Children sitting around a table at school

Scottish Division of Educational Psychology

The Scottish Division of Educational Psychology represents the distinct context of Scotland with its own issues and practice, shaped by separate legislation and policy setting mechanism.

About

The primary purpose of the Scottish Division of Education Psychology (SDEP) is to promote and disseminate knowledge appropriate to the fields of educational psychology and to be concerned with all matters affecting the standards of professional competence, training and conduct of its members.

The SDEP also aims to represent the profession on various national working groups. 

What else does the SDEP do?

  • Communicates regularly with members via the SDEP Announce list. 
  • Contributes to the continuing professional development of the Scottish Educational Psychologists through arranging and planning specific training opportunities and conferences at national level. 
  • Encourages the development of networks of Educational Psychologists to exchange skills, knowledge, perspectives on ethics, standards and codes of conduct etc.
  • Has a voice in issues relating to the future of the profession, including through representation on the Educational Institute of Scotland Joint Forum and the Scottish Government workforce planning group.
  • Has links with Education Scotland, the EIS, COSLA, ADES, ASPEP and the Scottish Government around matters of education and additional support needs
  • In conjunction with the SDEP training committee, has a role in quality assurance in the selection process for postgraduate students training as Educational Psychologists
  • Is influential, in conjunction with the SDEP Training Committee, in the selection process for postgraduate students training as Educational Psychologists.
  • Produces a regular journal for members, Educational Psychology in Scotland
  • The SDEP links to the Society and ensures that Scottish Educational Psychologists contribute to national working parties both within the BPS and with multi-agency working groups.
  • The SDEP Training Committee monitors and encourages postgraduate training, having a responsibility to accredit courses in Scotland.
  • The SDEP Training Committee has a responsibility to accredit Local Authority Educational Psychology Services to support Educational Psychologists (Probationers).

Read our communications overview

Scottish Division of Educational Psychology

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Scottish Division of Educational Psychology

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Becoming an Educational Psychologist

What does an Educational Psychologist in Scotland do?

Educational Psychologists in Scotland aim to improve the life chances of all.  In fulfilling this aim the role of the educational psychologist is varied in regard the activities engaged in, the focus of work and the populations being worked with/alongside.  This variability is one of the frequently cited reasons why Educational Psychologists in Scotland enjoy their job. 

The work of Educational Psychologists is extensive, covering mainstream and special sectors relating to teaching and learning, behaviour and development. Work is carried out with, or for children and young people aged 0-24 years, parents and carers, educational establishments, education management, as well as a range of agencies, such as social work services and health.

All Educational Psychologists are expected to conform to the standards exemplified in The BPS (British Psychological Society) Code of Ethics and Conduct (2009). Educational psychologists must also be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). 

The majority of Educational Psychologists working in Scotland are employed by the Local Authority Educational Psychology Service or Psychological Service. There is a statutory duty on every education authority in Scotland to provide a psychological service for their area.  Educational Psychology Services contribute to local and national priorities.  Broad aims of services include enhancing social inclusion, social and emotional well-being of young people and families, and raising attainment. 

The 5 core functions of a Psychological Service were defined by the SEED as:

  1. Assessment
  2. Consultation
  3. Intervention
  4. Research
  5. Training

Furthermore, the core functions performed by Educational Psychologists were identified as being carried out at the following levels:

  • Child and Family
  • Educational Authority/Council/National
  • School or Establishment
Assessment

Assessment is a process that involves the gathering of information from a variety of sources in a range of settings over a period of time. It necessarily involves parents, carers, teachers, and children and young people. The purpose of assessment is to inform future intervention and therefore it encompasses cognitive, emotional and social factors. The ultimate aim of effective Educational Psychology assessment is to limit the effects of barriers to learning and to promote inclusion of the child or young person. Assessment may be based on direct or indirect involvement with the child and by a combination of both. Information gathered from others may be supplemented by approaches including classroom observation, analysis or work, questionnaires, curriculum-based assessment and use of recognised assessment tools where appropriate. Educational Psychologists in Scotland operate in accordance with current practice as summarised in Educational Psychology Assessment in Scotland (2014), compiled on behalf of ASPEP (Association of Principal Educational Psychologists) and SDEP) the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology).

Consultation

Educational Psychologists provide a wide range of advice and consultancy to service users and educational establishments. They advise and support education management in relation to children and young people with additional support needs. Consultation around individual or groups of children and young people has the aim of promoting inclusion for all. Many Educational Psychology Services work through a consultation model of service delivery, which is a collaborative, preventative, problem solving approach. By working with and through the main people involved, in order to facilitate change, Educational Psychologists use psychology to empower others to solve problems.

