Role of the Educational Psychology Service

1.Individual Referrals
Educational Psychologists respond to referrals submitted through specified procedures as described below. In cases of emergency Educational Psychologists respond immediately.

1.1. Referrals from Parents
Parents seeking the help of Educational Psychologists for dealing with learning, emotional or behavioural difficulties of their children may apply directly to the EPS by filling out the ďReferral to the Educational Psychology ServiceĒ Form available from the Educational Psychology Service Office of their district of residence

1.2. Referrals from Schools
Schools may refer individual children to the EPS through their Principals by filling out the relevant forms and submitting them to the appropriate District Educational Psychology Office.

The procedure set out in the Mechanism for the Identification and Support of Children with Learning, Emotional and/or Other Problems of the Ministry of Education and Culture should be followed. This procedure applies to all public schools of Primary, Secondary General and Secondary Technical and Vocational Education. Accordingly, as soon as a child is identified as in need of help, the parents are informed and engage with the school in dealing with the problem. Targets are set and each party works towards the agreed targets. Progress is systematically monitored and if, after a reasonable period of time and despite all efforts, it is found wanting, then the Educational Psychologists advice and /or intervention is sought by filling out the appropriate form.

In cases of an urgent nature the Educational Psychologist will respond immediately upon the receipt of a telephone call.

1.3. Referrals from District Committees for Special Education and Training
The functioning of District Committees for Special Education and Training is set out by Law 113(I)/1999.

These committees are mandated to evaluate all referrals through designating primary multidisciplinary teams of experts that usually include an Educational Psychologist.

2. Interventions

2.1. Intervention in individual cases
Referrals to the EPS require prior consent of the parents. Depending on age, children need also to be informed about being referred.

Based on the information made available through the referral form, the Educational Psychologist conducts a preliminary evaluation and subsequently communicates with the school and the family in order to plan next steps. The Educational Psychologist makes everyone involved aware of their obligation to inform and prepare the child for meeting the Psychologist.

The Educational Psychologist works with the child, the family and the school. On the basis of her/his findings she/he draws a plan for meeting the needs of the child, in collaboration with everyone involved, including the child, the parents, teachers and other professionals. All information gathered by the Psychologist is kept strictly confidential. Reports containing the Psychologistís evaluation and recommendations are submitted to relevant agencies and the monitoring of individual cases is continued as needed.

2.2 The promotion of mental health for maximising learning at the school community level through wider interventions and programmes.
Educational Psychologists, in cooperation with other partners in education, ensure the inclusion and support of children with sensory, cognitive or learning difficulties through the development of various programmes within schools.

Educational Psychologists also help in the development and application of preventive programmes that aim mainly towards the promotion of mental health. They work within the framework of Health Education for the development of social and emotional skills, the improvement of communication skills and the prevention of school failure and school violence and delinquency.

2.3 Prevention of school violence and juvenile delinquency
This is one of the main targets set out by the Educational Psychology Service. In harmony with contemporary ideas and practice, Educational Psychologists concern themselves with all of the social environments that a child lives in (school, family, community). They work in close cooperation with schools, assisting them in their efforts to open up to the community and to partner with local government and other bodies in the development of preventive actions and programmes.

The Educational Psychology Service is also actively involved in action-research and takes part in the development of European programmes within schools such as Daphne II and Daphne III.

2.4 Crises management in Schools
The Educational Psychology Service has prepared a plan of action for managing crises in schools. Most of their professional staff has undergone advanced training in this area, both in Cyprus and abroad, at a level that allows them to join the European Network of School Psychologists for crisis management.

Their training has covered areas such as providing psychological aid in cases of experiencing traumatic events, death and bereavement, suicide attempts or any kind of serious crisis within the school and the wider community. Other areas covered include breaking bad news, high risk and safety appraisal within the school, specific anti-bullying techniques (shared concern approach) and team working in crises management.

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