Midlothian Council Educational Psychology Service Improvement Through Self-Evaluation This document builds on existing self-evaluation information and provides the rationale and context for validated self-evaluation (VSE) activity. Background Factors Midlothian Council Educational Psychology Service (EPS) is located within the Education, Communities and Economy division and the Principal Educational Psychologist (PEP) reports directly to the Head of Education. The PEP is a member of the Education - Schools team and the Education leadership team. Within this team the PEP role is to provide strategic leadership of the EPS and has responsibility for leading research and evidenced based approaches to supporting and challenging schools to raise attainment. Recent changes within the wider Education leadership team with particular relevance to the EPS include the addition of a School Group Manager with responsibility for additional support needs. The EPS staffing has remained at 6.3fte (including PEP) for the last 18 months. There have been some recent changes due to retirement and maternity leave. At present the EPS supports a second year trainee from Strathclyde University and a first year trainee from Dundee University. The work of the EPS embraces all areas of the education service and supports developments and projects as they emerge across the year. We embrace the drivers for improvement to support the achievement of positive outcomes for Midlothian learners. We have complemented this model by clarifying what we mean by positive outcomes for children and young people to inform and measure progress. Using the ‘miracle question’ from solution focussed approaches, the image below shows the outcomes we would expect to see ’if the miracle happened’. We have mapped these onto the eight indicators of wellbeing. As much of our work is with and through others we need to ensure that we seek evidence of positive impact on a range of stakeholders or service users who work directly with children and young people. Follow-Through Inspection – February 2014 The inspection in June 2010 led to follow-through visits in September 2011 and April 2013. During the visit in February 2014 HM Inspectors noted the significant improvement in the quality of educational psychology delivered and as a result the impact of educational psychology. The following key strengths were identified: Greater ambition for Midlothian’s children and young people and a clearer vision for education Strong leadership Increased coherence amongst the team of Educational Psychologists (EPs) Stronger partnership with stakeholders Much closer alignment with the work of the council and council objectives Good practice included research and development at Education and Authority level, a partnership approach to supporting professional development at Authority level and promoting evidence based approaches in education HM Inspectorate identified the following actions: Ensure arrangements for the line management of the EPS remain stable and that appropriate support and challenge are in place to assist the service to continue its improvement journey Explore approaches to improvement planning which are forward and outward looking Continue to develop and embed the SLA and keep the policy framework under review We have taken these on board and have embedded these within the quality framework to ensure they support our continuous improvement process. Where are we now? What key outcomes have we achieved? The strategic themes in our improvement plan are linked to the objectives determined by the single outcome agreement set out in the Single Midlothian Plan and the education plan which demonstrates increased cohesion and synergy between our work and the work of the Midlothian Council. During 2014/2015 we are working to deliver two key outcomes: Improved attainment; attainment and achievement gaps are closed Improved emotional health and wellbeing for children and young people We continue to inform and contribute to action plans in relation to literacy, numeracy, learning and teaching and health and wellbeing through which we actively engage colleagues with research to develop evidence based approaches. The targets set in the team plan for session 2013-2014 were successfully met and appropriate progress is being made towards targets set for this session. Midlothian Data: We use data gathered by Midlothian Council performance and planning team to inform improvement planning and measure impact. In Midlothian there is an improving trend in relation to attainment but it is recognised by all that this is not as strong or as consistent as it should be and therefore there is a focus across Education on improving learning in order to improve attainment. The role of the EPS in supporting and challenging leaders and teachers to provide better learning is central to this. It is anticipated that in future years we will be able to demonstrate greater impact and more positive trends with this data due to the improved and more focussed approach to development work. This data is used to focus the work of the Education and Children & Families monthly management team meetings. From this targeted interventions and reviews are carried out and the EPS takes a key role in this. September 2014 indicators are provided below: Improvements: Child protection: 66% decrease over 2 years since September 2012. Attendance: Primary school average attendance was higher than in September 2013. Exclusions: Primary school average exclusion is lower than last year. Pupils educated outwith Midlothian: 35 pupils in total (maintaining the positive reduction achieved over the last year). Areas for improvement: Looked after children: 98 children Looked After At Home (LAC) and 216 Looked After Away from Home (LAAC). There is an increase of 29 looked after children in the last 2 years and this is due to a 48% increase in the numbers of LAC. Attendance: secondary school average attendance for September 2014 was lower than in September 2012 and 2013. Exclusions: secondary school average exclusion rate was 8.7 per 1000 and was higher than in September 2013. EPS data: In addition to the above we note the following outcomes as the result of specific research and development work carried out by the EPS: Reduction in the number of requests for external placements through the 5 journeys research and related work to improve the processes for assessing and meeting needs. The multi-agency resource group (MARG) actively uses the research to challenge ourselves and others to change practice to improve outcomes for you people. There are a range of case examples to support this. 6 primary schools have completed the Confident Staff, Confident Children course and 19 will complete this session. The course has also been delivered to a group of ASN Outreach teachers, residential unit staff and all visiting specialist teachers. This is focussed on addressing the health and wellbeing needs of children and young people and staff. Course evaluations and ongoing work with schools and ASGs demonstrates impact on staff, school planning, collaborative working and therefore greater capacity to meet learner needs. Achievement of targets set for children and young people through consultation, assessment and intervention as recorded through the plan, do, review process and multi-agency approaches. Outcome themes are detailed later in this report. Positive impact on the implementation of curriculum for excellence through the learning to learn professional developments which focussed on the language of learning, cognitive skills, learning intentions, mindsets and visible learning. Awareness raising and engagement with the research of John Hattie has had an impact on leaders, the focus of career long professional learning opportunities available to all staff and the approach to improving learning in Midlothian. This will be explored further through the VSE process. Informal feedback from stakeholders indicates that by raising the profile of research, supporting staff to engage with research and making it relevant to their practice, practice is beginning to change. Completion of a pilot training course for foster carers on risk taking behaviour as part of the Midlothian GIRFEC plan (specialist intervention sub-group). This was a partnership approach with NHS Lothian Healthy Respect and Midlothian Council. Feedback from carers indicated improved understanding, knowledge, empathy, confidence, patience, knowing why young people behave the way they do, being less judgmental, or becoming a better listener. Evidence: Team plan Task plan Impact measures Confident Staff, Confident Children evaluations Outcomes recorded for children and young people GIRFEC report Risk Taking Behaviours – evaluation report How well do we meet the needs of our stakeholders? In November 2013, in line with our quality improvement framework we sought feedback from authority staff and partners who identified greater impact for children and young people through the delivery of key processes at all levels. We recognised the need to consolidate the improvements made, deliver consistency of practice and continue to develop wider partnership working and professional development opportunities. Given the changes in the EPS these have been consistent themes within feedback from a range of stakeholders and EPS staff. To support this, service delivery has remained consistent this session and opportunities for partnership working and professional development are actively pursued. We continue to gather feedback informally from authority staff and partners and publish this quarterly on our website. This confirms that we are continuing to deliver high quality educational psychology to, develop partnerships with and build capacity of a wide range of staff who work directly with children and young people to meet their learning and wellbeing needs. We seek feedback from schools each session about levels of satisfaction, impact and how we can improve this. Following one year of a service level agreement being in place schools describe the EPS as more visible, accessible and responsive to the needs of schools while also promoting inclusion of children and families in planning to meet their needs. They acknowledge our wider strategic involvement at school and associated school group (ASG) level and that we continue to deliver positive outcomes for children and young people. Schools value the role we have taken in building capacity through a range of professional development opportunities. We need to embed the positive changes made to service delivery and it is anticipated that the positive working relationships we have established will enable this and will lead to further positive outcomes for young people. The alignment of this approach with ASG and school improvement planning processes has increased the potential impact of the EPS. The question ‘how can we work with secondary schools to have greatest impact?’ was a recurring theme through support and supervision. The stakeholder reference group in May 2014 was used to explore this with secondary colleagues and partners. It was clear that EPs carry out a range of tasks within the context of working with secondary schools and schools and partners value these and the EP as a key resource in meeting learner needs and supporting staff. It is recognised that this is the start of a process to review how we work together and it allowed us to identify what was working and use this to guide improvements this session. As a result of this there have been some changes to the service level agreement for work with secondary schools to enable EPs to prioritise early intervention work with schools and join existing school mechanisms for identifying work in relation to individual pupil needs and planning as well as supporting professional development or strategic work. The impact of this will be monitored throughout the year and through end of session review meetings. Improving outcomes for children and young people is the focus of all the work we do. We continue to ensure that children and young people are central to planning for their needs and that their voice is heard. Our approaches to managing meetings ensure that children and young people and their families are empowered to make a contribution and this was recognised in feedback from schools. Impact of EP work through consultation, assessment and intervention is recorded through a plan, do, review system in which outcomes for the child or young person are now being explicitly identified and recorded. A summary of this showed a range of outcomes for young people, some of these were specific to the individual needs and context, but the following themes can be identified: appropriate progress in learning planning and review through IEP process greater confidence (pupil and family) attendance learner understanding of themselves adult understanding the learner regulation of emotions and/ or behaviour reduced anxiety additional support for the family no further involvement of EPS Ongoing engagement with parents and carers through our work in schools tell us that we continue to communicate and engage well with parents and they are positive about the quality of advice and support they receive. In line with good practice we seek feedback from children and young people and parents and carers at the end of a piece of work and acknowledge that the response rate is not high. We look for more creative ways to ensure that the views and needs of children and young people, parents and carers influence our selfevaluation and improvement planning. This year we used the information from the Midlothian stakeholder survey (all pupils) to guide improvement planning and to contextualise development work for school staff so that it has greatest relevance and therefore impact e.g. visible learning, 5 journeys. Within other areas of our work such as the application of John Hattie’s research, ‘my plan, my voice’ and practitioner enquiry we are building the capacity of all to seek the views of learners to focus interventions and maximise impact for learners. We regularly participate in wider parental engagement events and use these events to share information, seek feedback and when possible participation in development work. We have taken on board parental preference and we ensure that families (and all stakeholders) have easy access to information about the work of the EPS through a variety of social media tools. Evidence: Quality framework Service level agreements Examples of partnership professional development – Early years masterclass, Cognitive Abilities Profile training, dynamic assessment training, joint development meetings with Children and Families/ Education Welfare Officers and CAMHs Comments, compliments and complaints Frameworki Stakeholder reference group minutes Standards and quality newsletter (Feedback from schools) Midlothian stakeholder survey Parental engagement events Website, twitter, newsletters How good is our delivery of key processes? The quality improvement framework and model of service delivery ensures that we know how well we are delivering the key processes of consultation, assessment, intervention, professional development and research and use this evidence to inform improvement planning and innovative approaches to the delivery of these processes such as through practitioner enquiry. The impact of how well we deliver the key processes is demonstrated by the positive impact we have on stakeholders and our overall performance. We are confident that we are making improvements to key outcomes and have a positive impact on all stakeholders. The features of good practice highlighted by HM Inspectorate in February 2014 continue to be developed and embedded in our approach to service delivery to ensure greatest impact: Having considered the factors which affect the impact of development work the 5 journeys research is now embedded within the Confident Staff Confident Children programme to ensure that all staff in Midlothian engage meaningfully with the key messages. Through the use of a coaching approach staff are supported to consider how they can make a difference for our most vulnerable children and young people. 5 journeys research methodology has been used in another setting to inform service re-design to ensure inclusion of young people in their local community while effectively meeting their needs (to reduce exclusion, improve attendance, attainment and achievement). The key messages from the 5 journeys work and data available about attendance (particularly for LAC) has led to exploration of the issue of reduced attendance. We know from our own research and national research that reduced access to and engagement in education has a detrimental effect on outcomes for young people and their families. This piece of work aims to improve full-time access to education in order to improve outcomes for children and young people. A joint research project with children and families (Education Welfare Officers, EWOs) and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) has been negotiated to explore how we can improve attendance at school in order to improve inclusion, attainment and achievement for young people. Use of John Hattie’s evidence base to support the implementation of curriculum for excellence, build