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Agents of Hope

Author: Tim Cox

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Agents of Hope is a podcast for anyone interested in Education, Psychology and social issues. Hosted by Dr. Tim Cox and other guest hosts from the EP world, the podcast aims to engage in long-form critical discussion about issues that arise in the field of applied psychology. You can follow the podcast on Twitter @timceducation
34 Episodes
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In this episode I meet Dr Alexandra Sewell who has recently published a fantastic book called 'Diverse Voices in Education'. Allie is also going to be hosting an Agents of Hope Podcast mini series in which she will interview her co-authors and explore the practice of giving voice to different voices within educational practice. In our episode we discuss the importance of diversity within our profession and the ways in which we can improve 'meaningful voice practice'. Support the show
I had a conversation with Jonathan Solity because of my interest in developing curricula that supports student learning. In this talk, Jonathan and I discuss how to support children using instructional psychology, rational/ content analysis, Pareto’s principle, and Haring and Eaton’s (1978) Learning Hierarchy. Jonathan emphasises the importance of teaching the most useful knowledge/skills first using the inherent generative principles within a particular body of content. At the end of the talk Jonathan makes suggestions for how EPs can support teachers in promoting early reading and maths skills.I hope you enjoy the talk!Dr Nazam Hussain (Educational Psychologist)See below for links to references (I could have added many more!) Darnell, C.A, & Solity, J.E., & Wall, H. (2017) Decoding the phonics screener check. British Educational Research Journal, 43 (3) 505-527 Solity, J.E. (1991). Special Needs: A discriminatory concept? Educational Psychology in Practice, 7(1), 12-19 Solity, J. E. (2008). Michel Thomas: The Learning Revolution. Hodder & Stoughton. London. Solity, J.E. (2020). Instructional psychology and teaching reading: Ending the reading wars.Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 37 (2) 123-132 Ward, J, &; Crawford, S & Solity, J.E. (2017). Assessment through teaching and instructional psychology. An alternative model of service delivery to raise attainment in primary schools.Educational & Child Psychology, 34 (1) 94-109Support the show
I had a conversation with John Hattie because of my interest in using the teaching strategies and approaches that can support learners to gain knowledge and skills whilst promoting intrinsic motivation and habits for lifelong learning. In this talk, John and I discuss; what is Visible Learning, the use and misuse of effect size calculations, factors that accelerate learning, interpretation of research and the purpose of education. We finish the conversation with John’s hopes for the future in his personal and professional life. I hope you enjoy the talk!Dr Nazam Hussain (Educational Psychologist)See below for links to references discussed in the talk.  Hattie, J. (2012). Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximise Impact on Learning. London: Routledge.Hattie, J., & Yates, G.C. (2013). Visible Learning and the science of how we learn. New York: Routledge.Hattie, J., & Donoghue, G. (2016). Learning strategies: A synthesis and conceptual model. Nature: Science of Learning, 1. Accessed from, J., & Zierer, K. (2018). 10 Mindframes for Visible Learning. Teaching for Success. London: Routledge. Nuthall, G.A.  (2007). The hidden lives of learners. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Website with all the data for Visible Learning. Accessed from the show
I had a conversation with Professor Joe Elliott, Durham University, and Principal of Collingwood College, because of my interest in supporting children and young people with reading and spelling difficulties. In this talk, Joe and I discuss; the challenges of identifying dyslexia using pre-definedcriteria, highlight factors that maintain the need for a diagnosis of dyslexia, and explore the role of intelligence tests. We finish the conversation with the role of the educational psychologist and how to instill hope to support all learners with reading and spelling difficulties.I hope you enjoy the talk!Dr Nazam Hussain (Educational Psychologist)See below for links to references discussed in the talk. Elliott, J.G. (2020) It’s time to get scientific about dyslexia. Reading Research Quarterly, 55(1),61—75. Elliott, J.G, & Grigorenko, E.L. (2014). Dyslexia Debate. Cambridge. UK: Cambridge UniversityPress. Elliot, J.G, & Gibb, S. (2008) Does dyslexia exist? Journal of Philosophy of Education, 42 (3-4),475-491 Guardian Article by Sirin Kale on 17 September 2020. Vellutino, F., Fletcher, J., Snowling, M., Scanlon, D. (2004) Specific reading disability (dyslexia):what have we learned in the past four decades? The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,44(1), 2-40. the show
