Becoming an Assistant Psychologist with EdPsychs

Your background, experience and committment 

If you have a First Class Honours Degree or 2:1 Honours Degree in Psychology, or a BPS Accredited Master’s Degree in Psychology, experience working with children or in schools, are legally allowed to work in the UK and you would like to pursue a long-term career in psychology you may be interested in becoming an Assistant Psychologist (AP) with EdPsychs. You must have excellent social skills, be ethical, reliable, psychological and be fully conversant with BPS standards and be able to support a school full time in term time throughout the academic year.

What does an Assistant Psychologist do in schools?

APs work under the direct guidance and supervision of an Educational Psychologist (EP) and they help the EP support schools, parents, children and students on an ongoing basis. EdPsychs employ a team of APs to fulfil this role, and each AP works full-time in one school for at least one academic year, and most APs progress onto a second and third year with EdPsychs. The role of the AP is to:

  • Support the overall work of the EP
  • Work with the EP to support the Inclusion Manager, SENCo and wider school community
  • Meet parents and talk through the role of an EP, an AP, associated clinical and counselling psychologists and the referral process
  • Work directly alongside the EP and observe EP consultations, assessments and wider work and help the school and family better understand EP work, recommendations and findings
  • Complete observations, screeners, assessments and trackers that have been recommended by the EP
  • Work directly with students to run EP recommended interventions
  • Train and support children, young people and students individually and in groups on a wide range of areas (please follow the link to the AP training programme here for more information)
  • Train teaching assistants and school staff to deliver evidence-based interventions using EdPsychs training packs in a number of areas including: phonics, reading, spelling, reading comprehension, maths, dyscalculia, working memory, executive functioning, anxiety, self-esteem, ASD and ADHD
  • Work with EPs, teachers, parents and support staff and help implement EP advice to support students in class
  • Provide school training using EdPsychs’ training packs and materials in areas including working memory, executive functioning, metacognition, behaviour management, study skills, developing effective relationships, P4C, spiritual listening, understanding core values and working with gifted and talented students
  • Provide parent training and support using established programmes and resources
  • Help the school’s link EP implement the graduated response model of EP support in schools
  • Baseline, track and evaluate interventions
  • Gather evidence to support the ‘Plan, Do Review’ process where appropriate
  • Provide training using EdPsychs’ packages and programmes to schools in the wider EdPsychs community
  • Support other APs and Senior APs in other EdPsychs' schools with joint training and support
  • Be part of EdPsychs rapid qualitative research teams and evidence based practice research teams developing the evidence base of the company. This can include research, screener and profile development and wider school training. Each AP will need to build at least two evidence based practice videos per year (one in each term) and one school experience video each as part of their legacy for future APs
  • Develop training videos for schools, parents and staff under EP and researcher guidance
  • Complete company research on a range of projects
  • Complete Senior and Principal AP work when you progress into your second, third and fourth years with the company. This includes being part of EP training; learning about different supervision models; learning how to run consultations; advancing first year AP mentoring sessions and providing wider training and support across our schools as part of your outreach work. Third year APs run research groups; are trained on wider case analysis and work much more directly with Senior EPs in the company and support the work of the company Research, Leadership and Development Team (RLDT).

An AP, Senior AP or Principal AP will also work in other roles based on the specific needs and requirements of their assigned school. This year (2020-21) this has included supporting specialist SEMH and ASD bases and training teachers on advancing higher quality teaching and learning experiences for students in mainstream schools; supporting the setting up and running of nurture groups; supporting community psychology projects and helping EPs develop rapid qualitative research projects and action research projects.

The AP role helps schools better embed EP recommendations and advice, helps schools develop their own psychological understanding of students and ensures school resources are carefully and appropriately used to better support children, parents and the wider school community.

What does AP training with EdPsychs entail?

