Sarah shares her experience of working as an Educational Psychologist with the National Educational Psychological Service. Sarah tells us she joined the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) for the opportunity to work consultatively with schools and to support schools to make systemic changes so as to develop their supports for children and young people with additional needs.
What was your education path to becoming an Educational Psychologist?
I did an undergraduate degree in Applied Psychology, gained several years of experience in the education and mental health sectors, and returned to complete a master’s in educational psychology.
What does your role entail as an Educational Psychologist in National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)?
Supporting the personal, social and educational development of all children through the application of psychological theory and research in education, having particular regard for children with special educational needs. NEPS delivers a range of services to support schools applying the ‘Continuum of Support’.
This involves supporting schools with developing their “support for all” through training and consultation. This can involve promoting whole school initiatives, upskilling teachers on various topics relating to special education, wellbeing, or classroom management, or it can involve supporting schools to develop their internal structures for ensuring children with additional needs get the supports they need. At the “support for some” level, the role involves consulting with schools and contributing to school support plans for children with additional needs. It can also involve building teacher capacity by providing generic advice to schools regarding specific challenges. At the “support for a few” level, it involves in-depth information gathering in order to further inform school support planning for those students with the highest level of need. This often involves linking children and families in with external support services when available.
What were your reasons for joining the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)?
I joined NEPS for the opportunity to work consultatively with schools and to support schools to make systemic changes so as to develop their supports for children and young people with additional needs. I hope to contribute to building a system that is trauma-informed, disability aware and socially just.
What opportunities has this role provided you with?
Opportunities for continual professional development, professional self-reflection and constant on-the-job learning. The role has provided me with an insider view of the Irish Education system at all levels.
What aspect of your role as a psychologist in the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) do you particularly enjoy?
The autonomy to pursue my areas of interest in the field of psychology and apply them in my work.
Would you recommend a career in the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)?
Yes, although there are certainly challenges working with an over-stretched mental health system, it is a varied, stimulating and rewarding role.