The final episode of the Understanding Voices mini-series with me, Ella Mansfield. In this episode, I talk to Bambi French, a SENDCo, coach and podcaster who takes an activist stance in changing the lives of people with visual impairments, something that she has personal experience of. Bambi and I discuss the story of her visual impairment and how she has come to want to help people who are newly diagnosed. We discuss how diagnosis has an impact on identity and how her experiences have influenced her practice as a SENDCo.  Finally, we talk about how EPs can work inclusively with schools and find a role in supporting young people with visual impairments.Bambi French - BioBambi French is wife, mum of one and special needs teacher to many! When she was 15 years old, Bambi was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition called Stargardt Disease. Over the years, her level of vision has deteriorated and even though the challenges of sight loss have on many occasions caused her to want to give up, with determination and support from those closest to her she has been able to achieve more than she ever thought would be possible.Over the last 25 years, her personal and professional experience has taught her that it is possible to live this life well, in spite of the limitations we might be facing. But she also recognises and understands that there are still so many who need the support and encouragement that will help them believe this for themselves.In response to this need, Bambi is building a coaching practice and is the host of The She is a VIP Podcast, where the central mission is to help visually impaired women and girls embrace all that they are, discover their purpose and make an impact in the lives of others.WEBSITEwww.sheisavip.comINSTAGRAM the show
The second episode of the Understanding Voices mini-series with me, Ella Mansfield. In this episode, I talk to Dr. Laura Gray, a Senior Practitioner Educational Psychologist with South Tyneside.Laura and I discuss how girls with Autism Spectrum Condition slip through the net during their school years, resulting in problems accessing appropriate support. We discuss how the symptomology for girls is different from that of boys with Autism and she tells me about her research exploring the views of parents and SENDCos about how they feel about the support available for girls with ASD in educational settings. We conclude by discussing how EPs can help to support schools to understand how male and female presentations of ASD may differ.Related reading:Laura Gray, Ella Bownas, Lucy Hicks, Emma Hutcheson-Galbraith & Sandra Harrison (2021) Towards a better understanding of girls on the Autism spectrum: educational support and parental perspectives, Educational Psychology in Practice, 37:1, 74-93, DOI: 10.1080/02667363.2020.1863188 Cridland, E. K., Jones, S. C., Caputi, P., & Magee, C. A. (2014). Being a girl in a boys’ world: Investigating the experiences of girls with autism spectrum disorders during adolescence. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(6), 1261–1274.Critchley, S.-J. (2019). Supported teachers supporting girls. In B., Carpenter, F., Happe & J. Egerton (Eds.), Girls and Autism: Educational, Family and Personal Perspectives (1st ed., pp 164–170). Routledge.Support the show
The first episode of the Understanding Voices mini-series with me, Ella Mansfield. In this episode, I talk to Dr. Cora Sargeant, an Educational Psychologist and  Academic and Professional Tutor for the initial EP training programme at the University of Southampton. Cora and I discuss gender and alternatives to the bimodal system of male and female identities. She discusses her personal gender journey as a transgender woman and talks about how her experiences influence her practice as an Educational Psychologist. We discuss what gender is and how it can be defined. Cora highlights the societal barriers that non-binary and transgender people face and we talk about how these may arise within educational settings. We conclude by discussing how EPs and other professionals working with children and young people can challenge the status quo and improve the experiences of all children through inclusive practice.Related reading:Bragg, S., Renold, E., Ringrose, J., & Jackson, C. (2018). ‘More than boy, girl, male, female’: Exploring young people’s views on gender diversity within and beyond school contexts. Sex Education, 18(4), 420–434., Anne & Olson, Kristina. (2017). Gender Development in Transgender Preschool Children. Child Development. 