Welcome to the first edition of the UCL Educational Psychology Group newsletter!
Every term we will bring you news and forthcoming events from the Group. We hope this will keep our graduates, DECPsy and DEdPsy course members, tutors, Supervisors, Research Advisors and other affiliates in touch and will prove an enjoyable and informative read.
Team Update/New Faces
Over the spring/summer we were joined by 16 new members of the Group, to whom we extend a warm welcome:
Our 2 new Academic & Professional tutors - Dr Ben Hayes
(SEP, Kent and graduate of our CPD Doctorate programme) and Gavin Morgan
Our new Research Methods and Statistics tutor Dr Souhila Messaoud-Galusi
, who joined us from the UCL Department of Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences in September
Our new Group Administrator Eleanor Brennan
, who joined us from the UCL Slavonic Studies library in May.
And of course our fourth cohort of DECPsy trainees (09-12) – Christina, Gemma, Hannah, Holly, Jane, Karen, Kate, Louise, Nicol, Nicholas, Siobhan and Stephanie - who joined us in September. Click here
to see some group pictures from their early weeks on the programme.
We would also like to offer our thanks and best wishes to outgoing members of the team - former Practice Tutor Shani Khan (now a Senior Educational Psychologist at Waltham Forrest), former Research Methods tutor Robin Murphy (who has taken on a new position at the University of Oxford) and long serving Group Administrator Steph Douglas, who left both UCL and London for a new life in Suffolk (and has just bought a lovely period home there)!
Finally, we wish Norah an enjoyable and productive sabbatical and look forward to her return in May 2010 after some well-deserved research time.
DEdPsy and DECPsy Graduations
We warmly congratulate our trainees and course members whose degree awards were conferred this year.
Our 06-09 DECPsy trainees celebrated with some well-deserved champagne, cake, UCL/PBL themed charade playing and even some singing at their post-viva party and last day at UCL back on 17th July. Click here to see the lyrics of the song they penned (a reworked version of 70s karaoke favourite “I will survive”’) to summarise their experience of the initial training Doctorate!
Click here to see a montage of party photos!
We would like to thank our initial cohort of 14 (nicknamed the ‘year 1 guinea pigs’) and congratulate them on their huge achievement. You can see posters of some of their thesis findings here. We look forward to seeing them all again in September 2010 for their official graduation ceremony and reunion party!
Meanwhile on our CPD Doctorate (DEdPsy) we are equally proud to announce that in Spring 2009, Michelle Sancho became Dr Michelle Sancho, Gill Matson became Dr Gill Matson and Yvonne Walker became Dr Yvonne Walker! Michelle is pictured here celebrating with fellow DECPsy tutor and 2008 DEdPsy graduate Dr Juliet Starbuck on their graduation day on 10th September 2009.
And here is a picture of Gill, together with her husband, Alistair, tutor Tony Cline and Tony’s wife Sue, celebrating Gill’s DEdPsy award and Alistair’s diploma in archaeology at a family party in a venue near their home in East Grinstead, West Sussex. Gill organised and took part in some scratch instrumental group playing and choral singing performances, between the courses, proving what a multi-talented bunch our course members are!
Accolades and Awards
The Group is proud to announce awards for our very own Sandra Dunsmuir and Sean Cameron, plus an outstanding endorsement for the whole team from the BPS.
In May, Sandra received a prestigious Provost’s Teaching Award - only 5 of which were awarded in the 'Experienced Academic Staff' category across the whole of UCL in 2009. There was stiff competition for these awards, but Professor Michael Warton expressed the panel’s admiration for all that Sandra has done and is doing to enhance the learning experience of students in UCL. David Shanks added that competition for the PTAs has become exceptionally strong
recently so to come away with an award is a huge achievement. Norah observed that this award is very richly deserved for innovative work both at UCL and nationally (e.g. leadership of the HEA funded CCET project involving all EP training programmes) and a magnificent achievement for the Group to celebrate.
Sandra is pictured above attending a ceremony/reception on 16 July. Click here to view a clip of the award ceremony. Click here or on the image above to see an image slideshow from the event.
Many congratulations as well to Sean who - as well as successfully completing the ‘novice grandad’ course recently - has received the 2009 DECP Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Psychology. We understand that Sean is hoping this award carries with it a two week holiday in Acapolca! The award ceremony will be held in January 2010.
