Bairavi S.

PhD Researcher & PGTA
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Bairavi S.
Research Postgraduate
United Kingdom

My employment

PhD Researcher & PGTA
University of Leeds
United Kingdom
Science and research
Large business (250+ employees)

More about Bairavi

Low Income Household
BAME student

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A day in the life of a PhD Researcher & PGTA in the United Kingdom

Working as an assistant educational psychologist, everyday seems similar but requires you to draw on different professional and interpersonal skills by the hour!

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work for an independent educational psychology service in London. I am commissioned by schools to work full-time as an assistant psychologist under the supervision of a qualified educational psychologist. I work full-time in a mainstream primary and secondary school, supporting the school Inclusion Team alongside the Educational Psychologist.

What do you do?

On a day-to-day basis, I work 1-1 with pupils implementing evidence-based psychological interventions, provisions and support strategies in the 4 broad areas of need: cognition and learning, social emotional mental health, communication and interaction, sensory and physical needs. I administer standardized assessments, classroom observations and screeners, consultations and follow up meetings with parents and teachers. I also formulate file reviews and build Frith’s Interactive Factors Framework models for each pupil on my caseload.
In addition, I support the school on a systemic level, helping the school SENCo build an up-to-date whole school inclusion provision map.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

Working as an summer intern at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, University of Birkbeck London was a pivotal and valuable experience which essentially shaped my drive towards pursuing a career in psychology.
During my time at the Birkbeck BabyLab, I was involved in collecting behavioural and cognitive data in infancy. The projects I worked as part of focussed on neurodivergent development and identifying early markers. I was fascinated by the sorts of experiments you could design to identify, monitor and manipulate attention skills during infancy and childhood. It was this experience that made me realise, research should not only be informative but collaborative and work towards bringing positive change.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

No. Educational Psychology is my overall field of interest. However, it covers such a vast area of research, practice and policies that I like to explore its breadth.

Describe your most memorable day at work

Working as an assistant educational psychologist, everyday seems similar but requires you to draw on different professional and interpersonal skills by the hour! The most memorable days at work for me are the ones that are most demanding. For example, I would spend the morning doing 1-1 work with an autistic child, supporting their communication and interaction skills. After this, I would spend time working with an adolescent on mental health and wellbeing strategies. In the afternoon, I would have a supervision meeting with my Educational Psychologist to discuss any questions and challenges, as well as reflecting on my work. I may also liaise with the school inclusion team to support them in building and updating their high quality teaching checklist. These are the days I enjoy and remember the most as it requires you to really apply your knowledge of psychology in the most effective way.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

Due to the high demand in communicating with different stakeholders (e.g. pupils, educational psychologist, school SENCo, teachers, teaching assistants and parents), navigating difficult conversations can be a challenge.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

My work environment is collaborative and personal. As I am based in the same mainstream school for an academic year, you build strong relationships with the pupils, teachers and parents that you work with. Additionally, it's inspiring to experience the number of different stakeholders you work with from educational and medical professionals, to school educators and parents.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I was involved in activities that were very related to my psychology such as the York Students in Schools scheme where I undertook two placements and Open Minds. These were my initial exposures in working in schools and it really highlighted my passion for creating change. I also worked part-time as a Research Assistant at the York BabyLab for 2 years which built my confidence in collecting and analysing data but also taught me a lot about the practicalities of conducting research. In addition to this, I was a member of the Pool and Snooker Society for my college. Developing this new skill was a valuable experience in developing my perseverance and resilience.

What would you like to do next with your career?

I would like to undertake a PhD in Psychology or work with educational think tanks to support schools with evidence-based practice.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Even if you know what sort of job you would like to have, be open to trying different roles and seek for as many opportunities.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Postgraduate studies
Building experience
Job searching

Next steps...

If you like the look of Bairavi’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Bairavi a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Bairavi to be your mentor.

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