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Training to become an Educational Psychologist in England

The 2019 Educational Psychology Funded Training (EPFT) scheme provides government funding in partnership with employers for 160 trainee educational psychologists. It is a five year commitment, made up of a three-year doctorate degree course followed, upon qualification, by a period of employment as an educational psychologist in England for at least two years. If you do not complete the training course or if you fail to find employment as an educational psychologist in the two years after graduation you may have to repay some or all of the funding associated with your training place.    

The Department for Education (DfE) directly manages the government-funded element of the EPFT scheme. The Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP) hosts and administers the online application process. The participating universities, in partnership with employers, are responsible for selection of the successful applicants. Employers also offer practice placements in years two and three.  

This page provides a guide to the EPFT scheme application process, completion of the online application form and key dates that you must be aware of for entry in 2019.

The information on this page concerning availability of funding and eligibility requirements has been supplied by the DfE. The AEP is not in a position to offer definitive advice on funding matters. If the information on this page does not address your specific circumstances adequately, then you should seek further advice and guidance directly from the DfE. You can contact them at edpsychs.nctl@education.gov.uk. However, you should be aware that the DfE are unable to assist on queries relating to your nationality or immigration status. If your query relates to these, you should contact the Home Office. 

Contact Us:

0191 384 9512 - Option 1
EPFT@aep.org.uk


Important Dates

Application Start Date

Wednesday 26 September 2018 (12pm)

References Deadline

Wednesday 28 November 2018 (12pm)

Application Deadline

Wednesday 5 December 2018 (5pm)
WE WILL NOT ACCEPT LATE APPLICATIONS

Interviewing and Shortlisting Deadline

Wednesday 20 March 2019 (12pm)

Offer Release Date

Wednesday 27 March 2019 (12pm)

Offer Accept Deadline

Wednesday 3 April 2019 (12pm)


Number of training places available

There are 160 places under the EPFT scheme available starting in September 2019. A breakdown of the total number of places per university, and links to the individual university course pages, are below.  Applicants can apply to a maximum of THREE of the courses listed below through the EPFT scheme. 

 University
 Number of Places
 Bristol University  10
 Exeter University  10
 Newcastle University  10
 University of East Anglia  10
 Sheffield University  12
 University of Nottingham  12
 University of Birmingham  13
 University of Manchester  13
 Institute of Education  14
 Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust  14
 University College, London  14
 University of East London  14 
 University of Southampton  14 
Contents:
  1. Entry Requirements
  2. Nationality/residency requirements
  3. Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)
  4. Overseas Qualifications
  5. Proof of Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) 
  6. Applicants with a 2:2 class degree 
  7. If English is not your first language 
  8. Relevant work experience 
  9. UK Residents who are temporarily overseas 
  10. Deferred entry 
  11. Part-time and fast track routes 
  12. Criminal convictions 
  13. Applicants with disabilities 
  14. Withdrawal of applications 
  15. Deferral of employment at the end of training 
  16. Long-term absence from the course (over three months including sickness and maternity leave)

Entry Requirements

To be eligible to apply through the EPFT scheme you must:

  • have a psychology degree (2:1 (‘upper second’) or above) or have completed an approved conversion course or a Master’s degree, AND be eligible for the British Psychological Society (BPS) Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). You must have the qualification that grants you eligibility for GBC before the application deadline. If the qualification that grants you eligibility for GBC is not from the UK or Ireland, you will be required to enter your BPS membership number at the application stage (see below)
  • be able to demonstrate that you have gained a minimum of one year’s full-time (i.e. 37 hours a week for 52 weeks or part-time equivalent) experience working with children and young people within an educational, health, social care, youth justice, childcare or community setting by the application deadline. This can be made up of all paid employment or at least nine months full-time equivalent paid employment and the equivalent of three months sustained relevant voluntary experience. Any additional paid/voluntary experience over the one-year minimum requirement should also be included
  • have permission to work in England for the duration of the course and for at least two years after completing the course. If you are uncertain of your immigration status you should contact the Home Office at: https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk
  • satisfy the nationality/residency requirements

Nationality/residency requirements

To be eligible for funding you must be:

  • a UK citizen; or if you are not a UK citizen you must not have any limit on your permission to stay in the UK; AND
  • have been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years immediately before the first day of the first year of the academic course

For clarification about your immigration status, you must contact the Home Office. When you make your application, you must be able to provide evidence that you are currently living in the UK, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man. Absences of less than 6 months, for example for holidays or brief periods working overseas, will not be considered to break your length of residency. Absences of 6 months or longer will be considered to have broken your length of residency.   


Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)

To be eligible for the GBC of the British Psychological Society you must have one of the following: 

  • acquired a qualification in psychology (usually a Bachelor (Honours) degree) which has been approved by the British Psychological Society as conferring eligibility for GBC
  • undertaken an appropriate British Psychological Society accredited conversion course
  • passed the British Psychological Society Qualifying Examination   

Academic qualifications awarded in the Republic of Ireland that confer eligibility for Graduate Membership of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) are also recognised for GBC.   

You do not have to be a member of the BPS to apply for the EPFT scheme if you hold qualifications accredited by the BPS or the PSI that confer eligibility for the GBC.   

If you were awarded your psychology degree by a university in the UK or the Republic of Ireland but are unsure whether you are eligible for GBC, please contact the BPS for advice on 0116 254 9568 or emailing enquiries@bps.org.uk. Alternatively, a full list of the accredited undergraduate courses can be found on the BPS website: www.bps.org.uk/public/become-psychologist.   


Overseas Qualifications  

If you obtained some or all of your required qualifications overseas you will need to obtain confirmation that you are eligible for GBC, usually through the process of applying successfully to the BPS for Graduate Membership. Further details can be found on the BPS website: www.bps.org.uk. When applying for an EPFT place you must enter your BPS membership number and provide evidence that you are eligible for GBC membership of the BPS. Further details can be found either on their website: www.bps.org.uk, or by contacting their Partnerships and Accreditations Team (PACT) on 0116 252 9563 or emailing pact@bps.org.uk.  


Proof of Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)  

You must have completed the qualification that grants you eligibility for GBC before the application deadline. If you are shortlisted for interview by a university, you will be required to bring written confirmation of your eligibility for GBC to your interview. A letter confirming your eligibility from the director of the relevant degree course or from the BPS is acceptable evidence.  


Applicants with a 2:2 class degree  

Some universities may accept an application if you hold a 2:2 (‘lower second’) degree. In this case you must have both extensive experience and completed further professional development. You should consult with your chosen universities before applying if you hold a 2:2.  


If English is not your first language 

A good command of written and spoken English is essential. If your first language is not English, you must be able to provide recent evidence in your application form that your spoken and written command of English is of the required standard. The only acceptable English qualification for the course is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic.  An overall grade of at least 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in each of the sub-tests, is required.   

You must complete the application form and references in English.  


Relevant work experience 

Universities will expect you to have the equivalent of a minimum of one year’s full-time experience of working with children and young people within an educational, health, social care, youth justice, childcare or community setting by the application deadline. This can consist solely of paid employment or a combination of at least nine months full-time (or equivalent) paid employment and the equivalent of three months full-time sustained relevant voluntary experience. For these purposes, ‘one year full-time’ would usually be taken to mean at least 37 hours per week for 52 weeks. Thus, someone working part-time for 18.5 hours a week would usually require two years’ employment to meet the ‘one year full-time equivalent’ requirement.  

Relevant work experience overseas will be considered as part of your application.  

University course requirements may vary slightly. Therefore, before completing your application we advise that you read the guidance on the websites of the institutions that you are interested in.   

Universities will be looking for knowledge and understanding of: 

  • the UK education system
  • application of psychological theories 

UK Residents who are temporarily overseas  

If you are a UK resident who is temporarily travelling or working abroad (provided your absence from the UK is less than 6 months) you can apply for an EPFT scheme place. You must be able to attend an interview in person if invited. However, if you are currently living overseas you need to be aware of the nationality/eligibility requirements.  