The company AP training package has been refined and developed over the last six years by experienced psychologists, SENCos and former doctoral course leaders to provide an in-depth and comprehensive package of support for both the AP and the school. It includes having opportunities to:

  • Be under the direct supervision and guidance of an experienced EP
  • Experience ongoing supervision, mentoring and support as part of the EdPsychs ‘nine layers of supervision’ model
  • Learn about HCPC practitioner psychologist guidelines and observe how EPs implement ethical, boundaried, client focused practice in schools
  • Learn about BPS professional criteria and actively implement these
  • See how different EPs work across all levels in a school
  • Be supported by and work alongside a school SENCo or Inclusion Manager to better understand the SEND needs of a school
  • Have a 10-day initial training and induction programme run by a range of experienced psychologists. In some years – we offer additional induction days to give you more learning opportunities (in 2020-21 there were 13 days of induction: ten core and three optional)
  • Have a minimum of a further 10 days of AP training and support with EdPsychs throughout the academic year. These sessions are delivered by experienced EPs, Professors of psychology, CBT practitioners, mindfulness experts, media professionals and experienced business coaches
  • Have ongoing access to further training, case analysis and discussions around evidence-based practice with your link EP in school
  • Access EP training days when you progress to becoming a Senior AP or Principal AP
  • Learn how professional psychologists assess, formulate hypotheses and build professional programmes of support for students in your work alongside your link EP in your school
  • Have opportunities to work collaboratively alongside other professionals (such as speech and language therapists, clinical psychologists, counselling psychologists, coaches, cognitive behaviour therapy practitioners and other professional therapists)
  • Run EP programmes and recommendations directly with young people and students
  • Work alongside experienced media professionals (former TV reporters, journalists, actors and broadcasters) to develop interpersonal, training and presentation skills (this is for APs in their second, third and fourth years with the company)
  • Be part of a collaborative team of APs working together to develop their skills base
  • Learn about cognitive, developmental and social psychology at a practical and applied level
  • Learn about the research base for supporting teachers in a classroom
  • Learn how modern EPs work to support schools

You can see the full EdPsychs AP training package for the academic year 2020-21 by clicking here.

How do you become an AP with EdPsychs?

Before you apply for an AP role with EdPsychs, the first thing you need to do is to accurately evaluate your own skill base.

Do you think you will make an excellent AP? Would you like to contribute to society? Are you a highly socially skilled and ethical person who can evaluate people well? And do people like you, trust your judgement and seek your advice?

The people who have the best chance of securing an AP role are:

  1. Ethical, likeable and trustworthy in their approach
  2. Able to interact professionally and respectively with the diversity of people in society
  3. Warm, open, agreeable and conscientious
  4. Reflective and evidence based in their thinking
  5. Able to conduct themselves in a professional manner: you will need to be warm, engaging, confident, highly articulate in English and highly motivated
  6. Highly socially skilled team players: psychology is a broad and ever changing discipline. As such, psychologists must work collaboratively together to talk, think, analyse, seek advice and collectively develop their skills. Our APs actively help each other and share good practice to be outstanding APs and, one day, hopefully, be professional psychologists
  7. Experienced working with children in schools
  8. Fluent in cognitive, social and developmental psychology.
  9. Able to talk about the evidence base around offering quality first teaching in a school (often citing cognitive psychology and the work of people like John Hattie, Geoff Petty, educational think tanks and the Education Endowment Foundation)
  10. Able to show that they had a long-term commitment to becoming a professional psychologist

You will need to say how you meet this person criteria in your online application, and you will then need to show these skills throughout the interview process to be successful.

The AP interview and recruitment process

EdPsychs recruit APs on an ongoing basis starting in March each year through to July. The AP recruitment process has three stages:

  • The initial EdPsychs application form (see below)
  • If successful, a 60-75 minute interview and presentation
  • If successful at this stage, we will then talk to you about your wider skills base and whether this can be matched to one of our schools

You will be interviewed by a panel of EPs and APs, and advance a presentation and the interview panel will ask you additional follow up questions to help you further explain your thinking and experiences.

