Becoming an Assistant Psychologist with EdPsychs

Your background, experience and committment 

If you have a First Class Degree or 2:1 Honours Degree in Psychology, or a BPS Accredited Masters Degree in Psychology, at least a years experience working in schools, are legally allowed to work in the UK and 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 and 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?

The role of an AP is to help the SENCo and Inclusion Manager implement advice, strategies, programmes and recommendations advanced by the school's link educational psychologist.

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. The role of the AP is to:

  • Support the overall work of the EP, Inclusion Manager and SENCo
  • Meet parents
  • Complete referral forms and secure informed, signed consent
  • Work directly alongside the EP
  • Observe EP consultations, assessments and work and help the school and family better understand EP work and findings
  • Complete structured observations, screeners, appropriate assessments and interviews
  • Implement EP recommendations: often training and supporting children, young people and students individually and in groups in a wide range of areas (follow the link to the AP training programme here for more information)
  • Train teaching assistants to deliver evidence based interventions in a number of areas including: phonics, reading, spelling, reading comprehension, maths, dyscalculia, working memory, anxiety, self-esteem, ASD and ADHD
  • Work with teachers to support students in their class
  • Provide school training on quality first teaching approaches in areas including memory, behaviour management, developing effective relationships, P4C and working with gifted and talented students
  • Baseline, track and evaluate interventions
  • Gather evidence to support the EHCP assessment process
  • Provide traded services training to other EdPsychs' schools
  • Support other APs in other EdPsychs' schools with joint training and support

An AP will also work in other roles based on the specific needs and requirements of their assigned school.

The AP role helps schools better embed EP recommendations and advice. APs in turn work alongside experienced EPs and SENCos, learn about how a professional psychologist works and become an integral part of an SEN team, all of which is aimed at directly applying psychology more effectively in schools to help all students learn and develop more effectively.

What does AP training with EdPsychs entail?

The AP training package has been refined and developed over the last three 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 (often a doctoral course tutor, or a former senior or principal psychologist)
  • Be supported by and work alongside a school SENCo or Inclusion Manager to better understand the SEND needs of a school
  • Have access to supervision from a Senior AP
  • Have a 10 day initial training and induction programme run by a range of experienced psychologists
  • Have a minimum of a further 10 core days of AP training and support with EdPsychs through the academic year. These sessions are delivered by experienced EPs, Professors of psychology, CBT practitioners, mindfulness experts, media professionals and experienced business coaches
  • Occasionally access EP training days
  • Learn about BPS professional criteria and actively implement these
  • Learn about the HCPC guidelines all EPs must adhere to
  • See how different EPs work
  • Learn how professional psychologists assess, formulate hypotheses and build professional programmes of support for students
  • Work collaboratively alongside other professionals (such as SALT, clinical psychologists, coaches, CBT practitioners and other professional therapists)
  • Run EP programmes and recommendations directly with young people and students to learn how people learn and develop their skills in a structured and psychological way
  • Work alongside experienced media professionals (former TV reporters, journalists and broadcasters) to develop interpersonal, training, PR and presentation skills
  • 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 what works best for teachers in a classroom
  • Learn how to build cognitively robust models of psychological training
  • Learn how modern EPs work to support schools

You can see the full EdPsychs AP training package by clicking here.

How do you become an AP with EdPsychs?

The AP roles with EdPsychs are highly sought and we have built an outstanding team of professionals. In the last three years we have had over 650 applications for a total of 37 AP roles (all based in London and surrounding areas), many of whom have a Masters or a First Class Honours in Psychology. Before you apply for an AP role, 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? Would you like to gain additional skills to help you become a professional psychologist? 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 that secured an AP contract were:

  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 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 and Geoff Petty)
  10. Able to show that they had a long term commitment to being a professional psychologist

 

The AP interview and recruitment process

EdPsychs recruit for APs on an ongoing basis starting in March each year through to August, but most APs are in role by July.  The AP recruitment process has three stages:

  • The initial EdPsychs application form (see below)
  • A 30-minute screener interview where you will explain why you would like to be an AP, what experience you can bring to the role and how you think children learn in the classroom from a psychological perspective. You will be interviewed by a panel of EPs and APs.
  • A second interview where you will answer 6 core questions on psychology. You will be given the questions in advance of the interview so that you can prepare and hopefully be more relaxed at the interview itself. You will then provide a ten minute presentation on an area of psychology (you will have a choice of presentation topics). You will be interviewed by a panel of EPs, APs and SENCos.

If you are successful, we will introduce you to potential schools, and if you like each other we will offer you a contract of employment with EdPsychs Ltd.

Apply to become an AP with EdPsychs Ltd

We currently have a team of 19 APs, and we expect up to 12 more AP roles to be available in the academic year 2018-2019.

Assistant Psychologists earn £15,015 a year and Senior Assistant Psychologists (who have been an AP with EdPsychs for a year) earn £17,020 for 39 weeks in term time only. You will also earn an induction bonus for completing your year.

Seniors can also earn £200 a day if they are training other schools.

APs are allowed to have other forms of income as long as they are available to schools in core school hours (usually 8.30-4pm in term time, but APs can negotiate this with their school).

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. EdPsychs do not train you to be an EP. This is the role of the doctoral programmes, and you will develop your own practice and thinking about the type of EP you would like to be across many years of working alongside different EPs on the doctoral programme, in local authorities and in your wider work as a professional psychologist.

The AP role with EdPsychs then is about learning to support an EP and SENCo in a school to better embed psychology within that school and to use evidence based psychological approaches to better support the whole school community.

Many of our APs would like to be an EP at some point though, and the AP role with EdPsychs Ltd allows you to gain experience working with many different EPs and associated professionals on a day to day basis, and it will ensure that you are effectively applying robust psychological approaches in your work. Some APs apply for the doctorate in their first year with EdPsychs, but others are more successful in their second year as a Senior AP as they have accessed the full Senior AP training package (where they often train alongside EPs).

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 and immerse themselves in the world of professional applied psychology.

In 2015-16, five of our APs applied for the doctoral courses, all received interviews and three secured a place on a doctoral programme.

In 2016-17, ten of our APs applied for the doctoral courses, all bar one received interviews and three progressed onto the doctorate.

In 2017-18, sixteen of our APs applied, and they have 26 interviews between them (and the doctoral interviews are still in process at time of writing).

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 their work. They also seem to find working with EdPsychs, being part of the team, having ongoing training and supervision and supporting educational psychologists in schools as a valuable, challenging and rewarding experience, and we hope that you will too.

If you are interested in applying for an AP role with EdPsychs, you can do so by clicking here.

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