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St Peter's and Clifton CE VC Primary School

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Personal Social Health Citizenship Education (PSHCE)

Mental Health and Wellbeing
Mental health and wellbeing is not simply the absence of mental
illness; it is a broader indicator of social, emotional
and physical wellness. It is influenced by a range of
factors, including a child or young person’s family,
their community and school environment, their
physical health and their social and emotional skills.
Mental health and wellbeing can be defined as feeling good,
feeling that life is going well, and feeling able to get
on with daily life.
At St Peter's & Clifton we recognise that children's mental 
health and wellbeing are crucial to their development and
can have an impact on learning and achievement.  Our aim is to provide 
a nurturing, safe environment in which children are able to develop 
self esteem, build resilience and overcome adversity.
We also wish for children to learn about what they can do to 
maintain positive mental health, what affects their mental health,
how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues
and where they can go if they need help and support. 
We are developing a whole school approach via a PSHCE curriculum, 
ELSA trained staff, Futures in Mind and CAMHS Support.  



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:

  • Group discussions
  • Drawing 
  • Role play
  • Breathing techniques, including for relaxation
  • Dance and relaxation
  • Guided meditation
  • Mindful activities including colouring and breathing
  • Positive self talk
  • Mindful therapeutic craft



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

Drury Lane,




01924 316950


Mental Health Support


If you feel worried about your child's mental health, you may find the Young Minds Website helpful.