Staff and students are celebrating 50 years of training psychologists in education at the University of Exeter.
Educational psychologists work with families, school personnel, and other professionals to support children’s learning and development. They help children develop a range of skills in areas such as learning, communication and interaction, mental health and emotional well-being. Educational psychologists help prevent exclusion from school and ensure fair access to education for people with disabilities.
The University of Exeter is one of the few institutions nationwide to offer a PhD in Educational, Child and Community Psychology.
DEdPsych courses are funded by the government and trainees work in local government for a minimum of two years after graduation. Trainees combine their studies with council work and begin to specialize in a specific area by the end of the course.
The University of Exeter course was created by Professor Bob Bearden and has been run by Dr Andrew Richards for the last 20 years. The course is taught by Dr. Richards and a team of educational psychologists, drawing on the experience of AUs from across the region. Dr. Richards is an expert in the dynamic assessment of children’s learning potential – measuring a child’s needs in the most sensitive way – and is retiring this term.
Educational psychologists are registered with the British Psychological Society and the Health Professionals Council. New trainees must have relevant previous experience working with children and a degree in psychology education or have completed a conversion course. Competition for places on the courses is fierce, with around ten graduates from the University of Exeter each year.
Margie Tunbridge, Deputy Director of the DEdPsych Program at the University of Exeter, said:
“There is a huge need for educational psychologists, especially after the coronavirus corrections. They work to use their resources and skills to help children and teachers to support learning and behaviour. They help children feel happy and want to go to school.”
At a recent conference and event celebrating Dr. Richards’ retirement and 50th anniversarythousand anniversary of the course, recent graduates spoke about their research on topics such as school counselling, exploring support for children and young people who are sexually exploited, the role of educational psychologists in ‘unofficial’ exclusions and exclusions and different service delivery models.
Dr. Richards has worked as an educational psychologist since 1991 after training at the Institute of Education. He started at the University of Exeter in 2000 in a joint role with North Somerset Council before moving to a similar role in Devon. He has reviewed over 110 DEdPsych, DEd and PhD theses and has been involved in research projects on family-school relationships, dialogical education, children in local authority care and measures of groupthink.
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