EDP: Introduction

This handbook sets out the overall model of practice learning which takes place on placement on the Southampton University educational psychology doctoral training programme. The development of professional practice skills is one of the three key strands of learning within the programme. At the end of the programme trainees should be able to offer Children’s Services:-

the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, in professional environments …

 (in accordance with the National Framework for HE Qualification at doctoral level).

Practice learning is an essential aspect of training to allow trainees to experience the ‘generic role of the EP’ across the three years. Placements have particular significance both as an arena for exploring theory and for gaining experience across the range of Children’s Services, including schools. At Southampton placement learning is designed to enable progression towards independent work across all three years and is able to offer trainees extended placements with three Services; an arrangement which received strong endorsement from the BPS accreditation team during their visit in May 2010.

During the first year, with the close involvement of field tutors, the programme provides extensive coverage of underpinning psychological knowledge; the development of a problem solving framework and experience of a wide set of Children’s Services contexts. Practice learning largely directed by a field tutor, is undertaken within the relative shelter of the field tutor’s own schools on a graded series of casework and school based activities arefully integrated with the academic study at the university. By the end of the academic year, trainees will have carried out some individual casework, albeit with close monitoring from their field tutor. These experiences provide a secure foundation on which trainees entering Year 2 can build their practice.

Year 2 progresses to trainees spending regular time in a host local authority, under the wing of a supervision co-ordinator who is in touch with the University’s requirements and has the experience and authority to oversee a varied and graduated programme; a programme driven by the competencies the trainee has acquired in year one. Casework and project work opportunities may be offered by other educational psychologists in the Service, but formal supervision is provided by the supervision co-ordinator. During the placement, time is also given to the exploration of a specialist area to provide some diversity of experience.

In the final year, trainees experience working with a third local authority, taking increasing responsibility for their own practice and negotiating with service users appropriate activities for an applied psychologist. While Supervisors remain in close touch with trainees, the level of supervision is reduced and more independent practice encouraged.

Throughout the three years the university holds responsibility for the assessment of professional competencies, but clearly this requires a strong collaboration between university staff and local authority employees. Trainees maintain an individual profile of professional competencies supported by evidence, demonstrating a clear progression towards autonomy. Placements are reviewed throughout each year and in addition professional competence is assessed by Reports of Casework and service reports which demonstrate the ability to follow hypothesis-driven consultation and problem solving procedures and relate their practice to published evidence.

At the end of three years trainees who have completed all the course requirements and whose work has been assessed and passed will be able to demonstrate the standards of proficiency of Practitioner Psychologists as outlined by the Health Care Professions Council. (HCPC 2009).

Year 2 and 3 Placement Panel Process

The placement panel consists of 3 PEPs (one of whom, who is a SCEC PEP representative, will chair). There are an additional two advisors to the Panel: a programme director and a Year 3 trainee. The role of panel members is to ensure fairness of the process, not to advocate for a particular area or LA.


PEPs are required to notify their regional PEP representatives whether or not they have funding for one or more TEPs by the end of the first week of May in order that the list of available placements can be issued to TEPs.  TEPs then have a maximum of two weeks to return completed forms indicating choices.  The panel is held in early June and TEPs are informed of their placements very soon after.

Placements will be allocated to SEEL TEPs in accordance with the criteria below.

Criteria for placement

Southampton TEPS are expected to take up a placement within the SEEL region and a list of placements typically offered within this region can be found on the SEEL website:


There is no criteria based on performance, as this is for the universities to ensure, nor will PEPs be able to ‘choose’. Taking up a placement, however, will be contingent on the successful completion of year one of the course and good attendance.

Criteria for the allocation of placements are as follows:

  • Place of residence/distance from placement base/estimated travel time
  • TEP additional needs
  • Family circumstances e.g. dependent children

TEPs express preferences for placements by selecting and rank ordering five from those placements that have been made available and complete a short form indicating distance from placement/estimated travel time and any other personal circumstances relating to the criteria.

While every effort will be made by the panel to place TEPs in one of their preferred placements, this cannot be guaranteed.  The panel reserves the right to make the final decision in the interests of all TEPs.

The placement co-ordinator (Colin Woodcock) liaises with all new (to Southampton) placement providers in advance of the new academic year.  Trainees are expected to share their development targets with their placement supervisors.

Payment of bursary

Each trainee undertaking a bursary placement in 2017-18 will receive a bursary of £17,000 which includes a contribution towards travel/books, usually of £500, but with some additional funds being available to each programme to support trainees who incur particular travel costs associated with home to placement travel.  Bursaries will be paid by the university in quarterly instalments (September, December, March and June).

Health and safety on placement

Trainees and their supervisors share responsibility for ensuring that trainees are aware of and follow all appropriate health and safety procedures.  In Year 1, trainees are required to be aware of their host school’s policies and procedures, as well as those of its local authority; in Years 2 and 3, trainees are required to be aware of and follow their host authority’s policies and procedures, and when on diversity placement (in Year 2) become familiar with the policies/procedures followed by the host organisation.  A number of induction checklists for trainees are included in Appendix 12, which should be returned to the tutor indicated within the appropriate time period.  Awareness of health and safety policy/procedures should also be checked during placement visits made during the year (interim review meetings and diversity placement visits).

SEEL Year 2 Placement Quality Assurance Survey

 Trainees are required to complete a placement quality survey as part of the SEEL consortium (a separate survey for Year 2 and 3). As evidence of this, trainees should include in their workfile a printout of the confirmation document awarded on completion of the survey.


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