coproduction and parent participation

Educational Psychology Session

In December 2023 we held a session with parents and carers, to discuss their experiences of the Bolton Council Educational Psychology Service.
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We were joined at the session by Sue Cornwell, Principal Educational Psychologist and Jayne Smith, Educational Psychologist. 12 parents and carers, all who have had experience of the council service joined the session.

The aim of the session

Sue Cornwell wanted to understand more about how parents and carers feel the educational psychology team could improve how they work with parents. This was specifically around the council EP team, and not the general use of EP’s by settings in Bolton.

To do this we broke the session down into sections:

1 Discussing experiences running up to the educational psychologist’s involvement.

2 Understanding what parents thought the EP assessment would encompass.

3 Discussing how parents understood the assessment of their child or young person.

4 What could be improved.

What was discussed?

1 Discussing experiences running up to the educational psychologist’s involvement.

  • Parents shared that it was hard to understand when an EP is required
  • Several parents shared that the educational setting had been slow to involve the EP
  • The mention of cost of ‘getting an EP’ was given by schools for not progressing
  • It felt like a fight to get the EP in
  • Other professionals had recommended an EP assessment

2 Understanding what parents thought the EP assessment would encompass.

  • Confusion over what the EP would be doing – a full assessment or an observation
  • Parents shared that they had no idea what the assessment would entail until they spoke to the EP themselves
  • Parents weren’t sure how settings prepared their child or young person for the assessment

3 Discussing how parents understood the results of the assessment of their child or young person.

  • Overwhelmingly parents shared that when they spoke with the EP assigned to their child or young person they had excellent experiences.
  • There was a little confusion fed back about the order in which the post-assessment stages take place
  • Reports were considered to be very good, however sometimes a bit more time to fully understand the contents would be appreciated – especially cognitive scoring. It was felt that settings weren’t always able to explain this.
  • The time taken by EP’s to talk to parents was appreciated.
  • Parents related that settings who saw council EP reports who did not use the council service were impressed with the quality.

4 What could be improved.

  • Settings to be better equiped to talk to parents about EP observations and assessments
  • Consider how children and especially young people could be included in the post-assessment phase, to helo them understand their strengths and needs, where appropriate
  • Being able to return to the EP once the report is coimpleted for an additional chat about the report (the process is currently that the EP has a feedback meeting post-assessment, but prior to finalising the report.)
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