In Spring 2009 the DECPsy team was delighted to receive 6 commendations from the British Psychological Society following the February 2009 accreditation visit. This provides an outstanding endorsement of which we can all be proud. Click here to read the report.
Births, weddings and personal news
The past few months have seen a flurry of new grandparents and trainee weddings in the Educational Psychology Group!
December 2008 was a momentous month in the DEdPsy tutor team, as both of our CPD Doctorate Directors became grandads. Amy was born to Tony's daughter Vicky in the early hours of Christmas Eve, was home with her mum by 5.00 pm that day and met her cousins at a family get-together on Christmas Day. This picture was taken when her grandparents raced round to greet her shortly afterwards.
The meravigliosa creatura which has changed Sean's life is Arthur Robert Patrick Smith, his first grandchild, who was born on December the 1st 2008 to daughter Helen and her partner Terry. This picture shows Arthur trying unsuccessfully to coax a smile from his grumpy 'Pappy'.
And pictured here is Group Administrator Helen's first grandchild, George Stirling Debell, just 3 weeks old, sleeping through his first pub lunch. George arrived two minutes into the bewitching hour of midnight on Saturday 26 September 2009 weighing an ample 9lbs. He is the son of Helen's daughter Lydia and her partner Darren. Helen said that George swiftly enchanted the whole Hosier family and has his two aunts and both grandparents competing to offer their baby-sitting services. In fact Grandad Jim Hosier beat the rest of the family to get the first glimpse of baby George by blagging his way into the Maternity Ward at 10am that morning.... much to Helen's disbelief and disgruntlement!
During Spring/Summer 2009 two of our 08-11 cohort DECPsy trainees tied the knot.
Sarah Woods (nee Coulter) flew to Hawaii with husband Paul during the Easter holidays to get married at the Kahala Hotel in Oahu on 10th April (pictured). They went over to Maui the day after for the honeymoon.
Derrick Imadojemun married Noor-ulain on 9th August 2009. This picture shows the wedding party held 2 days later on 11th August.
Our thanks (as well as congratulations) go to Derrick, Sarah, Helen, Sean and Tony for sharing these lovely pieces of news.
A sporting update next...intrepid DECPsy tutor and DEdPsy graduate Juliet Starbuck ran the London marathon in April, in 3 hours and 48 minutes. She raised money for Get Kids Going, a charity which buys sports equipment for physically disabled children and young people. This was Juliet's second marathon and she says "as to whether I will ever do it again - we'll have to see!"
Finally, two of our 06-09 DECPsy graduates are already proving - in very different ways - that there is life after PBL! In January 2010 Sarah Pryce will be taking some time off work to go travelling around the world for 7 months, starting in South America then heading through Australia to South East Asia, whilst Rebecca Williamson and her husband James are expecting their first baby in March.
Publications and Research
‘Measures in Children’s Mental Health & Psychological Wellbeing: A Portfolio for Education & Health Professionals’, edited by Norah Frederickson and Sandra Dunsmuir was published by GL Assessment in September. This collection of 9 previously unpublished tests has been designed specifically to relate to the Every Child Matters agenda and the Children’s Plan (DCSF 2007), addressing the wide range of emotional and psychological issues that children may encounter and helping non-specialist staff identify the early signs of mental health difficulties so appropriate referrals and interventions can be made. Click here for further details.
‘Achieving Positive Outcomes for Children in Care’. Also published in September, (after “a considerable amounts of blood, sweat, tears and quite a number of expletives”), this book by Sean Cameron and Colin Maginn examines how interventions for looked-after children could be reshaped to provide children with the support they needed to rebuild their lives. Click here for further details from the Sage website. Any of the DECPsy trainees who cannot afford to purchase the book can borrow a well-thumbed copy from Sean upon request.
Ben Hayes presented a workshop at the third International Video Interaction Guidance conference in Dundee in September. The workshop reported a staff development project in a secondary school that used V.I.G. to foster positive interactions and relationships between staff and a group of pupils who were identified as having challenging behaviour. The outcomes explored staff perceptions of V.I.G. and found that staff valued it as a model for professional development. At the same conference UCL's very own Professor Peter Fonagy gave a keynote address about how relationships affect brain development, cognitive abilities and attachment patterns which will be available for viewing at this website in the near future.
