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Bristol City Council

About Bristol City Council

We are active in looking for ways to apply psychology to help address the needs of schools, children and parents. We are continuing to develop innovative ways of working with our client groups that will have the greatest impact on achievement for all children. In a recent OFSTED report on Bristol LEA the psychology service was described as being ‘held – more... in high regard by most schools' . Consistently, schools rate our services as above average in comparison with other LEAs who have been part of the inspection process.

Since September 1998, the service has adopted a Consultation framework approach for delivery of its service to schools. This has proved highly successful and has been well received by schools, and by parents, as it provides increased opportunities for the psychologist to make a difference to children and schools.

To facilitate effective working practices each school is provided with a named psychologist and an allocation of visits, in proportion to need, based on proxy indicators such as free school meals, the number of highly resourced statements as well as the number of pupils on roll. During regular visits, the psychologist is able to offer advice on how best to overcome difficulties and also work to help prevent difficulties arising in the first place. The agenda for the psychologist's visit is jointly determined with the school and will include joint prioritising about the use of allocated time.

In Bristol the EPS continues to play a significant role in identifying and assessing children and young people with special educational needs. The service has a crucial role to play in evaluating the strategies that have been implemented by schools, and in supporting the inclusion of children with increasingly complex needs within mainstream schools.

Importantly, the Bristol Psychology Service is also widely involved in approaches that are intended to have an impact at a more systemic or wider level than individual casework. We are exploring developments in the areas of organisational and occupational psychology that can be applied to ‘schools as organisations'. Every psychologist is encouraged to contribute to these developments.

Through a generous time allocation to the Educational Development Plan the service is currently working in areas such as:

Improving behaviour in secondary schools
Emotional literacy
Motivation (‘You can do it!')
Gifted and talented pupils
Thinking skills
Memory research and strategies
The literacy hour and SEN
Research projects , for example on Phonographix, attendance, multiagency working

The service also plays an important role in supporting schools in difficulties. The service has taken a lead on re-engineering the LEA's statutory assessment process, and the introduction of a school-based special needs assessment process (SSENA). This has resulted in a reduction in statutory assessments and an increase in the availability of psychologists to problem-solve alongside parents and schools. We have also had a significant role in developing the LEA's early years strategy.

The service is strongly committed to delivering a high quality, effective and efficient service to schools. We have introduced quality and standards systems for monitoring and improving our work: we regularly gather feedback on the quality of our consultations, the quality of our advice for statutory assessments, and other key indicators.

The service is also committed to the professional development of its staff through a programme of individual training and development reviews and has introduced significant whole service developments, via a substantial investment in whole service training.

The service has established close links with the University of Bristol Educational Psychology training course. – lessMore from ZoomInfo »

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