At Drayton Community Infant School we believe that all children are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum. We focus on the children’s strengths and support them to progress at their own rates to achieve and perform to the best of their abilities.

We believe that in order for children to be successful learners we must support their social and emotional development also.

Some children may need additional support outside of that already given in school. For example, in areas such as recognising and understanding emotions and feelings, displaying empathy, self-esteem difficulties or perhaps to pick up some tips about calming techniques or coping with making mistakes. This is where ELSA comes in. Other children may need support with their speaking and listening skills, making relationships, confidence when communicating with others or sharing. This is when Building Block Therapy may be used.

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 have two qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistants. They are

Mrs Ann White & Ms Bonner

They have been trained by Educational Psychologists from CEPP 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. Sessions are fun, we use a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft.  ELSA sessions take place in our very own ELSA environment, which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.

A wide range of emotional needs are supported through ELSA including:

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

How ELSA works

ELSA is line managed by Mrs Catherine Loveridge the School SENCO. Children are referred for ELSA support by their Class Teacher, Teaching Assistant, or Senior Leaders. Sometimes referrals are completed by Mrs Loveridge as an outcome of a conversation with parents. Every half term the 2 ELSA’s (Mrs Ann White and Ms Emily Bonner) meet with Mrs Loveridge to discuss the referral forms and to identify and prioritise which children require ELSA for approximately the next 6 weeks. Then we plan support sessions to support each individual pupil in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively. These sessions are usually on a one to one basis. Notes are kept by ELSA’s and shared with Mrs Loveridge. Every half term the ELSA’s attend supervision sessions with other local ELSA’s and an Educational Psychologist to share activities and resources that have worked well and learn from shared experiences.

ELSAs provide emotional support to children as and when they need it. Although sessions are planned weekly, children are able to find their ELSA in school when they require support on a daily basis.

We aim 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.

ELSA’s work towards a specific goal in these 6 weekly sessions. These goals are specific small targets. For children who have complex or long-term needs, ELSA may not be appropriate in supporting them. Their needs will be discussed and other intervention may be planned around them instead. However, in some cases it may be appropriate here. ELSA is not a quick fix for children!

Mrs Sarah Hutt - Partnership Headteacher
Drayton Community Infant School, School Road, Drayton, Norwich NR8 6EP
Telephone: 01603 860272 • Email: officedrayton@istnorfolk.co.uk