Advice for applying for Educational Psychology Doctorate

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Callie_
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#1
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Hello!

I have been accepted onto a Psychology Conversion course, which I have deferred as I am going abroad to teach for a year.

I want to afterwards apply for a Doctorate in Educational Psychology but I want to ensure I have a good range of experience. I am looking for advice on what I could do to enhance my experience. As I'm aware I've only got a year to do so when I get back, before I apply.

I have a PGCE. I have taught for nearly four years in primary.
I have worked for a year and two terms as a teaching assistant in primary.
I have worked as a teaching assistant in a secondary and college special school for nearly a term.
So that is nearly 6 years experience total in teaching/teaching assistant combined education.

When I teach abroad, it will be teaching english as a foreign language to 11-16 year olds. I will also work one day a week that year in a special school. I'm not sure if this experience will 'count' as it is in a foreign education system.

In terms of voluntary experience I have voluntary experience in a number of schools prior to getting on my PGCE. Probably 9 weeks total. Not sure if this is relevant as I did this between the ages of 19-21.

I have volunteered at a children's TV event for a few days.
I volunteered for a couple of summer at the children's summer reading challenge at the library.
As a student I supported other students when I was a student librarian.
I also volunteered at the secondary and college special school for about 6 weeks before being offered paid employment there.

Before I leave to teach abroad, I have a few sessions lined up to volunteer at a social club with teenagers who are Young Carers. I may also be able to volunteer 2 to 3 times at a children's contact centre. I am planning to do online mentoring to teenagers over the course of the time that I am away.

When I come back, I am thinking of working one day a week as supply. I'd like to do some supply work in an alternate provision as part of this. I'd also like to volunteer in a nursery for some mornings. i was thinking to either get some paid or voluntary work supporting a young adult with learning difficulties.

Will it matter that the majority of my experience is from before I did my conversion degree? As I won't have applied the theory I've learnt to the bulk of my experience?

I know that I have plenty of good teaching experience. But it is mostly in primary. I'm worried that my time outside of that won't be seen as enough.

I'd be very grateful if anyone could advice me on what other voluntary or paid opportunities I could seek out to give myself a really strong chance of getting on the course.

Is there anything else I can do to enhance my application aside from volunteering and work?

Would love to hear from people at any time, even if the post is 'old' as I won't be applying until two years from now.
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The Pale Dreamer
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#2
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#2
The most recent experience will be the best in terms of applying, although I'm not sure if there are strict limits on how recent experience should be if you have done a masters. Many people get onto courses with only experience of primary OR secondary education (either teaching or TA roles). The role covers 0-25 though. Generally, the best experience you can get is by working as an Assistant EP/Psychology Assistant, which you will be able to do after your conversion course, but you don't have to. The main thing about your application is about applying psychology and regarding your interpersonal skills.
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Callie_
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(Original post by The Pale Dreamer)
The most recent experience will be the best in terms of applying, although I'm not sure if there are strict limits on how recent experience should be if you have done a masters. Many people get onto courses with only experience of primary OR secondary education (either teaching or TA roles). The role covers 0-25 though. Generally, the best experience you can get is by working as an Assistant EP/Psychology Assistant, which you will be able to do after your conversion course, but you don't have to. The main thing about your application is about applying psychology and regarding your interpersonal skills.
Thank you for your reply. I am thinking that if I do supply teaching during my conversion course, and maybe do some of that supply work in secondary alternative provision, I could talk about how I've applied psychology. Do you think that would be ok?

I'd love to get a role as an assistant EP but I know I can't realistically hope to get one of those so I just want to make sure the rest of my experience is as good as I can make it.

Are you on the course now? Do you have any more advice you could give me about going through the process? What experience did you have?
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The Pale Dreamer
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(Original post by Callie_)
Thank you for your reply. I am thinking that if I do supply teaching during my conversion course, and maybe do some of that supply work in secondary alternative provision, I could talk about how I've applied psychology. Do you think that would be ok?

I'd love to get a role as an assistant EP but I know I can't realistically hope to get one of those so I just want to make sure the rest of my experience is as good as I can make it.

Are you on the course now? Do you have any more advice you could give me about going through the process? What experience did you have?
You should also check the eligibility for funding regarding being abroad - it says that the requirements are the same as for Student Finance if you are going abroad for a period of time: https://www.aep.org.uk/EPFT The minimum requirements are a year's full time work pre starting the course, but the individual unis may take a view on the recency of that experience.

