Emotional Literacy Support (ELSA)
There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning, and some will require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others. ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed.
We are lucky enough to have a qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant at Staunton and Corse Academy. Mrs Natalie Thompson has been trained by Educational Psychologists to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. The majority of ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in the areas of social and friendship skills. Sessions are fun, we use a range of activities such as: games, therapeutic stories, various interventions, role-play with puppets or arts and craft. ELSA sessions take place in a quiet ‘ELSA room’ that provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.
How Does ELSA Work?
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders, SENDCo or by parents request. Mrs Thompson will discuss the child's needs with the teacher, parent, SENDCO and/or external agency. She will plan support sessions to facilitate the pupil in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage their social and emotional needs more effectively.
Supporting - not fixing
Remember, ELSAs are not there to fix children’s problems. What we can do is provide emotional support. We aim to establish a warm and respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where they are able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings. It needs to be appreciated that change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly and is dependent upon the context and complexity of the presenting issues. For children with complex or long-term needs it is unrealistic to expect ELSA intervention to resolve all their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child’s need. Training and development of ELSAs is an ongoing process and they receive regular supervision. In some cases Mrs Thompson can use support from external services.
For more information about ELSA please visit