Positive evaluation of Educational Psychology Service

A validated self-evaluation (VSE) by Aberdeen City Council’s Educational Psychology Service (EPS) has recognised the creativity and enthusiasm of team members to be innovators and sector leaders in supporting the raising attainment agenda.

In January 2016 Aberdeen City Council’s Educational Psychology Service (EPS) arranged a number of self-evaluation activities over the course of a week as part of the EPS Validated Self-Evaluation (VSE) in conjunction with Education Scotland as part of a national two year review process.

During the week the EPS engaged with a wide range of internal and external partners including colleagues from Education Scotland. Across the eight self-evaluation activities a total of 47 internal partners from Education and Children’s Services (ECS) participated together with 22 external partners representing the NHS, parents and carers, young people, fostering agencies, North East Scotland College, Police Scotland, Skills Development Scotland and Third Sector colleagues.

The week provided opportunities for dynamic, honest discussion and debate with a clear focus on outcomes, actions and the evaluation of impact. Participants found the activities helped identify the unique contribution of the EPS and created the opportunity for the development of new ideas.

The VSE highlighted the following key points:

  • the strength of relationships on the ground with a wide range of partners;
  • the educational psychologists professional skillsets, knowledge base are highly valued and are used to help upskill others;
  • EPS research skills are particularly valued, including the ability to analyse and synthesise information;
  • recent changes in service delivery are impacting on the balance between case work and systemic work, enabling EPS to build capacity for new initiatives within the authority;
  • discussions with partners created a synergy for the emergence of new ideas which is contributing to the EPS Action Plan.

The VSE process created a synergy of new ideas for improvement, change and forward planning. An Action Plan has now been developed with a number of key objectives, which include:

  • EPS to support the raising attainment agenda for all children and young people in Aberdeen;
  • EPS to enhance the communication strategy to ensure stakeholders are fully aware of the range of activities in which the EPS is involved and to ensure internal communication systems are effective;
  • EPS to identify priorities for service delivery to improve ways of working and to contribute to local and national objectives;
  • EPS to create a leadership development framework to build capacity to deliver the reformulated service delivery model;
  • develop self-evaluation processes which will capture stakeholder feedback at all levels and contribute to strategic planning and improvements;
  • development of a joint protocol with social work and the virtual head teacher for working with looked after children and young people within and out with the city.

Aberdeen City Council’s Convener of Education and Children’s Services Committee Councillor Angela Taylor, said: “I would like to thank our colleagues within the council, external partners, our children and young people and their parents for their contribution to this evaluation process.

“It is clear from the self-evaluation that the Educational Psychology Service has a pivotal role in providing knowledge, expertise and good working relationships with all key partners, which will enable the service to continue to support the improvement agenda to achieve positive outcomes for children, young people and families in Aberdeen.”

Gayle Gorman, Director of Education and Children’s Services at Aberdeen City Council, said: “The Educational Psychology Service is committed to using psychology to improve the wellbeing of our children and young people, to promote equality, inclusion and resilience and support lifelong learning.

“I would also like to add my thanks to all the staff for their continued hard work and the quality of support they provide to children and families. By working together to meet these objectives we will ensure that we will empower our children and young people to achieve their potential.”