ELSA Support for Children at St Peter's and Clifton Primary School
What is an ELSA?
ELSAs are Emotional Literacy Support Assistants. They are education assistants who have had special training from educational psychologists to support the emotional development of children and young people in school. ELSAs have regular professional supervision from educational psychologists to help them in their work.
How do ELSAs work?
ELSAs are pro-active, not reactive, in supporting students who have some social or emotional needs. ELSA support is not the same as counselling.
ELSAs help children and young people learn to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. They provide the time and space for pupils to think about their personal circumstances and how they manage them.
How long is an ELSA programme?
Most ELSA programmes will last for approximately 6 weeks, helping the pupil to learn some specific new skills or coping strategies. Clear programme aims (SMART targets) are set early on and each session has an objective – something the ELSA wants to help the pupil understand or achieve. ELSA support is tailored to the needs of the child. Sometimes this might take place in a group, sometimes on a one-to-one basis.
Where and when does ELSA support take place?
At St Peter's and Clifton we have recently created a special ELSA room, which is quiet and peaceful. It is full of the resources that might be needed during ELSA sessions, and new resources are being added all the time. Usually, children enjoy going to the ELSA room for their sessions. If a child wants to use a different space, however, the ELSA will talk with the student to find out where would be a better space for them.
Your child will go with the ELSA at a time agreed with the classroom teacher. Because it is a type of learning, ELSA sessions do not take place during snack or lunchtime.
How will I know if my child is receiving ELSA support?
First of all, your child’s class teacher will contact you to let you know that your child will be offered a programme of support from the ELSA. Then, once an ELSA has been assigned, the ELSA will be in touch with you. Sometimes they will ask you to complete a form for additional information. Working closely with home is the most effective way of supporting children as they learn new emotional and social skills. If you would like further information, the classroom teacher will be happy to chat with you about the support your child is receiving.
What sort of thing will my child do when they are working with an ELSA?
That will depend a lot on the age of your child and what they are receiving support for! The ELSAs use books, games, video clips and crafts to work with students. Over time, they have built up a lot of resources and ideas, and they are advised by the Educational Psychologists if they need more suggestions.
Some of the activities that the students might undertake are:
Future in Mind
As part of our whole school approach to supporting children’s emotional and mental wellbeing we are currently working closely with our Primary Future in Mind Practitioner, Becky Price, to provide support to children who may be struggling with anxiety and low resilience.
Future in Mind is a National initiative from the Department of Health and NHS England and works alongside CAMHS to provide mental health services for children, young people and their families. NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group have been successful in securing funding to deliver the programme until 2020.
Children can be considered for referral into the programme by parents and teaching staff, initially the sessions are designed to offer children practical support and strategies to build resilience and coping mechanisms. Further support can be offered if it is felt this is needed but help can also be given to access support from other professionals.
Primary Practitioner - Rebecca Price
Wakefield CAMHS- West Team Drury Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre
Mental Health Support
If you feel worried about your child's mental health, you may find the Young Minds Website helpful.