89. 10.1111/cdev.12758. (ülgöz, S., Glazier, J., Enright, E., Alonso, D., Durwood, L., Fast, A., Lowe, R., Ji, G., Heer, J., Martin, C., & Olson, K. (2019). Similarity in transgender and cisgender children’s gender development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116. 201909367. 10.1073/pnas.1909367116.Hyde, J. S., Bigler, R. S., Joel, D., Tate, C. C., & van Anders, S. M. (2019). The future of sex and gender in psychology: Five challenges to the gender binary. American Psychologist, 74(2), 171–193., C. L., Andrews, N. C., England, D. E., Zosuls, K., & Ruble, D. N (2017).  A dual identity approach for conceptualizing and measuring children’s gender identity. Child Dev. 88, 167–182.  doi: 10.1111/cdev.12568.Meyer-Bahlburg, H., Dolezal, C., Baker, S., Carlson, A., Obeid, J., & New, M (2004) Prenatal androgenization affects gender-related behavior but not gender identity in 5-12-year-old girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Arch. Sex. Behav. 33, 97–104. (, K. R., Key, A. C., & Eaton, N. R. (2015). Gender cognition in transgender children. Psychological Science, 26(4), 467–474., J. R., Gülgöz, S., Durwood, L., DeMeules, M., Lowe, R., Lindquist, G., & Olson, K. R. (2019). Predicting early-childhood gender transitions. Psychological Science, 30(5), 669–681., J., Sargeant, C., & Wright, S. (2020). What beliefs influence children and young people’s attitudes towards the transgender population? Educational and Child Psychology, 37(1), 11–36.Russell, S. T., Pollitt, A. M., Li, G., & Grossman, A. H. (2018). Chosen name use is linked to reduced depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior among transgender youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 63(4), 503–505., P.L., & Bartlett, N.H. (2007). What Can the Samoan "Fa'afafine" Teach Us about the Western Concept of Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood? Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 50(4), 481-490. doi:10.1353/pbm.2007.0056. Support the show
A special introduction to something new for the Agents of Hope podcast! Ella Mansfield is a second-year Trainee Educational Psychologist at Birmingham University and she'll be hosting a mini-series called "Understanding Voices" on the Agents of Hope platform.Understanding Voices follows the usual Agents of Hope format but takes a closer look at the theme of anti-discriminatory practice. This is with the hope that through understanding the experiences of children and young people we are able to improve inclusive practice in schools.Is there anyone you would like to interview? Would you like a platform to raise awareness about a particular topic in educational psychology? If you're interested in getting involved with Agents of Hope, please contact Tim on Twitter (@timceducation) or via email ( the show
In this episode I chat with Gavin Morgan, an Educational Psychologist, Academic Tutor and member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group, who helped the Government make evidence based decisions during the pandemic. It was fascinating conversation and explored the different types of role taken up by EPs as facilitators of change to outright advocates for change. References Gavin Morgan (2016) Organisational change: a solution-focused approach,Educational Psychology in Practice, 32:2, 133-144, DOI: 10.1080/02667363.2015.1125855 the show
In this conversation Tim speaks to two Southampton university graduates who swapped the South Coast of England for Glasgow in Scotland, Francesca and Larissa. We talk about Glasgow's journey to become a 'nurturing city'. References Education Scotland & Glasgow City Council (2017).  Applying Nurture as a Whole School Approach. Crown Copyright., M. & Nowek, G. (2019).  Beyond Nurture Groups to Nurturing Approaches:  A Focus on the Development of Nurture in the Scottish Context.  The international Journal of Nurture in Education.  Volume 5.  March, S. & Kearney, M. (2017). A psychological service contribution to nurture: Glasgow’s nurturing city. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 22(3), 237-247. Kearney et al., (2020). The nurturing establishment: Gathering children and parental/carers views of their experiences of a nurturing establishment. The International Journal of Nurture in Education. Volume 6. Cunningham, L., Hartwell, B., & Kreppner, J. (2019). Exploring the impact of nurture groups on children’s social skills: A mixed methods approach. Educational Psychology in Practice, 35(4), 1-16.Education Scotland (2018). Nurture, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Practice: Making the links between these approaches. website: @GlasgowEPS @GlasgowNurture Support the show
