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Educational Psychology Service

Educational Psychology Service

The Tower Hamlets Educational Psychology Service (THEPS) is part of Children’s Services. THEPS helps schools and settings support the development and learning of children, and young people aged 0 – 25.
Educational psychologists (EPs) apply psychology to the needs of children and young people. All our EPs are registered as practitioner psychologists with the Health and Care Professions Council.

EPs work with children and young people aged 0-25 with many different needs and those working with them. We help schools and settings, families and care givers, and others in Tower Hamlets to meet the needs of children and young people. 

The EPS supports schools and other educational settings to increase achievement and create positive outcomes for children and young people. In our work, we aim to be collaborative, use joint problem-solving approaches and evidence-based practice. Every state funded school in Tower Hamlets has a link EP who will provide psychological advice as part of an Education, Health and Care needs assessment. If you are a parent and think your child may need support from an EP, you should speak to your school's special educational needs coordinator (SENCo).

We also offer monthly service at SENDIASS where any parent or young person aged 16-25 can make an appointment to speak with an EP. For dates of when these sessions run, please contact SENDIASS.

Ways in which EPs support children and young people include:

  • Consultation — meeting with parents or carers and other professionals to discuss a child or young person’s needs and how best to help them.
  • Psychological assessments— visiting schools or other education settings to get information about a child or young persons’ needs, using methods such as consultation, observation, interviews and direct assessments.
  • One to one and small group interventions - EPs may give one to one or small group interventions to promote learning and emotional wellbeing. These include Video interaction Guidance and Mindfulness. We may also train people to give these interventions and supervise them.
  • Supporting staff development – EPs provide training, coaching and professional supervision for specialised interventions. This includes training / supervision of Emotional Literacy Support Assistants and support around Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants.
  • Supporting parents - jointly finding strategies to use at home with the child or young person and family.
  • Research and evaluation—doing research to improve practice, build practice-based evidence and improve outcomes.
  • Multi agency work—leading and joining in with discussions about a child or young person with other professionals, usually in multi-agency panels and child centred planning meetings.
  • Strategic work - EPs support schools and the local authority to improve many or all children’s emotional wellbeing and experiences of learning in the long term. We also provide a crisis support service.

EPs can be contacted through Tower Hamlets schools or other education settings. Parents or carers who are concerned about their child should talk to the school first. To contact your local school or provider, please go to the school’s website.

Our work with a child or young person begins when someone shares a concern about their progress, development or emotional well-being. Children under the age of 16 are never seen by themselves without written consent from their parent(s) / carer(s). Young people over the age of 16 and in education must give consent for EP involvement.

All requests for EP involvement are made through schools or other education settings by SENCos, as part of their support for that child or young person’s needs.

What is a Mediating Learning Support Assistant (MeLSA), and how to find out more.

What is a Mediating Learning Support Assistant (MeLSA)?

A Mediating Learning Support Assistant (MeLSA) is a trained, school-based learning support assistant. Their role is to support pupils’ learning. They’re trained by a team of educational psychologists and have ongoing group supervision to help develop and maintain effective practice.

MeLSAs are trained in how to help children /  young people become independent, effective learners. MeLSAs develop essential mediation skills based on cognitive science research to help children reach their full potential. They learn and apply skills in metacognition, growth mindset, retrieval practice and precision teaching to help children learn effectively and perform better.

Who do MeLSAs work with?

MeLSAs may work:

  • individually with a child or young person on a specific learning skill or skills
  • in small groups, where children or young people share a similar learning need, or where the input of one child or young person may support others
  • with most of the class, while the teacher works with children or young people who need more help

What does the training cover?

MeLSAs have 6 days of initial training which covers:

  • mindset
  • memory
  • metacognition (‘thinking about thinking’)
  • recall
  • maths
  • literacy

The training is practical and interactive, and is followed by group supervision.

How to find out more

View a MeLSA blog here: Mediated learning: video series -

For more information, or to enquire about booking a place on the MeLSA course, please contact the MeLSA team at Tower Hamlets Educational Psychology Service

What is a critical incident?

An event that is potentially traumatic, and affects a large part, or the whole of an educational community... Such events are likely to cause many adults and children distress and may threaten to overwhelm their capacity to cope.’

The UK Trauma Council, 2023

This might include a sudden or unexpected incident or sequence of events such as the death of a child or member of staff; a violent incident within or in proximity to the school or a large-scale disaster affecting the wider community. 

Critical Incident Support Service

Tower Hamlets Educational Psychology Service provides critical incident support to:

  • enable schools to deal with the initial impact of critical incidents
  • help school leaders manage and respond to critical incidents, quickly re-establishing familiar routines
  • promote stabilisation, so that schools are contained and containing environments that reduce the impact of trauma 
  • help school communities to be environments for recovery, following these five evidence-based principles:
    - Safety
    - Calm
    - Connectedness 
    - A sense of control 
    - Hope 

How we can help

The Educational Psychology Service has extensive experience working with settings to manage critical incidents and facilitate a return to ‘flexible normality’. The level of response will be determined between the school, the EP from the Critical Incident response team and other services involved. It may depend on the severity of the incident and levels of skill and confidence within the school. When notified of a critical incident, a member of the Educational Psychology Service Critical Incident team will contact the school to assess the situation and explore known facts, and what is, as yet, unknown. In the event of a large-scale incident, the EPS will work closely with other agencies involved. 

Support may include:

  • Telephone contact for initial assessment, advice and support 
  • Consultation with senior leaders / critical incident management team to support emotional regulation, mobilise resources, problem-solve and plan
  • Visiting school and being available for individual / group consultation with key members of staff supporting children and young people (CYP)
  • Supporting school to identify, monitor and support those most impacted by the incident, and others who may also be struggling to cope
  • Working with individuals who are distressed, offering emotional first aid, normalising emotional reactions, and emphasising positive actions and supports to help foster hope and begin the process of recovery
  • Sharing information, advice and guidance and signposting to further sources of support

We will not work directly with CYP in the immediate aftermath of a critical incident. Familiar, trusted adults in school are generally best placed to provide containment, structure, leadership and presence following such incidents. 

Preparing for a Critical Incident

Schools and other education settings should be prepared to cope with an incident through planned critical incident policies and procedures. This can ensure clear routes of support and help to mitigate against impact. Guidance on - Developing a critical incidents policy - UK Trauma Council

It will be important to explain in your policy how these will be used to underpin your response to helping everyone feel safe, calm and connected. This may include information about key roles and responsibilities, lines of communication and contact details, essential tasks, procedures for information gathering, sharing and management and sources of further guidance and support.

We recommended that schools produce a plan which represents best practice in managing and coordinating an emergency response.

The Psychology Service can provide many additional resources, materials, workshops and training support to schools on request. 
For support with media enquiries email the school communication team
In the event of a critical incident- 

Please contact:[email protected]

In addition, please follow emergency reporting guidance published in the Head Teacher’s Bulletin. 

Tower Hamlets Educational Psychology Service (EPS)
London Borough of Tower Hamlets Children’s Services
Town Hall, 160 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BJ

T: 020 7364 2886

E: [email protected]

Emotionally Based School Avoidance EBSA Guidance - Good practice recommendations for schools and support agencies
This guidance document, from Tower Hamlets Educational Psychology Service, gives a range of ideas and resources for schools to support children and young people displaying emotionally based school avoidance behaviours / school refusal / persistent absence. 

Emotionally Based School Avoidance EBSA Guidance - Information booklet for young people
This leaflet gives advice and information to parents and carers of children and young people who are displaying Emotionally Based School Avoidance / school refusal / school anxiety / or persistent absence.

Emotionally Based School Avoidance EBSA Guidance - Information for parents and carers
This leaflet gives advice and information to parents and carers of children and young people who are displaying Emotionally Based School Avoidance / school refusal / school anxiety / or persistent absence.

Moving on – Year 6 and 7 Childrens Transition Workbook 
This booklet will help you think and talk about the feelings that you might have and help to get you ready to start out in a new school.

Supporting Emotional Wellbeing during the Return to School or College
This resource for schools and colleges is based on a rapid review of existing research, and aims to offer psychologically grounded, practical ideas to help school and college staff support CYP returning to their settings and moving on to new settings.

Transition to Secondary School following Covid-19 School Closures
If your child is expressing any worries or concerns about Secondary School right now, you may find this booklet helpful. It contains some ideas about preparing for secondary school, and what to do if worries stick around for a long time.