I'm currently working as an EP and have done for the last 6 years. I'm not sure how much the process has changed now. I had two years working in a special school and a year as a TA in a primary school prior to applying, plus experience working with children with additional needs at a playscheme.
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Callie_
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#5
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(Original post by The Pale Dreamer)
You should also check the eligibility for funding regarding being abroad - it says that the requirements are the same as for Student Finance if you are going abroad for a period of time: https://www.aep.org.uk/EPFT The minimum requirements are a year's full time work pre starting the course, but the individual unis may take a view on the recency of that experience.

I'm currently working as an EP and have done for the last 6 years. I'm not sure how much the process has changed now. I had two years working in a special school and a year as a TA in a primary school prior to applying, plus experience working with children with additional needs at a playscheme.
Thank you. I recently realised the stipulation on having to hold 3 years 'ordinary residence' in the UK before starting. As far as I can tell, I have to be able to show that I never intended to move abroad permanently, so I just need to show that my contract abroad is temporary and that I kept an address in the UK ect. It does seem a bit vague on what the rules are though which does worry me, but I've already got prepared to go abroad now and deferred my masters so it is too late now.

Ok, thank you. I'll make contact with individual unis to see what they say.

Ok, great, that is really good to know. I know everyone applying will have different experience but it is interesting to get an idea.

I have seen advice on this forum that if you can't get any experience as an assistant EP, that it would be good to try to get a phone call with an EP to discuss the role. Or that some EPs hold zoom meetings every so often so applicants can discuss with them. Do you have any advice on arranging this with an EP? Is this something that you offer?
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The Pale Dreamer
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(Original post by Callie_)
Thank you. I recently realised the stipulation on having to hold 3 years 'ordinary residence' in the UK before starting. As far as I can tell, I have to be able to show that I never intended to move abroad permanently, so I just need to show that my contract abroad is temporary and that I kept an address in the UK ect. It does seem a bit vague on what the rules are though which does worry me, but I've already got prepared to go abroad now and deferred my masters so it is too late now.

Ok, thank you. I'll make contact with individual unis to see what they say.

Ok, great, that is really good to know. I know everyone applying will have different experience but it is interesting to get an idea.

I have seen advice on this forum that if you can't get any experience as an assistant EP, that it would be good to try to get a phone call with an EP to discuss the role. Or that some EPs hold zoom meetings every so often so applicants can discuss with them. Do you have any advice on arranging this with an EP? Is this something that you offer?
Yeah I wasn't sure how it would work with working abroad, but that may be enough. You could contact SFE to make sure?

It is a good idea to have a realistic (as much as possible) view of what the job entails. Increasingly, EP services are offering sessions to talk about the role (see this for an example: https://twitter.com/ENFIELDEPS/statu...77750334881793) which should be sufficient.
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greg tony
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#7
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(Original post by Callie_)
Thank you. I recently realised the stipulation on having to hold 3 years 'ordinary residence' in the UK before starting. As far as I can tell, I have to be able to show that I never intended to move abroad permanently, so I just need to show that my contract abroad is temporary and that I kept an address in the UK ect. It does seem a bit vague on what the rules are though which does worry me, but I've already got prepared to go abroad now and deferred my masters so it is too late now.

Ok, thank you. I'll make contact with individual unis to see what they say.

Ok, great, that is really good to know. I know everyone applying will have different experience but it is interesting to get an idea.

I have seen advice on this forum that if you can't get any experience as an assistant EP, that it would be good to try to get a phone call with an EP to discuss the role. Or that some EPs hold zoom meetings every so often so applicants can discuss with them. Do you have any advice on arranging this with an EP? Is this something that you offer?
Totally recommend following what the pale dreamer just said, you really need to get some clarity on the residency rules. A colleague of mine applied for the clinical doctorate but was denied due to 3 year residency rule, as he was out of UK working for 5 months abroad prior to course, and they determined that his 3 year residency was not valid.

While I know you have made plans, your risk is that the above happens and you effectively push your plans back 3 years. I would consider emailing courses you want to apply to also, get things in writing.

Hope it works out for you,

Greg
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Callie_
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#8
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(Original post by The Pale Dreamer)
Yeah I wasn't sure how it would work with working abroad, but that may be enough. You could contact SFE to make sure?