capacity for self-evaluation, engage teachers in a practitioner enquiry approach to career long professional learning and support newly qualified teachers (NQTs). The visible learning approach to implementing Hattie’s research supports teachers and schools to evaluate their impact to ensure they have the greatest effect on student learning. Partnership delivery of a practitioner enquiry course for teachers with a visible learning focus. Evidence: New ‘spotlights’ to support strategic developments Leadership CLPL Visible NQTs programme Practitioner enquiry course CSCC training course Joint presentation with Keith Millar (Top Service) on 5 journeys work and its impact at the annual conference for EPs in Scotland Joint meetings with EWOs and CAMHS How good is our leadership? The professional leadership of all EPs has continued to grow and strengthen the overall impact of the EPS, this is evidenced in a variety of ways and in particular the standards and quality newsletter and improvement plan. Feedback from stakeholders confirms this. Participation in the VSE pilot has enabled EPs to further develop their leadership skills and commitment to self-evaluation. Partnership working is encouraged both across the team and with partners and there are higher levels of joint working on professional development and research projects. EPs are supported through a range of professional development opportunities to ensure that we are able to continue to deliver high quality educational psychology which has a positive impact for children and young people. This session ‘breakthrough’ time has been included within the EPS time allocation model. The purpose of this time is to encourage team members to take more ownership of their professional learning and to ensure we actively utilise our collective knowledge, skills, experience and interests. Twice per year (December & June) the team will share the outcomes and impact of their development with the team. The impact of this new approach is not yet known but we anticipate impact for staff and ongoing EPS improvement. Evidence: EPS plan Standards and quality newsletter Team engagement in VSE planning process Feedback from stakeholders Individual ownership of leadership responsibilities Team activity calendar Improvement through self-evaluation The quality improvement framework was introduced in 2013 and we have demonstrated that this is an active framework which guides our gathering of feedback and evidence in a timely and well planned manner. This allows us to use that evidence to inform improvements which focus on outcomes for young people. The work carried out this session to clarify what we mean by outcomes for young people has helped focus approaches to self-evaluation. We have adapted the ‘self-improving school systems’ model for educational psychology to provide a series of support and challenge visits with West Lothian and Stirling and Clackmannanshire (soon to include East Lothian) EPSs. During the follow-up inspection in February 2014 HM Inspectorate encouraged us to take account of good practice outwith Midlothian, we have done this in a variety of ways and will continue to do so. As a result of our continuous improvement journey we are increasingly looked to for examples of good practice. All areas of work and approaches to self-evaluation support us to build leadership capacity across the team. The synergy between the work of the EPS and the wider education team and council gives energy and momentum to our capacity for continuous improvement. This will be further enhanced through the VSE process. Evidence: Quality framework Participation of DPEP from Glasgow City EPS at stakeholder reference group Requests for information following workshop at annual conference Requests for information from other services Informal feedback from other services and local authorities Peer support with other PEPs Engagement with national organisations such as visible learning (Osiris) Early Years masterclass with Galina Dolya (flyer) which included colleagues from Borders, West Lothian, East Lothian and Edinburgh city Leadership conference: visible learning which involved colleagues from Tobermory High School, Hodge Hill Primary School (Birmingham) and Craig Parkinson (Orisis) Validated self-evaluation The two agreed themes for EPS VSE are ‘learning and teaching’ and ‘partnership working’. Building on previous follow-through inspection activity and our own cycle of self-evaluation and improvement planning we have identified the following tasks: Evaluate the impact we are having on learning and teaching through the application of John Hattie’s visible learning research Evaluate the impact we have had through a partnership approach to career long professional learning and research to improve outcomes for children and young people in Midlothian. We have chosen to incorporate leadership across the two themes and aim to answer the following: How well we have developed the leadership of all EPs to ensure impact and outcomes within the two themes. The three overarching questions for this process are: How are we doing? (outcomes) How do we know? (evidence) What are we going to do now (improvement) In order to ensure that the VSE process helps us to close the gap between where we are now and where we want to be, we need to ensure the following features: An appropriate range of activities Commitment to self-evaluation from all A range of evidence is used A full and appropriate range of stakeholders are involved We challenge ourselves and others Strong evaluative questions are asked A focus on outcomes for children and young people Scoping documents for each theme provide further details and identify the selfevaluation questions and activities that will help us answer the overarching questions.