The role of an educational psychologist

Educational psychologists in Scotland aim to improve the life chances of all children and young people. Working within local authorities and in partnership with families and other services, we use applied psychology and knowledge of child development to address inequalities, support vulnerability and enhance inclusion.

We seek to ensure that children and young people realise their potential to become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.

We do this by:

  • working with our partners, through GIRFEC, to ensure that children and young people are safe, healthy, active, nurtured, achieving, respected, responsible and included
  • carrying out assessment based on the wellbeing indicators to inform how best to meet the needs of the child or young person
  • approaching assessment as an ongoing process, as opposed to a set of one off tests that takes place in their school or nursery
  • ensuring the child or young person’s voice is captured, heard and taken into account
  • working with schools to think about the needs of the whole child or young person - reaching solutions which overcome barriers to learning and wellbeing by building on the strengths and assets of individual children and their families
  • empowering people to solve challenges for and with children and young people by reflecting - identifying priorities and planning small, practical next steps
  • contributing to decision making, by giving information and advice to help others make informed choices about children and young people
  • raising awareness of the crucial role of relationships, communication and nurture in children's lives
  • designing and implementing interventions which support individuals and communities to grow, develop and build resilience
  • developing the skills of other professionals through training, using evidence informed approaches, for example working with teachers and early year’s staff to improve children's wellbeing, achievement and attainment
  • highlighting the interactive nature of assessment - teaching and learning so adults and children can build new ways of responding to each other
  • using research to inform the development of universal, additional and targeted services and the implementation of effective interventions in local authorities
  • supporting effective transitions (early years into primary, primary to secondary and secondary to post school) to ensure children and young people feel safe and secure - because only then will they be able to progress and grow in their next stage