.

Contact details

Brighton & Hove Inclusion Support Service (BHISS)