Educational Psychology and Youth Justice

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By Huw Williams

The work of educational psychologists is often assumed to be with children who have special educational needs and disabilities. In reality, we work in a diverse range of settings. One example of this diversity is the area of youth justice. In this arena increasing numbers of educational psychologists are working with children, young people and staff who are involved with the youth justice system. In recognition of this work and the need to share practice, last year Dipak Choudhury and I established a special interest group for educational psychologists, who are engaged in Youth Justice work.

Following an inaugural meeting last year, on 16th January 2019 a group of 25 educational psychologists and 4 trainee educational psychologists met at the University of Birmingham. Colleagues travelled from far and wide to take part in what was a stimulating and informative event.

This second interest day had an emphasis on sharing good practice, alongside discussing developments and updates. Colleagues shared presentations demonstrating the range and variety of practice that is occurring in this aspect of applied educational psychology. We had 6 excellent presentations that covered highly relevant topics.

  • Gang membership (Deb Benjamin from Birmingham EPS).
  • The challenges associated with accessing mental health services for young offenders (Holly Ackland from Warwickshire EPS).
  • Enabling children and young people to attend educational provision on a full time basis (Chris Wood from Wolverhampton EPS).
  • Professional reflections on a short term placement with a Secure Children’s Home (Craig Joyce from Warwickshire EPS).
  • Considering the potential positive impact community psychology can have with this group of vulnerable children and young people (Tom Boden, from Wolverhampton EPS).

Our trainee colleagues were active throughout the day engaging in discussion and reflecting on future research opportunities. Our Interest Group is particularly keen to generate research in this area of practice and I am sure that any developing research ideas and projects will be supported with enthusiasm.

Dipak and I look forward to planning our next Interest Day in the coming months and would welcome wholeheartedly any colleagues who share an interest in educational psychology and youth justice. If you would like to know about our broad aims and objectives, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by sending us a “comment” on this blog with your contact details.


Huw is a tutor on the initial training course for educational psychologists at the University of Birmingham and a Senior Educational Psychologist in Wolverhampton.

Dipak is an educational psychologist who works for Warwickshire EPS.

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3 thoughts on “Educational Psychology and Youth Justice

  1. Thank you Huw, and to follow on, I would also like to express my thanks to all the attendees and presenters. A very relevant and informative day building on the important work with this vulnerable group. As Huw says, I look forward to our next Interest Group Day! Please contact us if you share an interest in educational psychology and youth justice.


  2. This sounds a really interesting and relevant area of development, especially given the range of issues young people in the criminal justice system face. It’s also lovely to hear of work taking us outside the typical field of school systems.


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