Intervention

Educational Psychologists offer a wide range of evidence-informed interventions to service users in relation to individual, or groups of, children and young people with additional support needs. Effective interventions aim to foster collaborative working and the sharing of professional skills.

Examples of interventions carried out by Educational Psychologists include: contributions to local-authority wide interventions (solution-oriented approaches, motivated schools, alternatives to exclusion, promoting inclusion), contribution to whole establishment interventions (raising achievement, anti-bullying, promoting positive playgrounds), contribution to devising behaviour management and individual education plans and working with small groups. 

Intervention methods are based on best practice and conform to the British Psychological Society's Code of Ethics and Conduct. Interventions are carefully planned and implemented on the basis of agreed action plans. They are designed to be effective but also minimal, unobtrusive, efficient and equitable, and should co-ordinate with work being done by colleagues from other professions.

Research

A growing area of the Educational Psychologists core work is that of research. Research is a main strand of all psychology disciplines and an Educational Psychologist's training has a large focus on experimental design both in clinical and real world settings, research methodologies, data collection and analysis. Working within education, Educational Psychologists are in a key position to support and carry out research to evolve an evidence base for educational practice, inform policy and strategy, explore new ideas and to evaluate and encourage reflective practice.

Training

Educational Psychologists are well placed to offer and support training to a range of service providers and educational establishments. Training offers an opportunity for educational psychologists to support others in linking research and psychological theory with practice. Educational Psychologists have knowledge of learning, behaviour and development of children and young people as well as an understanding of the systems they are working in including the local and national contexts and policy and legislative frameworks. Training should be based on assessment of the needs of the learners to identify the most appropriate training and the most suitable way of conveying information. It should be evaluated and followed-up in order to facilitate the utilisation of newly acquired information and skills in practice.

Work Carried out by Educational Psychologists

The majority of Local Authority Educational Psychology Services have websites which provide more specific details about the work carried out locally, and the structure of the Service.  A number of Services highlight the following as being central to the practice of Educational Psychologists:

  • Adopting a child-centred approach
  • Adopting a "most effective, least intrusive" approach to assessment and intervention
  • Collaboration – with other professionals, families and children and young people
  • Confidentiality and ethics
  • Promoting and enhancing effective learning and teaching
  • Promoting and enhancing emotional / psychological well-being
  • Promoting social justice
  • Promoting and supporting inclusion for all
  • Supporting children and young people to achieve their potential
  • Supporting children and young people to fulfill the goals of Curriculum for Excellence
  • The use of evidence to inform and innovate

Examples of Educational Psychology practice include:

  • Building resilience in children
  • Community psychology approaches
  • Enhancing emotional wellbeing and emotional literacy
  • Supporting the development of nurturing approaches and inclusion
  • Supporting vulnerable learners with transitions
  • Thinking skills work around mindsets
  • Use of positive psychology in interventions
  • Working to support difficulties in relation to attachment and loss
  • WOWW: working on what works, to improve classroom behaviour and relationships

Trainees

Accredited courses & training programmes

Accreditation through partnership is the process by which the Society works to ensure that quality standards in education and training are met.

The Society accredits undergraduate, postgraduate and conversion courses.

Becoming an Educational Psychologist in Scotland
Educational Psychology Services

Educational Psychologists are typically employed by a Local Authority, Educational Psychology Service or Psychological Service accredited by the SDEP.

Pay Scales

Pay and conditions are negotiated in Scotland by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT).

Qualification in Educational Psychology (Scotland)

The Qualification in Educational Psychology (Scotland) (QEP(S)) offers the independent route to completion of stage 2 training for those who are employed as educational psychologists (probationers).

Standards for Placements for Trainee Educational Psychologists in Psychological Services in Scotland

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Standards for Placements for Trainee Educational Psychologists in Psychological Services in Scotland

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Useful links

Two young women are standing at a whiteboard. They are working on a maths problem, with help from their teacher.

Educational Psychology in Scotland is produced by the Scottish Division of Education Psychology.

The publication focuses on practice issues relevant to the profession of educational psychology and is not peer reviewed.

