Upton Noble

C of E VC Primary School

Part of the East Somerset Federation which includes Bruton Primary School

ELSA - Emotional Literacy Support Assistant

What is ELSA in School? 

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.


Mrs Dunk is the ELSA for Upton Noble Primary School, she 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 and use a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft.  ELSA sessions take place in the Library 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


    Social skills

    Friendship skills

    Anger management

    Loss and bereavement


The ELSA for Upton Noble Primary School is Mrs Dunk.   



How does ELSA work?


Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders or on occasion the SENCo. Every half term or termly we review the children who require the ELSA programme for the next 6-8 weeks. With the programme aims in mind we then 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.

Each session lasts from approximately 25 - 40 minutes once a week.


Supporting - Not Fixing


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


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. Educational Psychologists that work with schools would be able to offer advice on the suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.


We hope you have found this information about ELSA in school useful.  If you think your child needs ELSA support please get in touch with the school.


We also have an ELSA email elsaun@eastsomersetfederation.co.uk if you would like to get in touch.  


Emotional Well-being During the Covid-19 Pandemic & School Closures


It is important to maintain good mental health.  While school is closed parents can help their child/ren by maintaining a regular structured routine with set break times during the week like they would have at school.  


Emotions can fluctuate, feeling sad/happy/exhausted/confused/worried? All emotions are valid and it is important to talk about how your child feels and support them through these turbulent times.


Useful numbers & websites:

Child line 0800 1111

Samaritans 116123


Windstons Wish 08088 020 021


To help parents to help their children, Outside the Box has produced a FREE activity journal (At Home with Weaving Well-Being) to help children to enhance their mental well-being through a range of activities. It’s probably most suitable for children aged 8 to 12 years old but can certainly be adapted for younger or older children. It was released as a response to the current crisis. You can download it and print it out for your child/children or, if you don’t have access to a printer, your child can get the activity idea from the screen and do it on a blank sheet of paper: