21/09/16 - 11:21:01 | Published in News

Life As An AEP: A Brief Year In Review (conclusion)

Last but not least, we are happy to introduce the AEP that will be leading this blog over the next year. She has proven to be a brilliant part of our team and we are looking forward to see where the next year takes us.

Here is her brief year in review

After several years gaining experience as a support worker I was thrilled to get my dream job as an Assistant Educational Psychologist (AEP) in September 2015. There was a team of 4 of us new AEPs who supported each other through those anxious first few days. After a nervous start I soon started shadowing and getting stuck in to the job. I had shadowing opportunities going out with my supervisor and visiting children in schools. I attended multi-disciplinary meetings with various professionals from school, health and the local authority. I was trained up in the literary intervention ARROW, which is aimed at struggling readers/spellers and those with Dyslexia. With this skill I was able to head out independently and deliver this intervention across the county, this gave me the confidence and expertise I needed to go it alone. Following on from this I was gradually given more independence in my work and was able to add my contributions to the case.

Alongside this we were applying for the Educational Psychology Doctorate, applications opened in late September and this journey went on until early April when we found out the decision. We were fully supported through the application process with guidance towards our personal statement and a reference from our supervisors. We sent off our applications early December; and tried to put the pain staking days we spent deleting characters from our personal statements, to fit 7000 behind us. As a foursome we celebrated by going out to Dinner and a few drinks, we had grown close over this time and it was nice to let our hair down and do something outside of work. It was close to Christmas when I received a surprise letter from Nottingham University informing me that I had an interview. I had to check twice, but the date was the 18th January which was only a few weeks away.

Luckily all 4 of us received the same good news although our interview days were spread out, and it was a quick panic to start preparing a presentation. I ended up having my first interview having not heard from my other choices. Towards February I heard from Tavistock & Portman that I was successful in securing an interview and that I was on a reserve list for interview at the University of East London. While I was disappointed this wasn’t an automatic interview I was grateful I was still being considered and I was focused on the other two. Most of my spare time was spent going over interview questions and my supervisor at the time was really helpful in compiling the experience I had and formulating that into an answer. The two interviews came and went both very different experiences, and now it was a stressful waiting game until April to find out our fate.

To keep our minds off it we were given more responsibility in our day to day job. I was going out and gathering child’s views, undertaking observations and my ARROW intervention. It was great to be given so much freedom, to immerse ourselves in the role and to help make a contribution towards case work for Educational Psychologists. I was able to administer some psychometric tests under supervision of my supervisor, and add my own ideas to the hypothesis and formulation around the child, and to suggest my own recommendations.

April came and unfortunately for me it was bad news, although devastating at the time I was ecstatic for my other three colleagues and now close friends who had been successful. I was lucky enough to be offered the job again for the next year, something that was not guaranteed but I am eternally grateful for. To get over my disappointment I started to look at what might have gone wrong while requesting feedback and reflecting on what I need to do next year to boost my chances. I began work on a very exciting research project into Person Centred Reviews (PCRs), which has enhanced my research skills and is currently leading towards exciting things in the future. I maximised my shadowing and independent work, improving my confidence and skills set for the job. I started booking onto personal development courses within Norfolk County Council which have been very helpful in moulding my skills.

I am extremely grateful for the trust, care, passion and opportunities given to me by the Norfolk County Council AEP scheme. There are an extremely nurturing, diverse and vibrant service and have shaped me into the person I am today. I have grown in knowledge, skills and confidence and I continue to grow as I embark on my second year as an AEP. I am looking forward to this year and will continue to document my experiences in a series of blog posts over the next few months. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the EPSS team for their kindness, support and knowledge over the last year and I can’t wait to spend the next year with them.