Latest issues

  • Periodicals

Delivering the promise: Embedding care experienced young people’s voices into education planning and service design - Educational Psychology in Scotland

Volume: 23 Issue: 1

Author(s): Caroline Gos

Scottish Division of Educational Psychology
  • Periodicals

Editorial - Educational Psychology in Scotland

Volume: 23 Issue: 1

Author(s): Linden Hampton

Scottish Division of Educational Psychology
  • Periodicals

What helps your mental health? ‘People being interested in your experience, sincerely’: A participatory action research study with LGBTQ+ young people in Argyll and Bute - Educational Psychology in Scotland

Volume: 23 Issue: 1

Author(s): Stuart Craig, Mhairi Irvine

Scottish Division of Educational Psychology
  • Periodicals

Partnership working between educational psychology services and the virtual school - Educational Psychology in Scotland

Volume: 23 Issue: 1

Author(s): Kimberley Thompson-Kerr, Emma Veldon

Scottish Division of Educational Psychology
  • Periodicals

Supporting professional development in the early years: A strategic approach - Educational Psychology in Scotland

Volume: 23 Issue: 1

Author(s): Larissa Cunningham, Penny Papalexandropoulou, Vanessa Pignataro, Katherine Vezza

Scottish Division of Educational Psychology

Considering a Career in Educational Psychology?

Current Pay Scales

  • Maingrade Educational Psychologist: Point 0-6 £39,144 – 49,791
  • Management Spine: Points 1-9; £52,890-61,296
  • Senior Educational Educational Psychologist: Point 1 £52,890

Pay and conditions are negotiated in Scotland by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT). 

Doctorates in Educational Psychology

There are a number of Universities in Scotland that offer a postgraduate course in educational psychology usually known as a Doctorate in Educational Psychology. These courses do not offer a route to becoming an educational psychologist. They are an additional qualification that educational psychologists (or others) that are interested in an academic exploration of the field of educational psychology can undertake. The difference is that this course is not accredited training in applied educational psychology.

This differs from a Doctorate in Educational Psychology available in other parts of the United Kingdom, which are accredited by the BPS as a course in applied psychology and form the basis of training to become a chartered educational psychologist.

Candidates that are interested should check with the University whether the qualification they are offering is accredited by the BPS as a qualification in applied educational psychology.

Educational Psychology/Research Assistants

A number of Local Authorities in Scotland are employing Educational Psychology Assistants and Research Assistants to support the work of qualified educational psychologists.

These posts are usually available to Graduates who have gained the Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR). These posts are a useful way of gaining relevant experience for those who wish to gain a place on an MSc Educational Psychology course. Salaries for these posts are at the discretion of the employer.

How do I become an Educational Psychologist in Scotland?

In Scotland, all psychologists employed by local authorities must be Registered Psychologists with the Health Care Professions Council, or be completing the Qualification in Educational Psychology (Scotland) Stage 2 with the aim of registering with the Health Care Professions Council.

Training to become an Educational Psychologist

In Scotland, the post-graduate training route for Educational Psychology involves;

  • A BPS accredited MSc in Educational Psychology (two years full time)
  • One year supervised practice in an accredited Psychological Service while completing the Qualification in Educational Psychology (Scotland) Stage 2. 

The minimum entry requirement for the MSc courses includes:

  • Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) with the British Psychological Society. The easiest way to achieve this is to gain an accredited honours degree.
  • 2 years (minimum) of relevant experience

The MSc in Educational Psychology is available at both the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde.

The year of supervised practice requires to be in an accredited Psychological Service and Probationer Psychologists are paid at salary scale point 0.

What is relevant experience and how do I get it?

You must also have at least the equivalent of a minimum of two years' full-time work experience with children, young people and/or their families on entry to the programme. Examples of relevant experience would include work as a teacher in schools or further education, or as a teaching assistant, social work assistant, residential child care officer, community education worker, youth club worker, literacy tutor, assistant psychologist (clinical or educational), research assistant (in some cases), careers adviser and so on. Relevant paid and voluntary, part-time and full-time work can be taken into account. Work undertaken must be clearly set out in the application with dates and information regarding full time equivalence.

Voluntary experience of various kinds may assist applicants in demonstrating a breadth of relevant experience. Whatever kind of work has been done, courses will be primarily interested in what applicants have learnt from their experiences that is relevant to work as an educational psychologist, and how they have been able to apply the knowledge of psychology gained through first degrees.

Where are jobs advertised?

Job opportunities for qualified educational psychologists in Scotland are good. There are 31 employing local authorities and vacancies are common. Most newly qualified educational psychologists will be employed by the Local Authority, Educational Psychology Service (EPS) or Psychological Services accredited by the SDEP.

Positions are commonly advertised within the national press, e.g. The Times Educational Supplement (TES) and Times Educational Supplement (Scotland), The Herald and The Scotsman. The majority of Local Authority Educational Psychology Services also advertise positions on My Job Scotland.

Some Educational Psychology posts are advertised along with a range of other psychologist posts at all levels in the Society's Appointments Memorandum which is sent to members each month. Posts are also advertised in the Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP) appointment memorandum, which is sent monthly to members.

