Classroom with teacher and children

Child, community and educational psychology (M4)

Qualify as a registered practitioner educational psychologist with this doctorate course, validated by the University of Essex

Completing this three year full-time course will enable you to work as a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)-registered practitioner educational psychologist, and to be chartered with the British Psychological Society (BPS). Taught in-person, this highly regarded professional doctorate training course has been recently re-validated with commendations by the University of Essex.

Please note: applications to this course are made via the Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP). Please see the entry requirements tab for more details.

Please note: you may see the M4 course also referred to as PTDOTP001 in communications from our application system.

About this course

The Trust has a long-standing reputation for innovation and thought leadership, nationally and internationally, and the course draws heavily on applying systemic, psychodynamic and attachment-informed perspectives to professional psychological practice in schools and the community.

We emphasise understanding oneself in the professional role and the ways in which relationships influence all aspects of support and intervention for children, young people, families, schools and other services in the community.

Valued features of our programme include:

  • our clinician-trainer approach where those who see our patients teach our trainees
  • training in a working mental health Trust alongside students from a range of other disciplines and modalities including psychotherapy, clinical psychology, social work and family therapy
  • a clinical placement in the first year in one of our child and adolescent mental health teams
  • a privileging of supervisory relationships with a committed and thoughtful personal supervision team
  • an emphasis on reflection individually and in groups, and attention across all three years to group process and group dynamics
  • creative application of technology-enhanced learning, including the use of video to support professional development

Over the three years, you will learn experientially and through lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. You will gain professional experience through placements in child and adolescent mental health and educational psychology services. The overall aim of the programme is to equip our students with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to practise ethically, effectively and responsibly.

You will follow the British Psychological Society (BPS) core curriculum with modules covering child and adolescent development, assessment and intervention and research. Two additional modules account for psychodynamic, systemic and attachment perspectives (‘Psychological frameworks’) and the place of consultation in applied practice (‘Professional in context’).

All modules attend to:

  • the ethical component of practice across the five core functions of assessment, intervention, consultation, training and research
  • cultural responsivity in educational psychological practice, reflections on sameness and difference and the capacity to work towards a more socially just and fair society for all

Year one

You will follow the BPS core curriculum, covered by four modules:

  • ‘Assessment and intervention/child development (CHAI)’
  • ‘Professional in context (PiC)’
  • ‘Research’
  • ‘Psychological frameworks (PF)’

You will focus on the individual-in-context (for example, the toddler in the context of the early years setting or the adolescent in the context of the secondary school and family). You will undertake a one-day-a-week placement in a CAMHS team working within a multi-disciplinary team of trainees and experienced, qualified clinicians. You will undertake an additional placement in a London Educational Psychology Service (EPS) where you are supervised by one of our fieldwork tutors. EPS placement locations vary according to service arrangements with the Trust; as an illustrative example for 2022-23 we have placements in Haringey, Islington, Lewisham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Southwark, Redbridge and Harrow.

Year two

In general, three days a week in the second year are spent on placement. This amounts to 130 days across the year. In year two, you will focus on groups and you will be required to facilitate either an adult or a children’s group as part of your learning under supervision.

You will also attend a week-long group relations conference. You will be supported in practising Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in casework.
You will continue with Research, CHAI and PF modules. The research module will involve planning and initiating your doctoratal research project

Year three

In your third year, the focus of study is on organisations and you will carry out supervised organisational development work in your placement. You will complete your doctoral research study and this is expected to extend the knowledge and evidence base in educational psychology practice. This will be supervised and submitted as a 40,000 word thesis. You will complete a further 130 days on educational psychology service placement, again usually three days per week.

Who is this course for?

This course is for you if you are seeking a professional applied psychology training course, have already completed an honours degree in psychology and gained sufficient and relevant experience of working with children and young people to form a basis for further training and on-going development.

Find out more about candidate specifications from the Association of Educational Psychologists.

Course details

In line with national training requirements, applicants need to:

  • have the minimum of a psychology degree (with honours, preferably 2:1 or above) or a qualifying conversion course or Master’s degree, with eligibility for the British Psychological Society (BPS) Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). You can check your eligibility with the BPS and please note that you must have achieved eligibility before the application deadline. If the qualification that grants you eligibility for GBC is not from the UK or Ireland, you will also be required to enter your BPS membership number at the application stage
  • have gained a minimum of one year’s full-time (37 hours a week or the equivalent if part-time) experience of working with children and young people by the application deadline. This is usually within an educational, health, social care, youth justice, childcare or community setting. This experience might include teaching, learning and behaviour mentoring, being a teaching assistant, social worker, speech and language therapist or assistant psychologist. This minimum experience can be made up of all paid employment, or at least nine months full-time paid employment (or the equivalent if part-time) and the equivalent of three months sustained relevant voluntary experience. Any additional paid or voluntary experience over the one-year minimum requirement should also be included in applications as the length, depth and range of experience may be taken into consideration in selection

Application timings

Applications to this course are made via the timetable below and the Association of Educational Psychologists website where further details for 2023 entry can be found.

