Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Educational Psychology Service (EPS)

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We provide a wide range of services for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and their families. These include services supporting care, development and education.

Important changes to SEND were introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014.

The important changes introduced Education, Health and Care Plans and the new approach focuses on ensuring coordinated services are planned across different services for education, health and care.

For further information please read the SEND Guide for Parents and Carers and SEND Young Person’s Guide at GOV.UK.


The SEN and Engagement Service

The SEN and Engagement Service is responsible for the statutory (legal) processes for children and young people with SEND. These include Education Health and Care assessments, plans and reviews.

The service is also responsible for placements of children and young people with Education, Health and Care plans and for placing children and young people in the Enhanced Mainstream Schools.

The service works to make sure the Council’s Local Offer is up to date and relevant. It also provides support to schools, early years settings and further education providers about special educational need and disability.

The service additionally has responsibility for some of the Council’s short breaks provision for disabled children.

There are two provisions in the team – the Early Support Nursery and Hartburn Lodge. The early Support Nursery is a specialist nursery for pre-school children with complex needs, and Hartburn Lodge is a short break provision for children and young people with complex needs. You can find out more on Stockton's Local Offer website.


Stockton-on-Tees SEND Joint Commissioning Strategy 2018-2021

Our vision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is the same as for all children and young people – that Stockton-on-Tees is a great place to grow up, where children and young people are protected from harm and supported to be the best they can be in life.

Most importantly we want the views of children and young people and their parents/carers to be actively sought and their voices heard. We want services to be joined up with reduced waiting times and good information sharing in place so that families can tell their story once. We want outcomes for children and young people to be co-produced and identified and that outcomes are assessed and measured across education, health and social care to ensure outcomes for children and young people improve. Partners have worked to develop this shared strategy with representatives across Children’s Services, Adult Social Care, Public Health, Schools and Hartlepool & Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group. Parents/carers, children and young people have been integral to developing our priorities for action.

View the Stockton-on-Tees SEND Joint Commissioning Strategy 2018-2021.


Local Offer

A 'Local Offer' has been developed to enable children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (aged 0 - 25) and their families to access information about all of the services available to them from one place.

Visit Stockton's Local Offer website for further information.


Educational Psychology Service (EPS)

Service Overview

The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) is part of SEN and Engagement Service. Educational Psychologists (EPs) in Stockton provide independent advice to children, young people, parents and setting with the aim of supporting and promoting positive outcomes for all children and young people (0 – 25 years old) living in the Borough.

Service delivery is based on a consultation model of psychology that is research and evidenced based, solution focused and can facilitate change. EPs will work with vulnerable children and young people and those who have complex and additional needs. All EPs apply psychology (the study of thinking, learning and behaviour) and knowledge of child development to help understand how to remove barriers to a child or young person’s development and learning. These barriers may relate to the broad areas of needs within the SEND code of practice such as; communication and interaction, cognition and learning, social, emotional and mental health difficulties, sensory and/or physical needs.

We work closely with other team members in the Schools and SEN directorate as well as schools, health, social care professionals and the multi-agency early help panel. The service we provide is designed to promote the best possible outcomes in terms of learning, social and emotional development and inclusion. To do this we work indirectly and directly with children and young people, offer advice, consultation, assessment, intervention, training and development for professionals and information and guidance for parents.

Using the service

An EP is likely to become involved where a setting has asked for help with a child/young person’s substantial learning or behavioural problems, or where a setting feels there has been no improvement despite support being provided. The service operates both a free service  and a traded service (schools/settings purchase an amount of time they believe they need).

Free Service

Our free service includes:

  • Individual case work for those children and young people undergoing Statutory Assessment initiated by the Local Authority

  • Individual case work for those children and young people for whom the Local Authority has decided to undertake a statutory reassessment of needs

  • Individual case work for those children and young people who already have an Education, Health and Care Plan at the request of the Authority. This may also include, staff training, interventions and consultation with specific groups of staff to support the placement of the child or young person