Working as an Independent Educational Psychologist

Some educational psychologists work wholly or partly in private practice. The Society published Guidelines on Private Practice as a Psychologist

Qualification in Educational Psychology (Scotland) (Stage 2)

The Qualification in Educational Psychology (Scotland) (QEP(S)) offers the independent route to completion of stage 2 training for those who are employed as educational psychologists (probationers).

Successful completion of the QEP(S) leads to eligibility for Chartered membership with the Society, full membership of the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology, and eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council, the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists in the UK.

Find out more about the Qualification in Educational Psychology (Scotland) (Stage 2)

Committee

Chair: William Corral

Past Chair: Vacant

Honorary Treasurer: Elaine Robertson

Honorary Secretary: Vacant

Committee members:

  • Emma Hamill
  • James McTaggart
  • Larissa Cunningham
  • Linden Hampton
  • Lynne Fernie
  • Sabrina Collins
  • Shonagh Anderson
  • Kerry Mitchell
  • Tracy Burke

EIS Joint Forum Representative: Anne Wilson 

Ethics Representative: Vacant

Membership of the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology is only open to members of the British Psychological Society.

If you are not already a member you can join the SDEP at the same time as applying for membership of the society.

There are three grades of divisional membership:

  • Full Divisional membership - £30

    For fully qualified psychologists who are eligible for Chartered Status.

  • In-training Divisional membership - £15

    For psychologists in-training who hold Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership and are working towards Chartered status and Full Divisional membership.

  • General Divisional membership - £30

    For members who are not currently eligible for the above grades, to join as a General Member.

Apply to join the SDEP (students, affiliates, e-subscribers)

Apply to join the SDEP (graduate, chartered, and in-training members)

 

Benefits of belonging

Why join the division?

When you become a member of the SDEP you gain a professional voice and receive many essential benefits.

These include:

  • The option to attend our Annual Conference

    Attend high quality presentations, present a poster or a paper and meet other members of SDEP at our annual conference – at exclusive low rates.

  • Additional opportunities for Continuing Professional Development

    Enjoy preferential rates for Professional Development workshops, offering comprehensive CPD opportunities, designed annually to meet the training needs of division members.

  • Access to our Educational Psychology in Scotland publication

    Receive an hard copy of EPiS delivered right to your door.

  • The chance to take part in the development and direction of the division

    Join the SDEP committee and influence the profession's development by playing a part in policy decisions and other working groups.

Member announcement email list

The Scottish Division of Educational Psychology (SDEP) uses its membership announcement email list to inform its members of activities and initiatives that are relevant to their interests and to make requests for engagement on topical issues.

The Scottish Division of Educational Psychology (SDEP) uses its e-newsletter to inform its members of activities and initiatives that are relevant to their interests and to make requests for engagement on topical issues.

To receive this, you will need to:

  1. become a member of the SDEP
  2. check your email preferences that you have opted into receiving emails
  3. ensure that your email address is correct

You can check your preferences by logging into your member portal.

If you have any queries, please contact Member Network support - SDEP.

To assist us in responding to your query please make sure to include your membership number and quote 'SDEP announcement email' in the subject line.

Getting involved with the SDEP Committee

The Scottish Division of Educational Psychology relies on a wide range of people getting involved, and the work of the Division is largely achieved through the dedication of unpaid volunteers.

Our volunteers come from a wide range of different backgrounds, whether they be practitioners or academics, or full members or in-training members, and together form an open and inclusive community.  

If you would like to become involved in the executive please come along to the Annual General Meeting and volunteer. The AGM is always held at the annual conference in September.

To get elected you need to complete a form and have two members of the SDEP support your nomination. Elections will be held at the AGM.  

SDEP Committee

The committee consists of four executive posts: the chair, the secretary, the treasurer and membership secretary. In addition there is a past chair and up to six ordinary members and up to three co-opted members. Committee members sit for three years subject to re-election at the AGM.

SDEP Training Committee

The Training Committee of the SDEP is separate to the executive. The committee plays an important role within the BPS validating the training courses and accrediting services for supervising Educational Psychologists (Probationers).

The Training Committee meets four times a year and consists of members of the SDEP and six standing members.

The six standing members are the directors of the two training courses in Scotland, a student representative from each of the training courses, a representative from the probationers' network and an administrator from the British Psychological Society Head Office.

The SDEP Training Committee appoints a chair person and a past chair. Committee members sit for three years subject to re-election at the AGM. They can extend their stay on the committee for a further 3 years at the AGM.