  • Application start date: Wednesday 14 September 2022 (midday)
  • References deadline: Tuesday 15 November 2022 (5pm)
  • Application deadline: Wednesday 16 November 2022 (5pm)
  • Interviewing and shortlisting deadline: Wednesday 15 March 2023 (5pm)
  • Offer release: Wednesday 22 March 2023 (midday)

(Candidates will have seven days from receiving an offer to accept or decline an EPFT place.)

This course is funded by the Department for Education. The Association of Educational Psychologists provide more information about funding.

If you choose to self fund, Home students will be charged £27,050 per year and International students will be charged £54,100 per year.

Please note that course fees are subject to an annual uplift of 3% or the Consumer Price Inflation as at 1 September, whichever is the greater. At its discretion, the Trust may determine a figure between these two rates.

The course is assessed through presentations, written assignments and a professional practice portfolio which is submitted at the end of each year. In the final year a research thesis of 40,000 words is submitted.

This course provides the qualification required to register as a practitioner psychologist with the HCPC and work as an educational psychologist. Tavistock trained EPs work in a range of roles such as senior practitioners in local authority educational psychology services, leads of mental health support teams, psychologists in virtual schools and private practitioners.

Why study with us?

This comprehensive and demanding course, which includes a clinical emphasis, will enable you to make a successful transition to the role of applied psychologist working in schools, local communities and multi-agency contexts.

You will be able to deliver the core service expectations of consultation, assessment and intervention for complex additional and special educational needs, research, evaluation and training.

This course has several unique elements and provides experiential learning opportunities and teaching to enable students to think about the relational, systemic and unconscious factors affecting children, young people, families and the staff who work with them.

We endeavour to offer all our students individual and group spaces to learn about themselves in-role, to feel connected and contained with and by others and to be authentically challenged as they learn and grow in their professional practice.


“My course has taken me on an amazing journey and provided me with professional skills and tools that make a positive impact on the development of the children and young people I work with.”

Course facilitators

Validations and accreditations

University of Essex logo

This course is validated by the University of Essex.

British Psychological Society (BPS)

This course is validated by by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Research and publications

The following publications have recently been produced by tutors and students on this course.

Course texts

  • Arnold, C., Bartle, D. and Eloquin, X. (eds) (2021) Learning from the unconscious: Psychoanalytic approaches in Educational Psychology. London: Confer Books 
  • Arnold, C., & Davis, B. (2021) (Eds) Children in Lockdown learning the lessons of pandemic times. London: Confer Books

Journal articles

  • Bates, K., Morgan, H., Crosby, E., Nurse, K., Flynn, A., Stern, D., Baronian, R., & Kennedy, E.K. (2021). Developing digital approaches for young people with Autism and Learning Disabilities: Service user involvement and shared decision-making. Educational & Child Psychology, in press
  • Dunsmuir, S., Kennedy, E., Lang, J., & Monsen, J. J. (2022) A Qualitative Review of Pre-Service Training of Educational Psychology Consultants in the United Kingdom, Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, DOI: 10.1080/10474412.2022.2090949
  • Gibb, A.L. & Lewis, R. (2019) How do nurture group practitioners make sense of their relationship with the nurture group child? International Journal of Nurture in Education, 5 (1) 21–35
  • Jago, N., Wright, S., Hartwell, B. K. & Green, R. (2020) Mental Health Beyond the School Gate: Young People’s Perspectives of Mental Health Support Online, and in Home, School and Community Contexts. Educational and Child Psychology, 37(3), 69-85
  • Kennedy, E.K., Blyth, F., Sakata, E., Yahyaoui, L., Canagaratnam, M., & Nijabat, N. (2020). Making meaning from experience: Collaborative assessment with young adults who have mental health needs and social communication differences. Educational and Child Psychology, 37 (3), 86-98
  • Kennedy, E.K., & Laverick, L. (2019). Inclusion in Complex Systems Contexts: Can relational supervision for head teachers help? Support for Learning, 34 (4), 443-459
  • Park, J. & Mortell, J. (2020) Using the Grid Elaboration Method (GEM) to investigate transition experiences of young autistic adults. Educational Psychology in Practice, Vol. 36 (2)

Digital material

Register your interest

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