Sponsored by Bethan Elisa Proofreading (@bethanelisa) and Handmade Home by Ruby ( Denborough, D. (2008) Collective narrative practice, Dulwich Centre publications, Adelaide, Australia. Elhassan, O., and Yassine, L. (2017) Tree of life with young Muslim women in Australia, The international journal of Narrative Therapy and Community work, (3) 27-45. Gallagher, B., & Green, A. (2012). In, out and after care: Young adults' views on their lives, as children, in a therapeutic residential establishment. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(2), 437-450. Jacobs, S.F.M., (2018) Collective Narrative practice with unaccompanied refugee minors: “The Tree of Life” as a response to hardship, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry vol 23(2) 279-293 Portnoy, S., Girling, I. and Fredman, G. (2015) Supporting young people living with cancer to tell their stories in ways that make them stronger: The Beads of Life approach, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 21, 255-267 Shotton, G. (2010). Telling different stories The experience of foster/adoptive carers in carrying out collaborative memory work with children Adoption and Fostering, 34(4), 61-68. Shotton, G. (2013). “Remember when…”: Exploring the experiences of looked after children and their carers in engaging in collaborative reminiscence, Adoption and Fostering, 37(4), 352-367. Shotton, G. (2021) A session by session guide to life story work, Routledge, Abingdon. Staines, J., Selwyn, J. (2020) I wish someone would explain why I am in care: The impact of children and young people’s lack of understanding of why they are in out-of-home care on their well-being and felt security, Child and Family Social Work, 25, (1) 91-106. Vermeire, S. (2017) What if….I were a king?: Playing with roles and positions in narrative conversations with children who have experienced trauma, The International journal of Narrative Therapy and Community work (4) 50-61 Watson, D., Hahn, R., and Staines, J. (2020) Storying special objects: Material culture, narrative identity and life story work for children in care, Qualitative social work, Vol 19, (4) 701-718 Willis, R., & Holland, S. (2009). Life Story Work: Reflections of the experience by looked after young people. Adoption and Fostering, 33(4), 44-52.Support the show
Patrick's twitter:@psybriefOpen Science Resources: the show
Series 2 Episode 6 Sponsored by Bethan Elisa Proofreading (@bethanelisa) and Handmade Home by Ruby ( this episode, I talk to Hilary Hickmore,  an Educational Psychologist who has spent her career in a large variety of roles with her unique approach to helping systems understand and respond to the needs of children, who are, sometimes at risk of exclusion. Hilary and I discuss her psychology career which spans the last 30 years since she trained in Southampton in the early 90s.  Hilary has worked in many interesting ways to make systems more inclusive and help educators to have hope even when it feels like they are in the last chance saloon.  We discuss the pervasive and sustained nature of this challenge in Educational Psychology and education in general. Hilary and I then explore her CRRES model. In preparation for this we worked through a CRRES activity in preparation for this episode. You can see that activity here: In doing this we talk about what is meant by therapeutic assessment and how it felt to work through this sort of activity to help me talk about my state of mind, in a way that wouldn't usually.  We discuss applications in day to day EP practice and how people can find out more about this approach. References Hickmore, H. (2000). Using art and play in assessment and intervention for troubled children in Barwick, N. (Ed). Clinical counselling in schools (pp108-123). London: Routledge. 108 - 123Oaklander, V. (1988).  Windows to our children. New York: Gestalt Journal PressSunderland, M. and Engelheart, P. (2015).  Draw on your emotions.  London: Speechmark Support the show
