EDP: Year 1 Placement

Year 1 Placement

1.1 Context of placement

1.1.1  Practice

Trainees join the course with experience from a range of children’s service sectors, as well as a degree in psychology which is recognised by the British Psychological Society. The programme recognises the wide range of previous experience within the learning cohort and actively encourages group working in order to help use this to its maximal effect. The programme is also designed to provide an induction to Children’s Services settings through a programme of shadowing EPs and other professionals at the start of, and throughout the year, along with supervision from an experienced EP.

1.1.2  Parallel activities in year 1

Whilst it is not the responsibility of field tutors to oversee and monitor trainee progress across the other strands of programme activity it is helpful for them to understand the whole picture of a trainee’s working world. In Year One, trainees follow units of work to develop placement and casework skills. These include taught content to develop consultation and assessment skills, along with supervised practice in the field to apply these skills. Two units focus on aspects of learning & development and emotional & behavioural development. The emphasis in this year is on typical development, to provide a bedrock of knowledge on which Year Two can build in its emphasis on low incidence needs. Assessment of these units is through two reports of casework (ROCs) and two essays (one on learning and development, with another on emotional development). The research element of the programme is taught through the Faculty and contains units focusing on qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Trainees complete assignments to demonstrate their understanding of each of these different methodological models, as well as starting work on a Small Scale Research Project with a local authority.

1.2 Placement Planning and process

Each field tutor (FT) works with two trainees (TEPs). The FT organises school (and where relevant, service) experiences to complement academic teaching at the university. Trainees spend a day and a half per week on placement in the first year: Thursdays all day and Monday afternoons. The FT is present on average for half a day each week. TEPS are placed first with a host primary school, and in the third and final phase, they begin to work with one identified secondary school.

Trainees are required to spend 58 days on placement in the first year. 55 of these days are “out on placement” e.g., in schools or wider local authority settings. 3 further days are spent on whole course study days, focusing on topics relevant to placement. The purpose of the placement is to allow trainees to gain knowledge of the working practices of placement settings, to develop skills in casework and to begin to develop the skills required by educational psychologists to manage their working time. For this reason, it is a course expectation that most of this time is spent in placement schools (or visiting and travelling to and from other sites in the local authority). However, there are times when it may be more efficient for trainees to spend time working on placement activities away from the placement site.

The 55 days of school or LA related placement time must be recorded on weekly logs as follows:

  • At least 50 days of placement activity should be recorded representing in-school or in-local authority activity. This should be recorded in the main section of the weekly log. The minimum currency for this is half a day. We recognise that actual time on site may vary so that many morning visits may be longer than 3 hours and that some afternoon visits may be shorter. Where trainees find that their school site visits vary significantly from this pattern, they should discuss this with their field tutor.
  • A maximum of 5 days (37 hours) can be recorded as off-site activity. This should be recorded on the weekly log in the section “Admin, reporting and miscellaneous activity” section of the weekly log. The minimum currency for this is one hour, i.e. activities that took less than one hour should not be recorded. Four days are currently allocated against this on the specimen calendar (see Appendix XXX). Up to the equivalent of one further day (7 hours) can be allocated and used flexibly across the year, in negotiation with the field tutor.
  • Trainees should record whole and half-days spent on placement on the single sheet placement calendar.
  • Trainees should supplement the single sheet placement calendar with a table summarising admin, reporting and miscellaneous activity (see pro-forma), so that it is clear how a total of 55 days has been spent out on placement

Trainees may make local arrangements to swap placement days if this does not compromise effective casework and if it is convenient to the field tutor and placement school and if it continues to allow regular, weekly supervision. It may be particularly helpful to swap the “report-writing” or “SSRP work” days with placement days in order to prioritise effective casework.

It is assumed that trainees will be in their placement primary school on all placement sessions shown in the placement calendar at Appendix 16. If this is not the case (i.e., if a trainee is in a different school, or if a placement day has been swapped) this must be recorded on the “Soton TEPs Year One placement tracker” google calendar.

1.3 Field Tutor responsibilities

A document setting out the range of FT responsibilities is included in Appendix 15, but is also summarised below to show the following key responsibilities:

  • To organise an introduction to the host Service in which Year One TEPs have a placement school
  • To spend half a day per week (term time only) working with Year One TEPs, in an identified primary school, secondary school or elsewhere in a supervisory capacity
  • To take responsibility for any service reports produced by Year One TEPs arising from managed and monitored casework
  • To provide formative feedback on practice Reports of casework (ROC) for Year 1 and to mark ROCs for Year 1 and Service Reports with Reflective Commentaries for Year 2 trainees
  • To take part in Year One TEP appraisals
  • To attend FT meetings at university
  • To raise any concerns with the programme team
  • To contribute to a standing annual item on the FT agenda as a final review of placement activities

1.4 Placement Activities

The first year’s placement and casework are divided into three phases:

 1.4.1    Phase One: Modelled casework

In this phase, the prime focus is for the FT to model to the TEPs the skills that make up effective casework practice. This will include observation, consultation and assessment skills. At some point through the three phases, it would also be helpful if it included some staff development work. Following each modelled session, the FT is expected to lead a reflection and discussion session with the TEPs to help them learn from what they have seen.

