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Hello and welcome to our school ELSA page!

We are pleased to be able to share information about Emotional Literacy Support within our school. ELSA stands for Emotional literacy support assistant.


Our school ELSA is Paula



What is ELSA?

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.

We are lucky enough to have a qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant at St Stephen’s Primary. Paula, who has been with our school for over 10 years, 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, role-play with puppets or therapeutic activities such as mindfulness or arts and crafts.  ELSA sessions take place in our very own ‘ELSA room’ which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.


In ELSA, we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:

  • Recognising emotions
  • Self-esteem
  • Social skills
  • Friendship skills
  • Anger management
  • Loss and bereavement


How does ELSA work?

Children are usually referred for ELSA support by Senior Leaders and the SENCO, who identifies and prioritise which children require a weekly programme for the next 6-8 weeks. Then, together with the ELSA, they plan support sessions to facilitate the pupil in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively.


So, what do the children think?

On completion of their ELSA programmes, we ask the children to reflect on their experiences and to kindly leave us some feedback. Here are some of the lovely comments we receive:

“I like coming to ELSA, it makes me happy!”

“ELSA has been really fun and has helped me with making new friendships”.

“ELSA has helped me with confidence”.

“It has helped me a lot with my anger and my problems in the playground. I enjoyed it very much!”.

“I enjoyed ELSA and I want to stay!”.