Deferred entry 

The high demand for EPFT places means that deferred entry is not possible.  


Part-time and fast track routes  

As present, educational psychology and EPFT funding is available only as a full-time three-year course.  


Criminal convictions  

All courses involve work with children, so if you are successful in your application you will be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record check organised by the university. More information on the DBS check can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service .  

If you have any concerns about what information the DBS check will reveal you should raise this with the university.

Please note, if you have convictions it may prevent you from being accepted on the EPFT programme.  Should you reach the shortlisting stage a decision regarding your application will be considered on a case by case basis, in consultation with programme directors and Principal Educational Psychologists (PEPs).


Applicants with disabilities  

If you have a disability it is suggested that you contact the university before you apply to ascertain how they can best meet your needs. You should do this at the earliest opportunity to allow universities sufficient time to make any necessary arrangements.   


Withdrawal of applications  

Should you want to withdraw your submitted application prior to accepting an offer then you must do this by the online system. If you withdraw you will not be able to submit a second application in the same year. The AEP will hold your information until the close of the application year.  


Deferral of employment at the end of training  

Waiving of the obligation to seek employment as an educational psychologist, in England, for at least two years after qualifying is only possible under exceptional circumstances. Extended travel or gap years do not count as exceptional circumstances.   


Long-term absence from the course (over three months including sickness and maternity leave)  

In the event that a long-term absence results in your needing to repeat an academic year, there is no guarantee that the course will still be running at the establishment you were previously studying at when you return from your absence. 

Contents:
  1. First Year Bursary
  2. Second and Third year bursary/salary arrangements
  3. Self-funded training places
  4. Alternative sources of funding
  5. EPFT funding agreement   

The Department for Education (DfE) is responsible for funding the EPFT scheme.  

Under the EPFT scheme, funding allocated to successful candidates covers tuition fees (to a maximum of £35,000) for all three years of the course, and a bursary for the first year. The DfE will pay your course fees directly to the university. 


First Year bursary

In your first year, the university will pay the bursary directly to you. The amount you will be paid is:        

  • £15,950 per annum if your course is outside London   
  • £16,390 per annum if your course is in London 

Second and Third year bursary/salary arrangements

Arrangements for the second and third years of training vary. Most employers offer practice placements during which you are paid a bursary, while a small number offer employed posts where you are paid a salary. For more information on this, please see the websites of participating universities. 


Self-funded training places

Individual universities determine whether to offer places for self-funding students and, if so, how many. If you are interested in applying for a self-funded place, you must contact the relevant university directly. The DfE does not cover any of the costs for self-funded trainees. 

You must apply for a self-funded place directly to the university offering such places, not through the EPFT online application system. You can apply for both EPFT scheme and self-funded places but you must inform the AEP if there is any change to the status of your EPFT scheme application. 


Alternative sources of funding

The EPFT scheme is currently the only funded Educational Psychology training scheme in England. 


EPFT funding agreement        

If you are successful in your application, you must sign a DfE Educational Psychology Funded Training (EPFT) scheme funding agreement and return it to the DfE prior to starting the course. If you do not do this then you will not be able to start the course. 

Contents:
  1. Choosing References
  2. Referees unable to complete a reference online 
  3. Data protection and references 

All applicants need to ensure that they submit two references: an academic and a relevant work experience reference. More details are provided below: 

An academic reference: This should be completed by a person who is familiar with your academic record. A paragraph confirming your academic qualifications is acceptable as an academic reference. An academic referee should be someone who holds, or held, a position as a lecturer/course leader/tutor in a higher education establishment where the applicant has undertaken a degree or postgraduate programme. If you completed your degree some years ago and the university is unable to provide an academic reference you could use a referee from a recent training course. Alternatively, you could ask your current employer or a colleague who is a member of the senior management team to provide a reference, giving details of your professional development or other learning that you have undertaken. Please note: only one academic reference will be accepted.

