Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)

Our ELSA is Mrs Carol Abberley.

Emotional Literacy is the term used to describe the ability to understand and express feelings. Emotional Literacy involves having self-awareness and recognition of one's own feelings and knowing how to manage them, such as the ability to stay calm when angered or to reassure oneself when in doubt.

There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning. 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.


Our ELSA role includes the following;

  • To provide support for a wide range of emotional needs; recognising emotions, self-esteem, social skills, friendship skills, anger management and loss and bereavement
  • To assist our children in developing their own mental well-being and resilience skills
  • To build a relationship of trust between the child and the ELSA
  • To give support to children in being a valued member of the school community
  • Provide tailor made individual support to target specific aspects of a child's emotional
  • Provide a safe space for our children to feel supported and nurtured
  • Ensure our children are given the time and mutual respect to be listened to without interruptions


How does the Emotional Literacy Support work?

Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, School Leaders or the SENCo. Every half term Mrs Abberley and Miss Dixon meet, to discuss the referral forms and to identify and prioritise which children require a weekly programme for the next 6-8 weeks. With the programme aims in mind, a series of support sessions are planned. These sessions guide and support the child in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively. Sessions are fun and might include role-play, puppets, board games, art and craft, and stories.


Our ELSA can help by providing the following:

  • A calm, safe place for children to share their anxieties, worries and successes confidentially
  • Therapeutic Individual or small group sessions to develop a specific programme of work to assist a child’s needs
  • Emotional support
  • Time to talk


Our ELSA can help:

  • Children who may need support on a wide range of emotional needs impacting on themselves and their family life
  • Children who find recognising and regulating their emotions challenging
  • Children who have experienced loss or trauma


Supporting - not fixing

ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems. What an ELSA can do is provide emotional support.

The aim is to establish a warm, 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 wisdom is required to recognise when issues are beyond the level of expertise that could reasonably be expected of an ELSA. The Educational Psychologist that works with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.


How to contact our ELSA:

Please contact the school office to make an appointment with Mrs Abberley or Miss Dixon.