According to the previous experience of the trainees, it will also be possible in this phase for the TEPs to become involved with and contribute to some elements of the field tutor’s active casework, for example through observation and general data collection. Although much of their work at this stage will involve shadowing the field tutor in their work, the TEP may also begin to carry out specific tasks to contribute to the field tutor’s assessment work. Most of the TEPs’ work at this stage will be joint, although there will be some tasks which can be better completed alone.

TEPs will also be able to develop their assessment skills outside of the context of specific casework where hypotheses are being explored. In such practice contexts, the purpose of the activity will be to help the TEP develop their use of specific assessment techniques, rather than to aid in developing an understanding of a child’s particular needs.

1.4.2    Phase Two: Managed casework

In this phase, the prime focus is for the FT to model to the TEPs the skills that make up effective casework practice. This will include observation, consultation and assessment skills. At some point through the three phases, it would also be helpful if it included some staff development work. Following each modelled session, the FT is expected to lead a reflection and discussion session with the TEPs to help them learn from what they have seen.

According to the previous experience of the trainees, it will also be possible in this phase for the TEPs to become involved with and contribute to some elements of the field tutor’s active casework, for example through observation and general data collection. Although much of their work at this stage will involve shadowing the field tutor in their work, the TEP may also begin to carry out specific tasks to contribute to the field tutor’s assessment work. Most of the TEPs’ work at this stage will be joint, although there will be some tasks which can be better completed alone.

TEPs will also be able to develop their assessment skills outside of the context of specific casework where hypotheses are being explored. In such practice contexts, the purpose of the activity will be to help the TEP develop their use of specific assessment techniques, rather than to aid in developing an understanding of a child’s particular needs.

1.4.3    Phase Three: Monitored casework

In the third phase, the TEPs work their way through the problem solving process, under the supervision of the FT. This means that they work independently to identify a priority problem, form and explore some hypotheses, reformulate the problem, work with the problem owners to develop a joint action plan and finally monitor and review that plan. The TEP should have two pieces of casework: one primary and one secondary, and it is expected that these will be written up as Service reports (or reported formally in a manner that is consistent with the Service policy). At the end of this phase, the TEP submits two Reports of Casework (see below).

Supervision at this stage is individual, for 45 minutes each week.

1.5 Data protection, confidentiality and safeguarding

Unless they are stored within the secure data storage systems and within the data protection policy of their local authority, trainees should not keep any records that count as personal data under the terms of the Data Protection Act. Personal data are defined in the Act as:

data which relate to a living individual who can be identified –

(a) from those data, or

(b) from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller.

First year trainees should follow the following procedures:

  • Where notes are kept, these should not carry any data with regard to specific names (of individual pupils, family members or professionals) or organisations (schools, outreach agencies etc.). All references must be anonymised (either to refer to “Pupil X”, or to a replaced name, where the context makes clear that the name has been replaced). It is not acceptable to just use initials.
  • Where it is necessary to record a date of birth, for example for a practice pupil where standardised assessment is being practised, or where a ROC case makes it necessary to gain this data, it is acceptable to record this, again in the context of no personal data from which an individual can be identified
  • Where trainees write reports in collaboration with their field tutor, it is essential that personal data is not stored outside of a secure system. For example, where the trainee is working on a draft report on their home computer, all references to individuals or organisations must be changed. This “non-secure” version can be emailed to the field tutor, who may hold a “master code” within their secure system, showing for example that Pupil X is Tommy Smith, that Mrs Y is Mrs Thompson etc. The master code must be stored securely, either in the field tutor’s authority secure computer system, or within their secure paper file system. The field tutor can then use the master code to include the names of individuals as required for the Service report. This, identifiable, service report can then be stored within the secure system of the field tutor’s authority.
  • Trainees must not store personal data that identifies pupils. Where, for example, their casework requires them to see a report from another professional, this should be returned to the secure filing system managed by the field tutor rather than stored, even temporarily, by the trainee.
  • The overriding principle is that trainees should not keep two or three pieces of data from which it is possible to determine an individual’s identity.

TEPs should also read the Safeguarding and Health & Safety policies in their school placements at the start of their placement and ensure that they follow these.