Series 2 Episode 5Sponsored by Bethan Elisa Proofreading (@bethanelisa) and Handmade Home by Ruby ( this episode, I talk to Dr. Chris Bagley,  an Educational Psychologist who works in South Gloucestershire and with the charity State of Mind. Chris and I discuss his journey in psychology from coaching young cricketers to supply teaching and finally to training to be an Educational Psychologist. Chris discusses the restrictive nature of the English Education System and the effects he has found it has had on young people. We talk about the Participatory Action Research that he has carried out with the London Based Charity, State of Mind, who recently featured as keynote speakers at the 2021 DECP conference. We then discuss what it means to challenge the status quo and what that means for the role of the EP.  We discuss educational systems in Italy, Portugal, and Finland that are able to take different approaches to the English system to address the needs, wants, and consent of the young people that they serve.  We conclude by discussing what EPs, TEPs, and Educational Professionals can do to challenge the status quo and work with communities to transformative ends. Ainscow, M. (2020) “Promoting inclusion and equity in education: lessons from international experiences”, C. (2015) “Managed moves: school and local authority staff perceptions of processes, success and challenges”, C. (2021) “Alternative Education Provision: An Exclusive English Myth”, C. (2020) “Stop discarding troubled students who don't perform - it's destroying children's lives” Sabel et al (2011) “Individualized Service Provision in the New Welfare State Lessons from Special Education in Finland” Demo, H. (2020) “Inclusive education in Italy: Historical steps, positive developments, and challenges” Alves, I. (2019) “International inspiration and national aspirations: inclusive education in Portugal” of Mind:Breaking the Silence phase 1 - “‘We're not learning, we're memorising’: Read London students' powerful open letter to Ofsted” the Silence phase 2 - Student-led research written by Jaspar Khawaja (Trainee EP - Institute of Education, UCL), co-analysed with young peopleQuantitative data analysis - “The impact of school on young people's mental health: a UCL doctoral student shares his findings” data analysis - “Schools are prioritising academic achievement over wellbeing and growth. Young people want to know why” the silence phase 3 - “What would an education inspection look like if students did the inspecting? We're finding out” Support the show
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Sponsored by Bethan Elisa Proofreading (@bethanelisa) and Handmade Home by Ruby (  You can get 10% off at Ruby's shop by quoting AGENTS10 when paying. In this episode, I talk to Ella,  a second-year Trainee Educational Psychologist at Birmingham University who is about to embark on her doctoral thesis research. That research will explore a feminist perspective on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.   Ella and I discuss her experiences of having and being diagnosed with ADHD whilst at University. We discuss the nature of the role of research in informing perceptions of the condition and how Ella feels her activist stance can help to challenge stereotypes of ADHD and enrich the understanding of the experience in girls.Stenner, P., O'Dell, L., & Davies, A. (2019). Adult women and ADHD: on the temporal dimensions of ADHD identities. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 49(2), 179-197.Frondelius, I. A., Ranjbar, V., & Danielsson, L. (2019). Adolescents’ experiences of being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a phenomenological study conducted in Sweden. BMJ open, 9(8), e031570. Support the show
Series 2 Episode 2 Sponsored by Bethan Elisa Proofreading (@bethanelisa) and Handmade Home by Ruby ( this episode, I talk to Dr. Nicola Canale,  an Educational Psychologist who works in South Wales to promote the healthy development of children in their first 1000 days of life using a dyadic and psychology-informed approach.Nicola and I discuss her journey in psychology which has informed her current innovative approach to practice, including reflecting on her role in inspiring me to pursue a career in Educational Psychology.  We discuss the needs of children in their first days and the psychology which EPs can apply to help parents understand and respond to these needs via a multiagency approach.  . We consider how the approach can be applied by Educational Psychologists should the opportunity arise.Resources ·         A link to some useful, psychology informed, information created for parents with young children by Educational Psychologists in Cardiff Parenting (scroll to the bottom of the page to access):·         A link to the Association for Infant Mental Health·         A link to the Parent Infant Foundation  Support the show
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