Historically, access to Educational Psychologists was provided through Local Authority provision, with many Local Authorities delivering a ‘core offer’ – that being, services which they felt were essential in meeting the needs of children and young people within their locality. However, since the outsourcing of some Local Authority Educational Psychology Services and the uprising of more community-based business structures such as Social Enterprises and Community Interest Companies, there is a much broader range of services available for schools and educational settings. This is further supported by the changes introduced within the 2015 Code of Practice, where any private report can now be accepted as evidence for an Education, Health and Care Plan meaning that schools are in a much stronger position to advocate and commission their own services, rather than relying on the Local Authority offer.
What is a Community Interest Company?
A Community Interest Company (CIC) falls somewhere between a not-for-profit company (such as a charity) and a private limited company. Whilst CICs are registered as private limited companies, the crucial difference between CICs and generic private limited companies is that CICs are run with a primary social objective and surplus funds are principally reinvested for the business or community, rather than for the shareholders or owners. When we established Learning & Wellbeing Psychology CIC, we spent a considerable amount of time defining our core values and mission statement to ensure that our work sat comfortably within this business model. Our business plan sets out from the beginning how we will ensure that any profits after running costs and salaries are re-invested in our communities, and how we will involve our communities in making those decisions. Examples of this could include providing free parenting groups, community wellbeing walks and online webinars and resources.
What other benefits are there for working with a private company?
The great thing about working within a private Educational Psychology company is that we are managed by Educational Psychologists – all decisions made around the company are in line with underlying theories and principles that we promote throughout our work. We understand school systems and the increasing pressure that school staff are under. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has meant we’ve been able to deliver a highly flexible service, responding rapidly to the ever-changing school environment. This has included the introduction of remote working, the creation of virtual rooms and the use of technology to enhance our practice.
In addition, as a small team, we are able to provide a highly personalised service, where all members of the team are familiar with your setting and able to share their knowledge and expertise with our schools. There will be times when a specific intervention or assessment might be appropriate and in these situations, we have the capacity to assign that piece of work to the Educational Psychologist who is best suited to the role. Our ethos is heavily based around those personal connections however, so although you may see a range of Educational Psychologists working within Learning & Wellbeing Psychology, we also ensure that you have a dedicated contact Educational Psychologist who is at the other end of the phone or email.
What have some of our schools told us?
We’re keen to provide a service that schools know they need. For this reason, we’ve spent time talking to our schools and listening to what helped them decide to take out an annual contract with Learning & Wellbeing Psychology. At the top of their list, our schools told us that they wanted to receive a tailored service. They explained that previous Educational Psychology input had been highly prescriptive and not always fit for purpose. They found it unhelpful receiving long lists of generic recommendations and wanted to work with Educational Psychologists who took the time to get to know the setting and who shaped their involvement and feedback around the culture of the school.
We were also told that school needed a responsive service – Educational Psychologists on hand to support in a timely manner, without a cap or limitation of the time available. Through our annual contracts, school are able to ring-fence time with an Educational Psychologist whilst also having access to a community of Learning & Wellbeing Psychology schools for additional Educational Psychology input (through our commitment to being a CIC).
Finally, schools told us that they wanted to be listened to – that they wanted an Educational Psychology service that would work collaboratively with the school, having psychology ‘done with them’ rather than ‘done to them’. We know that the most effective interventions are grounded in a solid understanding of the underpinning theory and so we ensure that our involvement is holistic in nature, ensuring that all parts of the system have a shared understanding of the situation and of ways of moving forward.
How do you commission private Educational Psychology services?
If you feel that you would like to know more about Learning & Wellbeing Psychology’s offer, please email to get in touch. You can also download our brochure to get a taste of the wide range of work we are already undertaking with our schools. Not sure if working with a CIC is for you? That’s not a problem either! Many of the connections we have formed over the years started with a single assessment which then developed into an ongoing working relationship.
We look forward to hearing from you!