1.6 Parental permission

Any contact between TEPs and students in school must be informed and must have parental consent. In their first year in schools, TEPs are likely to have two main types of interaction with young people in schools:

  • Activities to develop assessment skills. This will involve working with young people where the main focus is for the TEP to gain skills in using a particular assessment technique. With this type of work, there will not be a negotiated question for which the assessment technique has been chosen and there will be no expectation of feedback to the school or to the parents. (However, if some information arises that will have a significant impact on the child’s educational experience, this will be discussed with the field tutor and may then be shared with the family.)

Following the trainee or supervisor’s work with a child in this context, a “Thank you” certificate must be given to the child (core components of the “thank you” certificate are set out below.

  • Activities as part of casework. Here, there will be an identified assessment question, for which the particular assessment technique has been selected in conjunction with the field tutor. The information arising from the assessment will be expected to form part of the casework intervention, and there will be an expectation of feedback (either written or verbal) to the school and parents.

Course requirements

Field tutors are free to negotiate the style of letters of consent with representatives from the placement schools in order to reflect local needs. However, there are a number of elements that the Doctorate in Educational Psychology course requires should be present in each letter.

Consent for activities to develop assessment skills

It is expected that this letter would come from the school, on school headed notepaper. It must contain the following elements:

  • Information about who TEPS are and what TEPs do
  • Statement that they are supervised by a qualified EP
  • Contact point for further information
  • Example of the types of activities involved and acknowledgement that this may involve time out of class
  • Statement that the impact of any time out of class will be managed in discussion with the class teacher
  • Response form with parental signature that confirms that:
  • They do/do not give consent for a TEP/Field tutor to work with their child
  • They know that they will not usually expect to receive any feedback
  • They know that they will be contacted for further consent if specific information arises that needs to be shared
  • The parent has discussed their consent with the child

Returned consent slips should be processed as follows:

  • Trainees should maintain a master list showing the names of all children whose parents have given consent.
  • This list should be divided into individual class groups, and a class list provided to each teacher, to allow that teacher to cross reference to ensure consent has been granted before a TEP works with a named pupil.
  • Each time that a TEP works with a named pupil, the list will be updated to record the name of the TEP, date of involvement, duration and activity which the child missed as a result of this. This will be used to minimise repeated impact on any child’s school experience.
  • The field tutor should ensure that this list is kept up to date; a standing agenda item at the second field tutor meeting of the Autumn term will be used to formalise record keeping of the existence of this list.
  • At the end of each term, field tutors will review with the TEPs the names of all named pupils with whom the TEPs have worked; a standing agenda item at the first meeting of Spring and Summer term will be used to record this review.
  • Trainees should ensure that all returned permissions are stored securely at the school, and destroyed at the end of the placement year.

Consent for activities as part of casework

It is expected that this letter would come from the field tutor, using Service headed paper. It must contain the following elements:

  • Statement that trainee may do some of the work, but that the Field Tutor remains responsible
  • Contact point for further information
  • Statement that the school will still work to meet the child’s needs even if the parent declines consent for the TEP to work with the child
  • Response form with parental signature to confirm that they do/do not give consent for the trainee to carry out some of the work with the child

This letter is expected to supplement, and not replace the usual Service consent/permissioning process. Field tutors should store a copy of the returned letter on the pupil casefile.

Consent for trainee involvement to support staff in the teaching intervention

Trainees may also have involvement with named pupils where they are supporting school staff in delivering an intervention. There is a workfile requirement for them to help set up, monitor and review an intervention for a given child. The exact details of consent will vary according to the circumstances as follows (but in all cases, for this workfile requirement, the intervenor should be a member of school staff and the TEP role is to act as the consultant and supporter):

  • If the pupil receiving the intervention is part of the FT’s regular or modelled casework, then regular TEP consent procedures apply (usual Service consent plus additional TEP consent)
  • If the pupil is not known to the EP service and the level of TEP involvement means that they will not know the identity of the child, nor interact closely with data that refers to that individual, then no consent is necessary (in line with “staff surgeries/consultation clinics”). However, this is unlikely to meet the requirements of the teaching intervention write-up, so…:
  • If the pupil is not known to the EP service, then the school should send out a brief consent letter noting:
  • TEP involvement to support school staff in an activity they were already planning (TEP is not direct intervenor)
  • TEP is supervised by fully qualified EP

This letter should be stored on the pupil record in school.

Consent for shadowing

Trainees may shadow other professionals as part of their course experience. Where trainees are simply involved in observing other professionals as they go about their work, the guiding rule is that written consent need only be gained if the observed professional cannot speak directly to the parent in advance.

