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Emotional Literacy Support Assistant

What is an ELSA?

  • ELSA’s are specifically trained and regularly supervised by the Educational Psychologists in the Local Education Authority.
  • An ELSA can help children with loss and bereavement, self-esteem, social skills, emotions, relationships, anger management, behaviour, anxiety, bullying, conflict, relaxation techniques and counselling skills such as solution focus and friendship. 
  • An ELSA gives children coping strategies or ways of changing their thinking pattern in order to support children to be able to self regulate their emotions and behaviour. 
  • An ELSA can give the child time to feel listened to and valued


What is ELSA

  • Emotional literacy is the ability to express our emotions and feelings using speech and other forms of communication. It’s an important skill that children must develop from a young age to help establish a stable relationship with their own emotions.
  • ELSA is an intervention designed to help schools support the emotional and SEMH needs of their pupils within their own resources. 


  • ELSA sessions are bespoke to the child’s/ children’s needs
  • Sessions can be done 1:1 or within a group
  • Sessions should be one 30-45 mins a week
  • The intervention could last initially for 6 weeks but some children may be offered it for 12 weeks.
  • Where possible ELSA should be in the same place each week and be consistent.

What does a session look like?

An emotional check in: This is an opportunity to talk about feelings

Warm up activity: A fun activity to help children relax

Main activity: A planned activity to set learning objective 

Relaxation: A relaxation activity or exercise to get help support the child to be ready to go back to class such as bonding through play.

ELSA Space

  • The space is welcoming
  • Positive 
  • Decorated for multi-purpose
  • A private space where we can work without disruption 
  • Cater for all needs and ages 

Referral process

  • Anyone can refer a child that they think would benefit from ELSA work including parents by contacting the school and speaking to pastoral team, Miss Bassindale, Mrs Ebbs, Mrs Forshaw and Mrs Savage.
  • ELSA along side our Pastoral Leader prioritise children accessing the intervention based on their need, circumstances of the individual, if outcomes can be met and if there is a time limit. (e.g. a child that is coming to the end of year 6)
  • Children may be put on a waiting list if there is not space for them to take part in the intervention immediately 
  • Relevant information is gathered from, parents, teachers, pastoral support and SENCO to feed into the intervention ensuring it is bespoke to each individual child.
  • The ELSA will match up the child’s assessment needs and make 6 objective based on information gathered

Setting Objectives

  • Objectives are based on information gathered from pre-assessment.
  • A different objective is set at the end of each session on the basis that after the session the child has met the target outcome
  • Activities and games are made to work towards meeting the target outcome.

ELSA Leaflet