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 Andrea Higgins

Andrea Higgins


+44 (0)29 2087 9003
CUCHDS room 1.20, Tower Building, 70 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT



I am a highly skilled and well-regarded educational psychology practitioner with over 34 years of experience of working in local authorities across both England and Wales and have held a number of positions including senior leadership and management roles in services across the UK. Now the Programme Director for the only professional training course in Educational Psychology Wales,  I am passionate about using our understanding and thinking as psychologists to promote change and improve outcomes for vulnerable CYP.



September 2017 – onwards

Programme Director, Cardiff Doctoral programme

Responsible for leadership, management and coordination of all elements of the DEdPsy Professional Training Programme.  

September 2015- August 2017

Professional tutor on the Doctorate in Educational Psychology Programme

Participation in all aspects of the DEdPsy Professional Training Programme. Co-ordination of a post qualification doctorate Programme

August 2012 – August 2015


Principal Educational Psychologist

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (RCTCBC)

Leader of a federated Educational Psychology Service (20 plus EPs) that provides a service for children 0 -19 years, their families, schools and other agencies for both RCTCBC and Merthyr Tydfil.


Additional responsibilities for Portage workers and team leader of a workforce of 10, meeting the educational needs of looked After Children

May 2010 - August 2012

Achievement Leader (Lead EP)

Cardiff City Council

Leadership and management of the following teams: educational psychology (16 EPs); autism outreach; early years SENCos; Looked After Children Education Team

Link Advisor for two special schools

Strategic lead for Wellbeing in addition to membership of various projects and strategic groups

December 2006 - April 2010

Joint Principal Educational Psychologist

Derbyshire County Council

Joint management of a large team of EPs (32FTE plus admin)

Leadership and management of a support service for preschool children with special educational needs (10 teachers and 4 home visitors)

Strategic lead for Autism plus active role in various strategic groups (e.g. Anti-Bullying, CAMHS liaison, Behaviour and Attendance)

Jan 2004 – November 2006

Senior educational psychologist


Derbyshire County Council

Manager of a district team of EPs

Link EP for a patch of schools

Strategic tasks including authorship of the 'Derbyshire File for Autism Friendly Schools'

May 1986 – December 2003

Educational psychologist Derbyshire County Council

Link EP for a diverse range of schools across Derbyshire including special schools


September 1984 –April 1986

Educational psychologist Staffordshire County Council

Link EP for a patch of schools

January 1983 – September 1983

Supply teacher Staffordshire County council

Supply teaching jobs across the age range and educational sectors

September 1980 – December 1982

Teacher Nottinghamshire County Council

Teacher in a middle school. Specialisms in slow learners, PE and mathematics







Areas of special interest

Improving educational outcomes for Looked After Children

Emotional health and wellbeing including that of pupils in International schools

Autism spectrum disorders

Working effectively with families

Positive psychology and its application in education

Publications and achievements

Outstanding Achievement award AEP 2019

Mitchell, S.and Higgins,A. (2020). Minority within a minority: Stakeholders’ perceptions of deaf education in Wales.Educational & Child Psychology.  Vol. 37 No. 1

Wigford, A., and Higgins, A. (2019). Wellbeing in international schools: Teachers’ perceptions. Educational & Child Psychology.    Vol. 36 No. 4

McQuire, C., Mukherjee, R., Hurt, L., Higgins, A., Greene, G., Farewell, D., Kemp, A., Paranjothy, S. (2018) Screening prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in a region of the United Kingdom: a population-based birth-cohort study. Preventive Medicine. 

Marsh, A. and Higgins, A. (2017). A developing educational psychology service work allocation model. Educational Psychology in Practice. 

Higgins, A. (2017). Children Looked After Friendly Schools. Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil Councils

Higgins, A and Hart, J. Derbyshire File for Autism Friendly Schools Derbyshire County Council 2004

Higgins, A. and Hart, J. Training module as part of ‘Working with pupils with autism’  EQUALS 2004

Higgins, A. and Priest, S. Resolving conflict in schools Chapter 14 Challenging Behaviour in Schools 1994 Routledge

Recent presentations at major conferences

Keynote speaker at the national conference of the Association of Educational Psychologists. Cardiff, November 2019

Contributor to Fostering Masterclasses presented across South Wales (2017-2018)

Workshop presenter at conference for all schools in South Central Wales ‘Meeting the Wellbeing Needs of Children who are Looked After’. Cardiff, Jan 2018.

Main speaker at the launch of the resource for Children Looked After Friendly Schools that is now being distributed across all schools in South Wales

Workshop presenter at the International School Psychology Association Conference Manchester UK, July 2017

Keynote speaker at UK Conference for CAMHS Psychiatrists (Learning Difficulties), Cardiff, May 2014.

Thesis Supervision and Examination 

  • Number of current doctoral students/supervisees: 3
  • Number of theses supervised to completion: 11
  • Number of theses examined as an internal examiner: 14
  • Number of theses examined as an external examiner: 11


Past projects