  1. Where TEPs are e.g., visiting nurture groups, special provision or PRUs, (i.e., encountering children as members of groups rather than as individuals) or LA panels (when information about named individuals is shared but within a proscribed context) then the shadowed person should discuss with a contact person in that setting to see what the “cultural norm” is within that setting and should follow that norm.
  2. Verbal consent is sufficient for situations where the shadowed person is consulting or meeting with parent/carer with PR. Such consent must be gained in advance, not in the moment and should be sought by the shadowed person, not by an intermediary. It is important for the shadowed person to speak directly to the parent/carer with PR, to be able to answer any questions about their role and the TEP role, and to maintain responsibility for the fact that they are being shadowed.
  3. Similarly, if the TEP is present where the shadowed person works with a named child, then verbal consent needs to be gained previously.
  4. If it is not possible for the shadowed person to speak directly to the person with PR to gain informed verbal consent, then written consent may be gained through the template letter. This can be adapted but must contain:
    • Name of trainee
    • Details of date and activity to be observed
    • Statement that trainee is simply observing, not actively involved in casework
    • Contact point for further information
    • Statement that the agency will still work to meet the child’s needs even if the parent declines permission for the TEP observe
    • Response form with parental signature to confirm that they do/do not give permission for the trainee to observe

     

  5. In all consent-seeking, the shadowed person should emphasise that they  remain responsible for casework-holding; that the TEP is not actively involved in the casework; and that a decision to decline permission does not affect the shadowed person’s future work with the child.
    Please see Appendix 14 for sample letters.

1.7 Record keeping

Trainees are required to keep a weekly log of their activity (appendix 5), recording activities and their reflections on such activities. FTs are required to sign these off as an accurate record. In addition, in the third phase (monitored casework), or earlier if the trainee moves to individual supervision earlier, the trainee should also keep an individual supervision log (appendix 6), which is again signed off by the FT. However, there is no need to replicate the “learning points” section, if these are already recorded in the weekly logs.

TEPs will also keep a log of competencies (appendix 1), showing the evidence they have kept against specific competencies, and they may ask FTs to sign off against such competencies.

1.8 Reports of Casework

Reports of Casework (ROCs) are marked by field tutors to criteria that are set out by the university in the Academic and Research Handbook.  A sample is moderated by course tutors to ensure consistency of application of the marking criteria. At the end of the managed phase in Year One, the TEP writes a formative ROC (i.e. one that is not formally assessed within the University system, but is instead a chance for the TEP to develop their ROC writing before the formal submissions at the end of the year). This is submitted direct to the FT and it is expected that this be marked and the feedback returned within two to three weeks.

Year One TEPs then submit two assessed ROCs at the end of the year. These are marked blind (i.e. the FT does not know whose ROC they are reading but only that it is not that of a TEP for whom they are or have been the FT).

1.9 Field Tutor support

FT support is available through a number of sources. FT meetings are held half-termly, which offer an opportunity for group discussion and problem-solving. Outside of these times, if the query concerns an individual TEP, FTs should first contact the Year 1 APT. Any other queries can be addressed to any member of the programme team.

Field tutors have visitor status to the University, which provides access to the University Library facilities as well as to some electronic systems such as Blackboard and eAssignment.

1.10 Information sharing

TEPs should be aware that in field tutor (FT) meetings, the team discusses TEP progress against the core and desired activities, as part of the course’s accountability and monitoring procedures. Information about TEPS’ grades will be shared with the course team (including the Field Tutor) so that they can support them.

The FT meetings serve as a forum for FTS to provide and receive peer support and supervision to help them support their TEPs. This inevitably means that FTs need to share with the rest of the team some information about their TEPs’ placement experiences. TEPs should be aware that the focus of this conversation is on how to support the FT, not the performance of the TEP.

Where an FT is aware that the TEP is experiencing personal factors that are having an impact on their placement or wider experience, FTs will strongly encourage TEPs to share this with the staff team (usually the personal tutor in the first instance).

If the FT has concerns about a TEP’s competency, and is aware that this is influenced by personal factors that the trainee is experiencing, the FT will first discuss these with the TEP and will strongly encourage the TEP to raise this with the staff team. In some circumstances, in particular those where the FT is concerned for the TEP’s safety or wellbeing, or that of their service users, the FT will choose to pass on such concerns even if the TEP would rather keep these private. The FT will aim to tell the TEP that they have done so.

FTs should not share information about individual TEPs with colleagues or other professionals outside of their specific role as a FT. If an FT chooses, in their own service supervision, to raise an issue that they are experiencing in their FT role, they should do so in a non-attributable manner, and ensure that their supervisor is aware of their joint responsibility not to share information any further.

TEPs should be aware that the FT’s role extends to seeking information about the TEP from others who have come into contact with the TEP. This may include conversation with SENCOs, teachers, parents or others who have worked with the TEP, in order to gain an accurate perspective on a TEP’s strengths and development needs. In all cases, the TEP is also encouraged to seek and to share feedback directly from those with whom the TEP works.

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