Being a Placement Student at PLP

Being a Placement Student at PLP

Elize Thomas
by Elize Thomas
Published on May 15, 2024
0 min read

A deeper insight into the role of a Student Educational Psychologist Assistant (EPA)

Role introduction:

This role includes initially starting work like that of a teaching assistant for the first few months whilst being trained before working more directly with individuals as a ‘Learning Mentor’. Both of these experiences have enabled me to: gain a better understanding of the school systems, build relationships with students (including those I later worked with), and experience opportunities to apply psychological theories into real life. For this blog post, I will reflect on primarily my experience working directly with students as a Learning Mentor.

The Learning Mentor role:

The Learning Mentor role involves working one on one with children and targeting their areas of need and providing them with the necessary support. In this role, I often communicate with staff members prior to the session to discuss how the students I work with have been since I last saw them. This is because the time spent for each session is often child-led as our work is dependent on the child’s capacity for engagement. This element of the role has increased my flexibility in diverting from what is planned to what suits the child’s needs in that moment. If they are not in the mindset to be able to engage in the task, I have learnt it is important to support them in how they are feeling in that moment.

Another aspect of this role is the independence obtained by being able to arrange our own calendars to navigate between schools as efficiently as possible. We have the capacity to rearrange aspects of our week when a change arises. I have learnt to be more self-sufficient in the attempt to problem-solve challenging scenarios, before consulting a colleague or supervisor. It has been beneficial in gaining a better insight as to what working in the field of educational psychology would look like and helped me develop my independence.

Other experiences:

The placement has allowed me to access a range of CPD opportunities. One of the training sessions that particularly drew my interest was the running of Lego-Based Therapy groups to develop social communication and interaction skills. Since having the opportunity to run these, I have found that it is important to collaborate with pupils in the setting of rules to promote their engagement (especially when working with such an enjoyable and distracting resource as Lego). I have learnt that this aids in the session’s efficiency and effectiveness, really highlighting the importance of collaboration in group work.


To conclude, my experience on this placement has resulted in developing a vaster understanding of the school systems, the application of psychology to interventions, and has allowed me to work directly with students. I look forward to taking these invaluable skills further with me following this placement.