If you are successful in the first two stages (above), we will then introduce you to potential schools, and if you like each other, we will then offer you a contract of employment with EdPsychs Ltd.

The AP roles with EdPsychs are highly sought after. For the academic year 2020-21, we received over 700 applications from psychology graduates and we interviewed 79 applicants. We started running an AP team in 2015-16 with nine APs, and this has gradually increased to a team of 28 Assistant Psychologists in the 2020-21 academic year, and we expect to have a similarly sized team in 2021-22.

AP Pay Scales

Assistant Psychologists work with the company in term time only (39 academic weeks of the year). As such this is a 0.75 contract which is paid at £20,027 pro rata in the first year (which means a first year AP earns £15,020 for these 39 weeks).

As these are 0.75 contracts, APs are allowed to have other forms of income as long as there is no conflict of interest with an EdPsychs’ AP role, and they are available to support schools in core hours (usually 8.30-4pm in term time, but APs can negotiate exact working hours with their host school). Many APs do personal tutoring, research and additional jobs in the school holidays.

Senior Assistant Psychologists (who have been an AP with EdPsychs for a year or more) earn £22,693 pro-rata (which equates to £17,020 for 39 weeks in term time only).

APs and Senior APs will also earn an induction bonus for completing each of their first, second and third year contracts and all normal employment and pension rights apply.

Senior APs can also work on company action research and evidence based practice projects and rapid qualitative research projects over the year. These are 100 hour projects and first year APs (who have agreed to do a future Senior role) and Senior APs need to apply internally for these roles in June of each year, and they are paid at Senior AP rates.

The AP Interview Process: Opening and Closing Dates

The application process has a number of rounds and the opening and closing dates are presented below:

Round 1

Applications open on Monday March 8th 2021. These applications and interviews are for schools who have confirmed their 2021-22 AP contracts (and we match the AP to the school). This year AP roles will be in Hillingdon, Harrow, Harringay, Enfield, Newham, Southwark, Lambeth, Greenwich, Sutton, Croydon and Kent.

We begin interviewing applicants on Wednesday 14th April 2021. After candidates are invited to interview, they will be asked to send a passport picture of themselves to attach to each application form.

The Round 1 application process closes on Friday 21st May 2021.

Interviews from Round 1 continue until Friday 28th May 2021.

We then collate the scoring from each of these interviews, discuss candidates and make decisions about whether these candidates could be potential APs with EdPsychs by Wednesday 2nd June 2021.

We will contact candidates from Round 1 in this week, and either:

      • Talk through successful interviews with candidates, discuss their skills profile and, if we can, match them to a school, and begin the process of offering them a contract of employment (checking references, qualifications and doing a DBS check). Once these all come in as being acceptable, we will then formally issue an AP contract of employment.
      • Or, in this week we send out notification emails to unsuccessful interview candidates with general advice around what successful interview candidates offered. Apologies, because of the number of interviews we complete, we cannot give out personalised interview feedback.

Round 2

Each year, some schools request AP contracts later in the summer term, and we have a Round 2 interview process for these schools. If your application is received after the Round 1 closing date (Friday 21st May 2021), your application will then be entered into the Round 2 application process if we still have schools left to allocate APs to.

Applications for Round 2 open on Monday 7th June 2021. These interviews are for schools who have confirmed their 2021-22 AP contracts later in the summer term than Round 1 schools (and again, we match the AP to the school). We will advertise these roles on LinkedIn.

We begin interviewing applicants for these schools on Wednesday 16th June. After candidates are invited to interview, they will be asked to send a passport picture of themselves to attach to each application form.

The Round 2 application process closes on Friday 30h July 2021.

Interviews from Round 2 continue until early August.

