Life as an AEP: A brief year in review
The last 12 months have flown by. Our out going team of Assistant Educational Pyschologists (AEPs) have provided the following summaries that we thought you might find interesting.
I started as an assistant educational psychologist (AEP) after teaching A level psychology in a sixth form college. I have always wanted to work with children, and have a range of experience working with children with social, emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties in therapeutic, recreational and educational settings. As an AEP, I have been fortunate to gain a wide range of shadowing experience with educational psychologists, as well as specialist teachers and other professionals such as clinical psychologists and speech and social workers.
It has been very useful to see how different professionals work together for the benefit of children and families. Within the educational psychology service, I have shadowed observations of children in the classroom setting, assessments, consultations and training sessions. I have always had the opportunity to discuss the experience afterwards with qualified educational psychologists, which has been useful to help me understand what they look out for and how they apply psychology in their work. Throughout the year I gained more independence in my work, this involved completing observations by myself, and gathering the views of the child before an EHCP assessment.
I was also lucky enough to be able to undertake training in Personal Construct Psychology (PCP), and I was able to use this in creating an intervention to help children who are experiencing issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem or worries about transition. Across all of my work, I received regular supervision from qualified educational psychologists, where I was able to discuss cases and observation work I had been doing. I felt like I had a lot of support and advice, and any questions or queries I had were always answered, or I was directed towards further reading.
I found that the structured AEP programme provided by Norfolk EPSS has been very useful in increasing my knowledge about different topics in educational psychology; in areas such as inclusion, Legislation and SEND, as well as topics such as cognitive development and learning theories. I am now going to the University of East London to begin my training to become an educational psychologist. The whole AEP experience has been invaluable in preparing to Norfolk EPSS has been a pleasure to work with in this year as an AEP, and I hope to continue working with them as a trainee or even a qualified EP one day.
I have just finished a year working as an Assistant Educational Psychologist (AEP), and can safely say it’s been one of the most interesting, challenging and rewarding jobs which I have ever had. I have learnt more this year than I ever have in any other job or educational setting, and as a result, feel very prepared for taking my next step in starting my Doctorate training to become a fully qualified Educational Psychologist (EP). Working as an AEP this year I have had countless opportunities to shadow, observe and learn from EPs in various situations and roles, including administering and scoring psychometric tests, conducting meetings with schools, parents and other professionals, meeting children and young people, and formulating plans to support pupils in their educational settings.
As the year has progressed, I have also had growing opportunities to carry out independent work, increasing in responsibility with my experience; these include gathering the views of children and young people, conducting observations, writing reports, delivering interventions and administering sub-tests of psychometric assessments.
In addition to gaining these practical and inimitable experiences of EP work, working at Norfolk County Council as an AEP, I have also received consistent and invaluable support from senior colleagues in completing my application for the Doctorate training course, without which I would have been far less confident in the process. This support has included guidance with writing the application, learning about and practicing facilitating skills necessary for group situations, in addition to receiving unwavering encouragement and reassurance throughout the application process.
To anyone who is interested in training as an EP, I cannot recommend Norfolk County Council enough in terms of the opportunities for experience they provide, and the support for future training which they offer. Applying for this position of AEP was the best decision I could have made for my career, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to work here.
To anyone who is thinking about becoming an EP, or who would just like to know more about their work, I also fervently recommend the EP Internship which the County Council offer, in which I took part a few months before applying for the AEP role. The Internship was a great opportunity to see what EPs really do, and to determine whether or not it is the kind of work you would like to be involved with in the future. For me, the internship showed me ‘what EPs actually do’, and in conjunction with this AEP role, has been a vital and invaluable step in shaping my future career.
Over the next year one of our AEPs will chronicle her experience as an AEP in Norfolk… it should help provide a more in depth glimpse into the large task that has been set for them.