What's the difference between an independent ed psych and one who works for a local authority?
There is no difference in terms of their training, knowledge, skills or ablity to carry out their job well. Increasing numbers of ed psychs now combine part time work in the independent sector with local authority employment. It's not usually possible to do both in the same authority due to the likely conflict of interest, but a local authority ed psych may be an independent ed psych in a neighbouring authority, and vice versa.
An educational psychologist who is entirely self employed is likely to have more control over the work that they do and a greater ability to develop their skills and knowledge in particular areas of their choosing. A local authority ed psych will be embedded in the authority's provision and is likely to have a greater knowledge of how that organisation works and of local authority processes. Regardless of how they are employed, all educational psychologists have to meet the same quality standards and are equally at risk of being sanctioned by the Health and Care Professions Council if their practice falls short of those standards.
How much do you charge?
Please contact us for information about our costs. We will be very happy to give you a clear indication of how much we charge based on the work you are requesting.
We charge on a day, half-day or hourly basis as appropriate. There are some detailed estimates of the time required for different pieces of work in the Where does the time go? document on our Downloads page. For schools and academies we don't charge extra for 'pay as you go' arrangements but we do charge a lower daily rate for all days purchased if you purchase 5 or more days from us in a year by contract. Regardless of the number of days purchased, there's no charge for unlimited follow up contact by email or phone after we have finished a piece of work.
Please note that ed psych assessments are exempt from VAT unless you arrange the assessment through an agency.
We offer some services at no cost to voluntary sector organisations supporting vulnerable children and adults. Contact us to request the criteria for this work.
Can we use one of your reports as evidence to support an application for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?
Yes. The SEND Code of Practice indicates that the ed psych who is asked to provide the psychological advice for a statutory assessment might not be employed by a local authority (p. 156). If a local authority ed psych does do this work then the Code says that they “should consult any other psychologists known to be involved with the child or young person” (p. 156). The Code also states that the local authority must not request further assessments of a child if the assessments that have already been done are suitable for the EHC plan (p. 155).
In practice we are independent ed psychs and we are also the 'local' educational psychology service for a number of schools across more than one local authority area. Our reports are routinely used as evidence to support applications for EHCPs, and quoted extensively by local authority ed psychs when those requests are accepted. We have also received referrals directly from local authority SEN caseworkers to provide evidence for amendments to EHC Plans.
How soon can I get an appointment with you?
As a guide there is typically a waiting time of about 5 weeks for appointments but this can become as long as 2 to 3 months at different times of the year. Please contact us and we will be able to give you a precise answer to this question.
Do you charge for travel time and mileage?
We make a separate charge for travel only if you are further than 25 miles by car from our office base in Portsmouth. Under these circumstances we charge a fixed sum of £25 plus the HMRC rate of 45p per mile for miles travelled each way beyond the 25 mile limit. We use standard smartphone Sat Navs to calculate journey times and distances.
Will I get a written report?
We provide a written report of the work we have carried out and the recommendations we make as a standard part of the service we offer. We provide our reports within 10 working days of the assessment appointment.
What professional insurance cover do you have?
We have Professional Liability Insurance provided by Towergate Professional Risks, which includes Public Liability and Professional Indemnity cover.
Who else sees the reports you write?
The reports we write contain personal, and usually sensitive, information about specific children, young people, adults and families. Decisions about their distribution must be guided by knowledge of our duties under the Data Protection Act 2018.
Generally speaking we will only distribute our reports to other organisations or people with the consent of the person or persons that the reports are about. Anyone who receives our reports should not copy them to others without this same consent. The children, young people and adults who are the subjects of our reports can pass copies of those reports on to anyone they would like to share them with. There is more information about use of personal data here www.solentpsychology.co.uk/personal-information
Will you travel outside of the Solent area?
Yes we are very happy to do this and can provide any of our assessment, training or consultancy services across the country. Any additional charge for travel time or costs would be agreed with you before the work was started.
Do you do home visits? Will you visit the school?
We make home visits and visits to schools, colleges and other settings. If we agree with you that a visit to more than one of these is necessary in order to do a piece of work well then we will certainly do this.
Will you charge us for a cancelled appointment?
There are so many different circumstances in which a cancellation can occur that we would try to agree a reasonable response to this with you on a case by case basis. Generally speaking if a cancellation occurs before we have arrived for an appointment then we wouldn't make any charge for this, particularly if the work was re-scheduled. If work is cancelled after we have arrived we are likely to charge for the total time spent on the cancelled appointment, including travel time, but not charge for the whole appointment as if it had gone ahead. In the exceptional circumstances of us cancelling an appointment we will re-schedule it for you as a matter of priority.
My son's school says the local authority ed psych doesn't have time to meet children individually. Am I allowed to ask you to work with him?
You are perfectly entitled to ask. The ed psych in question may feel that working with individual children is not the best use of their time or they may be following an agreed policy in the local authority ed psych service. There's no reason why we can't see a child in a school that normally works with a local authority ed psych. Unfortunately you can't assume that the school would be willing to pay for our time under these circumstances so it's likely that you would have to pay for this work.
How long does an assessment take?
Good psychological assessments should be trying to answer questions, so the length of the assessment depends on the concerns you have expressed and the questions you would like answered. Psychologists are often asked to give advice and carry out assessments in situations where there is at least puzzlement, if not very stressful uncertainty, and no clear steps towards a solution. As a guide, a thorough assessment of literacy, learning or behaviour difficulties under those circumstances will usually take a day of time in total, split between the discussions and gathering of background information, the assessment work itself and providing a written report with detailed recommendations. By contrast, assessment work that is addressing only one or two very specific questions about a person whose needs are in other respects well understood will take less time than this. Contact us to discuss your specific requirements.
What if I'm unhappy with the service you provide?
As with any other service provider, we hope that in the first instance you'll talk to us about this. If we can't arrive at a solution that meets your needs, and you are certain that further action is required, then you should raise your concerns with the Health and Care Professions Council who deal with complaints about psychologists. If your concerns are about how we've handled your personal information then you should contact the Information Commissioner's Office.