  • Individual case work for those children and young people identified by the Local Authority as requiring EPS involvement due to complex difficulties where there are significant barriers to learning and inclusion, working with the Continuum of Need and Services and Safeguarding (Child in Need, Child Protection, Looked After Children, attendance at ICPC and Case Conferences, and related involvement and assessment) and/or belonging to vulnerable groups include; those at risk of exclusion, new arrivals, and young carers, with or without a Special Educational Need/Education, Health and Care Plan

  • Psychological consultation/training focused on narrowing gaps in attainment, improving academic progress, promoting inclusion, transition needs for children and young people placed at Additionally Resourced Provisions (ARPS) and Enhanced Mainstream Schools with or without an Education, Health and Care Plan, and supporting the development of school/academy staff


Traded Service

In addition to the above, it is possible for a school/academy/free school, FE setting and PRU to purchase additional and bespoke EPS time. Time bought is based on a setting’s needs and is not determined by the EPS. As such it is their decision if they wish to use their bought EP time to support assessments that are perhaps being undertaken by other agencies, such as CAMHS or Social Care.

A setting must have a partnership agreement with us for this traded service. Partnership agreement time can be used for a variety of work, including promoting psychological wellbeing and inclusion. Our work can be focused on individual children, groups or classes following a consultation model, or at an organisational or systemic level. Examples include:

  • Individual case work aimed at improving understanding of a child/young person’s needs and working with others to remove barriers to development and inclusion. This will usually include observing the child/young person, talking to school staff, talking to the young person and talking to the parent/carer. Sometimes individual assessment may be done as an agreed action. The aim is to get a joint understanding of the barriers to a young person’s learning/development and generate solutions with all those involved. The consultation model supports the assess, plan, do review process within the SEND Code of Practice and there should always be a follow up to evaluate strategies

  • Staff drop ins where many children can be discussed on a no name basis and general strategies offered

  • Supporting whole school/academy systems and processes to support inclusion and promote emotional wellbeing

  • Training and project work related to direct involvement with individuals or groups of children and/or young people who display similar difficulties

  • Parent/carer consultations, either at school/academy/FE setting or during home visits, aimed at developing a shared understanding and enabling full parent/carer involvement

  • Research into an area of interest to the school that will impact on

  • Intervention work at the request of school to support capacity building

The EP will negotiate the nature of the feedback from the setting; for some children/young people a record of the consultation will suffice; for others a more comprehensive report will be agreed. There is no requirement for a comprehensive report to be required for requests to One Point Panel; a record of consultation is accepted.

The EPS will respond to requests from any school, academy, PRU, Further Education Setting but there has to be a partnership agreement with us. Before any direct work with children or young people is undertaken, signed parental consent must be obtained. Parents must have seen the completed referral form before they sign so we know they have given informed consent. If the young person is over 16, he/she can give signed consent if they have capacity and understanding to do so. The referral form needs to be sent to the EPS prior to involvement in school to allow the EP to plan. Ideally referrals should be received via the setting’s SENCO so he/she has an overview.

The EPS does not accept direct referrals from parents or young people. We are happy for parents and young people to contact us on 01642 527110 for further advice and help.

For further information please contact the Educational Psychology Service.

Telephone: 01642 527110 / 527817

Key contact: Judith Garbutt, Senior Educational Psychologist

Address: 4th Floor, Queensway House, West Precinct, Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees

Local offer age group 0-25


Stockton Parent Carer Forum (SPCF)

Stockton Parent Carer Forum is a group of parent carers of children/young people with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities (SEND) aged 0-25 who work in partnership with Education, Health and Care Services to make sure the services they plan, commission, deliver and monitor, meet the needs of children and families. We do this through active parent participation. Engaging with parent carers through coffee mornings, training and other events to gather feedback about services. We encourage parents to participate in the development of services and provide opportunities for them to meet directly with professionals. 

Our aim is to empower parent carers, improve the quality and availability of information to families, create opportunities for parent and carers to have their say, to ensure families are involved in the decision making process, to influence the development of local services and to ‘work together’ with all sectors.

Contact Stockton Parent Carer Forum

Stockton Parent Carer Forum Stockton Parent Carer Forum 

Telephone/Text: 07985 245668

Email: [email protected]

For more information visit: Stockton Parent Carer Forum website.


Further Information

For further information read the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities 0-25 booklet and view the following pages about Short Breaks Services and Specialist Educational Provision

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