We will contact candidates from Round 2 in this week, and either:

      • Talk through successful interviews with candidates, discuss their skills profile and, if we can, match them to a school, begin the process of offering them a contract of employment (checking references, qualifications and doing a DBS check). Once these all come in as being acceptable, we will then formally issue an AP contract of employment.
      • Or, send out notification emails to unsuccessful interview candidates with general advice around what successful candidates offered. Apologies, because of the number of interviews we complete, we cannot give out personalised interview feedback.

The EdPsychs Induction core training starts on Wednesday 25th August, and APs start in schools on Thursday 9th September 2021.

If you are interested in applying for an AP role with EdPsychs you are welcome to apply online by clicking here

Doctoral Applications and Becoming an EP

Many potential APs ask about the doctoral application process in educational psychology. From our perspective, the key role of being an AP is to support the company EPs and schools. But of course, many of our APs would like to become educational psychologists. At time of writing (March 2021, with our APs still doing doctoral interviews for the 2021-22 course intakes) thirty seven of our former APs have progressed onto doctoral courses to train as educational psychologists.

EdPsychs do not train you to be an EP though. This is the role of the doctoral programmes, and you should look at the entrance criteria to be eligible for doctoral course applications on the AEP website at https://www.aep.org.uk/training/.

Some APs apply for the doctorate in their first year with EdPsychs, but most successful applicants were second or third year Senior APs as they have developed their skills over time and accessed the full Senior AP training packages (where they often train alongside EPs).

Given the level of investment we make into training and developing APs, we now have a strong preference for recruiting APs who see a career in psychology as a long term journey, where they will gradually develop their skills to make an outstanding contribution to the profession. As such you should really see an AP role with EdPsychs as a long term position.

Teamwork, co-operation and ongoing learning, discussion and supervision are core parts of the work of a successful psychologist. We ensure that APs work collaboratively together for the greater benefit of all. APs help each other to improve their expertise and professional practice, attend BPS events, discuss cases, develop psychological hypotheses with EPs and immerse themselves in the world of professional applied psychology.

EdPsychs will not prepare you for the application process as this is not our role. However, most APs support each other in their doctoral applications, discuss psychology, talk through areas of interest and help each other learn about applying evidence-based psychology in schools. APs can also join our TEP days in January and February where they meet some of our previous APs who are now on the doctoral courses or who have qualified as an educational psychologist. We are very proud of our AP team. APs seem to find working with EdPsychs, being part of the team, developing friendships, having ongoing training, mentoring and supervision and supporting educational psychologists in schools as a valuable, challenging and rewarding experience and we hope that you will too.

To apply to be an AP, please click on the following link to view the application page here

The AP Interview

If you are invited to interview, the interview process is presented below.

All AP interviews will be completed online this year. Each interview should last between 60-75 minutes. At interview you will be asked:

  1. To talk through your previous academic and employment experience and how you have applied psychology in your work
  2. To talk through your understanding of what an AP does at EdPsychs
  3. To talk through your understanding of what an EP does at EdPsychs
  4. To explain how you think people learn (using your up to date understanding of psychological research and theory)
  5. To pick one of the following areas, and advance a ten minute presentation on either:
    1. How research in teaching and learning can be used to further develop quality first teaching in schools or
    2. How research around wellbeing and developing good mental health can be used to better support children and students or
    3. How education is organised in other countries can inform UK education and educational psychology practice or
    4. How you think schools will need to develop and better apply psychology to help children and students re-integrate and catch up after lockdown or
    5. How psychology can be used to increase social mobility and social opportunity in the UK or
    6. How psychology can be used to help more able children and students enjoy education and learn and develop more or
    7. How software and information technology can be better used to support teaching and learning in education using examples of effective programmes
    8. How evolutionary psychology can be used to improve the educational experience of children and students

All interviews and presentations are on Zoom, so you can do a screen share if you would like to.

We will also ask follow up questions on your presentation and also on your thinking and answers throughout the interview process, and we will also ask one mystery question to explore your thinking and experience further.

You will have opportunities at the end of the interview to ask questions of your own. Good luck! We hope you enjoy the interview process, and the link to apply is presented again here

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