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 Special Education Needs

People & Roles -


Educational psychologists have undertaken higher level university study and are also experienced teachers. They work in all sectors of the education system including child development clinics for pre-school children, where many children with potential learning difficulties can be identified early.

Each school has the services of a psychologist; this is organised in different ways depending on which ELB the school is in. The school may have been allocated a specific number of days of the psychologist's time, or school's wishing help may be placed on a waiting list.

Educational psychologists are able to help teachers and pupils in a variety of ways, including:

  • giving advice to individual teachers in relation to particular pupils (this should be requested through the SENCO)
  • running inset courses to schools on particular needs
  • carrying out individual assessment for KS3 pupils
  • intervention work such as counselling, behaviour management and student study skills
  • therapeutic work

When a child has been assessed by the teacher and the SENCO/Resource Teacher as having special educational needs likely to result in a need for additional learning support, it may be considered that he/she or she needs to be assessed in more detail by a specialist. At present many of the support services have to be accessed through the recommendation of an educational psychologist. In Northern Ireland this is likely to happen when a child is at Stage 3 of the Code of Practice.

If learning support is considered to be necessary, a psychologist will spend some time on a one-to-one basis with the child, performing tests to assess strengths and weaknesses necessary for effective learning, e.g. short-term memory, visual and auditory memory and discrimination. (including possibly the WISC tests)

 The findings will be written up in a report which will give recommendations to the teacher and SENCO/Resource Teacher from which an Education Plan will be devised.


Further Information

Online advice on various issues from an educational psychologist.

Understanding Educational Psychologist Reports


Acknowledgements & Copyright