Training, research and development

Training, Research and Development

In Scotland, supporting teaching colleagues with aspects of their professional development (termed Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL)) fits within the five core functions of an Educational Psychologist (EP). As applied psychologists, our familiarity with models of adult learning, organisational development, research methods and the literature relating to effective teaching and learning has made EPs key partners in this process. EPs deliver professional learning to a range of audiences, including: teachers, support staff, other agencies and parents and carers.

Evidence on effectiveness of training suggests that ‘one-off’ presentations are not sufficient to change practice. Therefore, the training we offer is linked to School Improvement Plans, cluster and authority needs. This enables capacity building and a process for evaluating outcomes and impact. Our CLPL is currently focusing on key areas, namely: nurturing approaches; restorative; literacy; growth mind-set and mental health first aid. Training targeted at specific needs, for instance, autism, is also available on request.

Positive Relationship Approaches

An improvement focus this year has been the development of Positive Relationship approaches across the Authority, great progress has been achieved in developing nurture and restorative practices in our schools. The majority of primary and secondary establishments have benefited from the team’s involvement in developing nurturing approaches, receiving CLPL and ongoing consultation, both at a targeted and universal level. This has resulted in schools carrying out development work across a range of areas including the creation of nurture groups and responding to distressed behavior through time for staff reflection on their own responses and the creation of detailed support plans for individual pupils. Initial findings from one of our new nurture groups shows class teachers reporting positive change in pupils in class. In terms of dealing with distressed behaviour, increased staff confidence and a decrease in the frequency and severity have been noted.

Support Staff Conference

The service collaborated with Health colleagues, Family Led Information Point and the Champions’ Board to run another successful support staff conference in August 2017. This was an exciting opportunity to build the capacity of support staff to meet the needs of all learners. The event was positively evaluated; delegates reported that workshops were inspiring, informative and reassuring, supporting new skills and building confidence.

Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)

VIG continues to be used to support understanding of how relationships impact on both wellbeing and learning. Families, teachers and learning assistants have benefitted from this approach; and the training of new guiders continues.

Kent Educational Psychology Service has an engaging video explaining more about this approach.