Research & Development Activities

Updated: 12/05/22

EPSS is keen to support development of new and more effective ways of supporting children and young people.


Current development projects

  • My New School: The My New School intervention emerged in 2016, when a local school identified a need to strengthen the resiliency of students with special educational needs (SEN) during the process of transition to secondary school. The intervention’s unique feature is that it is based on pupils’ ideas and has been developed through collaboration with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinators, (SENDCos) Educational Psychologists and Assistant Educational Psychologists. Several stages of refinement were completed before the final products; a booklet and facilitator’s handbook were produced. The My New School intervention is currently being extended to all the schools in Norwich and interested schools across Norfolk and England. The intervention is suitable for children who are on the SEN register, identified as less likely to form and express confident views, as well as those who have been identified by the school as taking longer to adapt to changes in the environment. For further information about the My New School intervention and training, contact Dr Helena Bunn, or To view a video clip, featuring the views of students and SENDCos who were involved in the project click here.
  • The Wellbeing Toolkit: A skills-based training programme for staff in schools on using therapeutic tools to foster social and emotional development in children and young people. This programme has been developed by colleagues at the University of East London and the Nurture Group Network. The EPSS team is at the forefront of delivering this programme to schools across Norfolk and evaluating its impact. The 20 session training programme is available to all schools who wish to attend. Queries should be directed to Ms. Rita Adair in the first instance.
  • Person-Centred Reviews (PCRs): This is a new development project looking at how PCRs can be used to enable the child to communicate their aspirations, fears, strengths and areas for development to a network of supporters (i.e. parents, school staff and other professionals). Collectively, with the support of a facilitator, this network uses the PCR process to find effective and creative solutions which form the basis of a live action plan (i.e. the focus is on ‘doing’). It is hoped that by offering a PCR at an early stage, the Local Offer and support services can be explored and help identify and offer early help. The research element is anticipated to involve a range of stakeholders in order to develop a PCR process which meets the needs of Norfolk residents. Queries should be directed to Dr Nick Hammond in the first instance.
  • Research Assistants: As well as its intern and AEP programmes, the team is currently developing the idea of introducing research assistants (RAs) to the team. It is anticipated that RAs will work on grassroots research projects to develop innovative and pioneering interventions, processes and assessments. In turn this will provide communities in Norfolk and beyond with creative ways of working which best meet the needs of children, young people and their families. Queries should be directed to Dr James Thatcher in the first instance.
  • Assistant EP Projects: Our Assistant EPs are currently involved in a number of activities including implementing A.R.R.O.W. ™ interventions, and exploring how the SEN Code of Practice is being used within early years settings. This innovative project is nationally relevant given the limited research in this area. In Norfolk, developing professional understanding of how this guidance is being used will be crucial in targeting early help and supporting children and families through the new statutory processes. Queries should be directed to Dr Helena Bunn in the first instance.
  • A.R.R.O.W ™: Ruth Smallwood, Senior Educational Psychologist, has been at the forefront of developing A.R.R.O.W. ™ in primary, secondary and special schools across Norfolk. A.R.R.O.W. ™ is a language and literacy intervention program which aims to develop skills in speaking, listening, reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension, spelling and self-esteem via the use of the self-voice™.  Ruth is the designated trainer for this area and has worked with Dr Sarah Hatfield who is currently running A.R.R.O.W. ™ with the Virtual School for Looked After Children (LAC). Queries relating to the use A.R.R.O.W. ™ with LAC or as an intervention in schools should be directed to Dr Sarah Hatfield or Ruth Smallwood respectively in the first instance.