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Jalak Patel

A headshot of Jalak Patel

Programme Leader – Professional Assessment, Senior Educational Psychologist

After enjoying a successful career as a primary school teacher, Jalak went on to qualify as an Educational Psychologist (EP) spending eight years working with schools in the UK. She went on to secure a position in Hong Kong to take up a dual role as an EP and Advisor for SEN Training and Development for the English Schools Foundation (ESF).

Not only was she responsible for assessing staff development needs and delivering training across the 22 settings within the group, but also encouraged the sharing of best practices more broadly across the community through inter-school discussions and conferences. During her time in East Asia, Jalak developed a particular interest in how cultural factors can influence students’ engagement with education, and how speaking English as an additional language intersects with SEN.

Jalak has extensive experience of supporting children and young people with a range of needs across all age ranges, as well as working with families and schools. She has a particular interest in social cognition challenges and how these difficulties can influence relationships with others and affect access to the curriculum. She is passionate about writing and delivering high-quality training and workshops, to enable others to develop their knowledge and understanding of how best to support those with whom they work.

She is a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society, and is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.

A short Q&A with Jalak

Q: What do delegates find most surprising about the CCET course?

I think it’s the idea that an assessment score is just one part of the picture. We teach delegates the skills to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each test, interrogate what its results can reliably tell us, and consider when alternatives to testing might be appropriate or what other information needs to be looked at.

Many of our delegates complete the course because they have an interest in assessment – they may want to work with students who have additional needs, assess for exam arrangements or want to know how to interrogate assessment data from tests completed in school.

I think it’s fair to say that some start off really nervous about the level of maths required, only to discover how interesting statistics can be – we break everything down into easy-to-understand, real-world applications and make sure each concept is accessible. In a relatively short amount of time, they can get their heads around quite complex statistical information – so they often surpass their own expectations. 

Most delegates complete the course with a much better understanding of what makes a useful test, how to administer tests, how to interpret them and importantly what to do next.  Another really important skill that is taught is how to confidently explain what these kinds of results mean which is especially important when communicating with parents.

Q: You also lead the Psychology for Education module – why should delegates opt to study this?

This module is a deep dive into the theory behind core psychological concepts and how they relate to children’s needs on an individual, classroom, and whole-school level. It explores different approaches, methodologies and ways of thinking, including cognitive psychology, personal construct psychology and positive and strengths-based psychology. 

The other nice thing about it is that you have the option to take a break from essay writing! Delegates can choose the format for two of their submissions which can be anything from videos, poster presentations, PowerPoint presentations and graphics.

Q: What makes the Real Training delegate experience different?

For me, it’s the idea that what you learn on the course isn’t something you might choose to use in six months or one year. Rather, it will directly and immediately strengthen your own everyday practice. You can also do things at the time that suits you.

You are also getting access to experts (including Educational Psychologists) who are still going into schools every week – it means their knowledge is incredibly up-to-date and they have a good understanding of the current challenges schools are facing.