The Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) programme is designed to support primary and secondary schools in building their capacity to meet the emotional needs of children and young people. It recognises that children and young people learn better and are happier in school when their emotional needs are met.
ELSAs are trained and supervised by educational psychologists to have a robust understanding of social, emotional and mental health needs. They are then able to plan and implement bespoke individual and group interventions in schools addressing a wide range of needs, including:
- Recognising and managing emotions
- Improvements to self esteem
- Effective peer relationships
- Bereavement and loss
- Calm conflict resolution
There is a growing body of research indicating that ELSAs can make a significant, positive difference to the emotional wellbeing of children and young people. Indeed, the use of evidence-based approaches is emphasised in the Code of Practice (2015).
Furthermore, how schools support the social and emotional wellbeing of its pupils is becoming an increasing focus for Ofsted.