It is a good idea to have a realistic (as much as possible) view of what the job entails. Increasingly, EP services are offering sessions to talk about the role (see this for an example: https://twitter.com/ENFIELDEPS/statu...77750334881793) which should be sufficient.
I have asked them but it all is a bit vague and on a 'case-by-case' basis. I haven't asked them for the EP, only for the masters so I will try again. Thank you for the suggestion.

I can't thank you enough for that link! That is amazing as I hadn't been sure where to look.
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Callie_
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(Original post by greg tony)
Totally recommend following what the pale dreamer just said, you really need to get some clarity on the residency rules. A colleague of mine applied for the clinical doctorate but was denied due to 3 year residency rule, as he was out of UK working for 5 months abroad prior to course, and they determined that his 3 year residency was not valid.

While I know you have made plans, your risk is that the above happens and you effectively push your plans back 3 years. I would consider emailing courses you want to apply to also, get things in writing.

Hope it works out for you,

Greg
Hi Greg,

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Oh dear, that is very worrying to hear that he was denied. You don't happen to know what evidence he was required to show? Or at what point during the 3 years he was out of the UK? For example, towards the end of the UK?

I have had another look at the current guidance and it says ordinary residence. I would presume that if I qualify for ordinary residence for my masters, next year, which student finance are effectively telling me that I should be, that I will be eligible for EP funding.

The saving grace with this I suppose is that I will be only pushing it back one more year if it is based on 3 years ordinary residence (which I think it is, rather than 5). As I will be living abroad from sept 2022, studying for my masters in sept 2023, then taking the year after will be working and applying to see if I get in, which is the 2 years.

Thank you for your advice. I will reach out to clarify in writing.
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Callie_
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(Original post by Callie_)
Hi Greg,

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Oh dear, that is very worrying to hear that he was denied. You don't happen to know what evidence he was required to show? Or at what point during the 3 years he was out of the UK? For example, towards the end of the UK?

I have had another look at the current guidance and it says ordinary residence. I would presume that if I qualify for ordinary residence for my masters, next year, which student finance are effectively telling me that I should be, that I will be eligible for EP funding.

The saving grace with this I suppose is that I will be only pushing it back one more year if it is based on 3 years ordinary residence (which I think it is, rather than 5). As I will be living abroad from sept 2022, studying for my masters in sept 2023, then taking the year after will be working and applying to see if I get in, which is the 2 years.

Thank you for your advice. I will reach out to clarify in writing.
Just to add that I've checked and it does say 3 years ordinarily resident:

Those who have been granted settled status under the EUSS will generally be eligible for
home fee status, tuition fee and maintenance support if they have been ordinarily
resident in the UK and Islands for at least 3 years.

It seems strange that the person was denied as ordinary residence should usually account for breaks ... but perhaps they couldn't prove they had kept a home address and banking ect. in the UK?
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greg tony
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(Original post by Callie_)
Hi Greg,

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Oh dear, that is very worrying to hear that he was denied. You don't happen to know what evidence he was required to show? Or at what point during the 3 years he was out of the UK? For example, towards the end of the UK?

I have had another look at the current guidance and it says ordinary residence. I would presume that if I qualify for ordinary residence for my masters, next year, which student finance are effectively telling me that I should be, that I will be eligible for EP funding.

The saving grace with this I suppose is that I will be only pushing it back one more year if it is based on 3 years ordinary residence (which I think it is, rather than 5). As I will be living abroad from sept 2022, studying for my masters in sept 2023, then taking the year after will be working and applying to see if I get in, which is the 2 years.

Thank you for your advice. I will reach out to clarify in writing.
It was the year preceding his application, and they queried it at the early screening stages of his application (so guessing it was something to do with his job listings on application). I am not sure what proof they asked for post this, but it certainly came as quite a shock when he was told he needed another 2 years again, despite being a UK national.

I am confident you will be fine then if your masters is watertight. Yeah email a course to be sure, as sometimes SFE do not always know when it comes to specific roles like that.

Really hope everything works out and enjoy your time abroad,

Greg
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Callie_
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(Original post by greg tony)
It was the year preceding his application, and they queried it at the early screening stages of his application (so guessing it was something to do with his job listings on application). I am not sure what proof they asked for post this, but it certainly came as quite a shock when he was told he needed another 2 years again, despite being a UK national.

I am confident you will be fine then if your masters is watertight. Yeah email a course to be sure, as sometimes SFE do not always know when it comes to specific roles like that.

Really hope everything works out and enjoy your time abroad,

Greg
Ok, that is really interesting to know. I will bear that in mind. Thanks again for your advice, I will be sure to email them.
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