A relevant work experience reference: This must be completed by the current employer or equivalent. A relevant experience referee needs to be someone who knows you professionally.


Choosing referees
Please choose your referees carefully. You should check that they are willing to write a reference for you and that they are able to do so by the reference deadline (28th November 2018). Do not nominate referees who are only in a position to provide a character reference (e.g. family, friends, local GP or clergy etc.) as this will not provide appropriate support for your application.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your references are submitted by the reference submission deadline (28th November 2018). An EPFT application cannot be submitted without completed references. Applicants are advised to enter the details of their referees into the online application system as soon as possible. Once the details are entered online, login details are sent to the referees to enable them to log into the online system and provide a reference for you. You can use the online system to check if your references have been received. It is your responsibility to contact your referees directly as necessary to ensure they submit references in time. The AEP will not follow up reference requests on your behalf.


Referees unable to complete a reference online
Where possible, referees should complete an online reference. If this is not possible we may make alternative arrangements for them to provide their information via email, fax or post. We can upload this information directly onto the application system. Referees are asked to contact us about this at EPFT@aep.org.uk as soon as possible.

Please note: AEP support is available Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm. We aim to respond within two working days.


Data protection and references
The AEP operates in compliance with data protection legislation. The Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act) gives you a right to access the data we hold about you. However, the Act also imposes on us a duty of confidentiality to third parties, which includes referees. We are not able to disclose references without the permission of the referee. We will not process requests to view a reference until the application deadline has passed. If you would like to view your reference before this time, please contact your referee directly.
Contents:
  1. Procedure for processing applications
  2. Shortlisting and interviews
  3. Offers under the EPFT scheme
  4. Applicants should note 

Procedure for processing applications
Your completed application can be accessed by your chosen universities as soon as you have submitted it. However, universities are unable to see which other institutions you have selected.


Shortlisting and interviews
Shortlisting and interviews will take place after the 5th December 2018 deadline and be completed by the 20th March 2019. If you are shortlisted you will be called for an interview directly by the university or universities concerned.

If you are unsuccessful in your application, the university will update the status of your application on the online system to let you know their decision.


Offers under the EPFT scheme
The participating universities will make all offers for EPFT scheme places by 12pm, 27th March 2019. If one or more universities offer you a place your status on the online application system will be updated to show that you have been made an offer and you should also receive a separate notification by email or letter from the university.

Applicants are permitted to accept only one EPFT scheme place, all others must be rejected. Participating universities will not automatically be made aware that an applicant has accepted an offer elsewhere and, therefore, rejected their offer. To do this you must respond to each individual offer through the online system. Please note that you do not have to give a reason for your decision.

You will have until the 3rd April 2019 at 12pm to accept or decline any offer of an EPFT scheme place. For details on how to do so please see the page 27 of the Application Process Guide.

If you do not respond to any offer by the 3rd April 2019 deadline you will be considered to have withdrawn from the application process. The scheme place will be offered to another applicant.

Once you have accepted an offer of an EPFT scheme place this decision is final and cannot be changed.


Applicants should note:
  • The AEP will not accept any requests to alter university choices after the closing date.
  • Successful submission of an application online does not constitute confirmation of eligibility for entry. 
  • Once an EPFT application is submitted no further changes can be made. A submitted application can be cancelled. However, applicants who choose to cancel their applications will not be permitted to re-apply for the same entry year.  
Contents:
  1. Referee eligibility criteria
  2. Providing the reference online
  3. Reference submission guide
  4. Opting out of supplying a reference
  5. Security and Confidentiality
  6. Withdrawal

Referee eligibility criteria

Academic reference: The referee should normally be someone who is familiar with the applicant’s academic record and holds, or has held, a position as a lecturer/course leader/tutor in a higher education establishment where the applicant has undertaken a degree or postgraduate programme of study. However, if the applicant completed their degree some years ago and the university/college is unable to provide an academic reference, the applicant may instead nominate, for example, a supervisor of a recent course undertaken, or a senior manager who is able to provide details of the applicant’s recent professional development or other learning undertaken. Only one academic reference will be accepted.