Tony and Norah have published a second edition of their heavy textbook Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity. It proved a little too heavy for the judges of the NASEN national awards who shortlisted it for an award for promoting professional development but did not make it their 2009 winner. Click here for details from the Open University Press website.
Tony and his ex-colleagues from the University of Luton, now scattered to four different universities, have continued to publish work arising from an ESRC-funded project they completed two years ago. In 2009 articles appeared on Young Peoples’ Representations of ‘Atypical’ Work in the journal Children and Society, and on the Implications of Family Changes for Schools in Pastoral Care in Education. Tony's series of articles on Special Educational Needs and Bilingualism continued with a short paper for professionals in the field of severe and profound learning difficulties in the journal SLD Experience.
2008-9 Evaluation of Buckinghamshire LA's delivery strategy
In the summer of 2008 Norah was approached by Buckinghamshire Children and Young People’s Trust to tender for an independent evaluation of the progress made by the Authority in the implementation of its Every Child Matters policy. Norah accordingly brought a team together made up of Jane Lang, herself and Roger Booker who proposed a piece of research comprising:
- A multi-level focus group based review across a sample of all professionals involved in the roll out of the strategy to date
- Interviews with a sample of parents and young people
- Analysis of all data compiled by the authority to date
The proposal was accepted and with key link staff within Bucks a series of focus groups was set up and conducted between October and January 2009. The key issues to investigate were progress in implementing the Common Assessment Framework and Team Around the Child, the functioning of new Early Intervention and Assessment Panels, proposals for the setting up of local area multi-professional teams, and aspects of the change process including timing, leadership and training. 57 front line professionals from all agencies, including schools, were included in the groups and separate interviews were conducted with the second tier managers overseeing the programme. Jane undertook the major task of undertaking a qualitative analysis of the focus group transcripts.
Some difficulty was experienced in making arrangements to interview parents for reasons of confidentiality and in the end only three were interviewed.
The final report to the Trust and the local authority (April 2009) was able to highlight the significant achievements made in implementing new structures and practice, and additionally made recommendations regarding timing of next steps in strategy implementation, communication of the vision, leadership at middle management levels, options for locality teams (including the controversial issue of co-location of professionals), and projections for future numbers of children likely to be the subject of common assessments of the strategy and implications for resourcing and further outcome evaluation.
We thought this a brave initiative by a local authority prepared to commission outsiders to make an independent evaluation of their practice. For us it was a fascinating opportunity to explore views on local implementation of the government’s agenda for children and young people as well as views from different “slices” across the multi-professional networks of a large county. It also demonstrates a potential role for the department in undertaking commissioned research of this kind.
Buckinghamshire Autism Spectrum Disorders Project
Click here to read a summary of the findings of this 3 year investigative study into social inclusion and emotion recognition for over 120 students with and without ASD in Buckinghamshire primary and secondary schools, conducted by Norah and Alice Jones.
Educational Psychology on the Equator
At the beginning of September, Sean and Dr Karen Vincett (SEP in Essex and DECPsy Research Advisor) spent 8 days in Singapore contributing to the new two year training programme for Associate Psychologists. This is a joint National Institute of Education (NIE)/Nanyang Technological University venture designed to provide applied psychologists who will work with teaching staff in primary schools.
Obviously UCL was chosen because of its ‘excellence’ but the fact that the head of the School Psychology Branch, Dr Mariam Aljunied, was a member of the MSc group at UCL back in 1994 probably helped a little!
Singapore is a beautiful island but Karen and Sean tell us they saw only a little of its array of visitor attractions because of the demanding work ethic which is present in a country which occupies a position in the premier league of developed economies.
However, this tough teaching regime was more than compensated for by the liveliness and enthusiasm of the 21 Associate Psychologists on the course. The Singapore humour and a visit to the national orchid collection (pictured) also helped to offset the jet lag.
Early in the New Year, it is Norah’s turn to make the trip, while Sandra will jet in on the Air Bus 380 in mid-summer 2010.
Finally an item of special interest to our current year one DECPsy trainees, who can get an insight into what next year may hold for them by clicking on the links below to 2 'day in the life of a trainee EP' stories contributed by two of our 08-11 cohort members based at different corners of the globe:
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