A relevant experience reference: This must be completed by the applicant’s current or recent employer or manager who is familiar with, and in a position to comment on, the applicant’s experience of working with children or young people within an educational, health, social care, youth justice, childcare or community setting. This should normally be experience gained within a paid employment setting but could be in a voluntary setting in which the applicant has worked for an extended period.

A reference from an individual who is only in a position to provide a general ‘character reference’ for the applicant, or who is a friend or close relative of the applicant, would not be considered acceptable as it will not provide appropriate support for the application.

The two references must be written by two different individuals.

Please make sure to submit your reference before the reference submission deadline of the 28th November 2018.

Applicants are encouraged to contact their preferred referees well in advance of the application system opening, to ensure that the referees are willing and able to provide a reference for them within the required timescale. If you have agreed to provide a reference for an applicant but for any reason no longer feel in a position to do so, please notify the applicant as soon as possible, to give them time to approach another referee.


Providing the reference online

Applicants are required to enter the contact details of their referees at the earliest opportunity. Once an applicant enters the contact details of their referee into the EPFT online system, a set of login credentials will be emailed directly to the referee, together with instructions about how to log on to the application website and complete a reference for the named applicant. If you are providing references for multiple applicants, separate login credentials will be generated for each applicant.

Although a single reference can incorporate the views of more than one person, this is not encouraged. The nominated referee should make clear when he/she is reporting the views of someone else.

Academic referees are asked to provide an assessment of the applicant. In particular, your assessment of the applicant in the following areas:

  • Academic ability, including details of academic performance and attainment to date and, if relevant, expected degree classification. Some indication of the candidate’s performance in tutorial work, essay assignments and projects would also be useful.
  • Performance in the task situation (if appropriate), including nature of the job requirements and the extent to which the candidate met them.
  • Overall suitability for training as an Educational Psychologist.
  • Interaction with others (fellow students, staff etc.). 

Please complete all questions in sections 1 and 2 of the form, and use section 3 to add a personal comment on suitability and to amplify your assessment covering the points listed above. Specific identification of strengths, needs and weaknesses would be particularly useful.

Relevant experience referees are asked to provide an assessment of the applicant. In particular, your opinions of the applicant as they apply to your experience of him/her in the following areas:

  • Intellectual competence:
    • To what extent is the applicant able to use common sense?
    • Is there evidence of creative thinking, ingenuity in problem solving?
    • Can the candidate make successful use of previous academic study?
    • Is the candidate suited to a further period of intensive academic work alongside demands of a more practical kind?
  • Performance in the work situation: including nature of the job requirements and the extent to which the candidate met them:
    • Overall suitability for training as an Educational Psychologist.
    • Interaction with others (children, young people and families etc.).
  • Specific identification of strengths, needs and weaknesses would be particularly useful. 

Reference submission guide

You can download the reference submission guide here. This guide will assist you in navigating the online application system.


Opting out of supplying a reference

Should you choose not to complete a reference for an applicant, please notify the applicant as soon as possible to give them time to find an alternative referee. Your reason for opting out does not need to be specified. If you are unable to contact the applicant directly, please contact the Association of Educational Psychologists at: EPFT@aep.org.uk. 


Security and Confidentiality

The unique login details that are sent to you are designed to ensure that there is a certain level of security. It is, therefore, not necessary to sign the reference before submitting it. By submitting the form electronically you are giving consent for the reference to be used for the designated applicant, in respect of their application to their selected training courses under the EPFT scheme only.

The AEP operates in compliance with data protection legislation. The Data Protection Act 1998 gives applicants a right to access the data we hold about them. However, the Act also imposes on us a duty of confidentiality to third parties, which includes referees. We will not disclose references to applicants without the permission of the author. We will not process requests to view references until the application deadline has passed. If an applicant requests to see the reference you provided for them before the closing date for applications they will be advised to contact you directly.


Withdrawal

If you wish to withdraw your reference at any time you must do so before the application has been submitted to the training providers.