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Danesholme Infant Academy

Emotional Literacy Support Assistant

Miss McMullan is our school ELSA and she does a lot of work supporting children across the school in a number of different ways. This page of the website lets parents know a little more information about the job that she does in school. 


What is an ELSA? 

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. Miss McMullan is our qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant here at Danesholme Infant Academy. 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. Most of the work is delivered on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in areas of social and friendships skills. ELSA sessions take place in our 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 and understanding emotions

- building self esteem 

- social skills

- friendship skills

- anger and behaviour management 

- Loss and bereavement 

- relaxation techniques

- transition/ change


How does ELSA work? 

Children are referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, senior leader or SENDCo. We then identify and prioritise which children require a weekly programme or if more appropriate put supported strategies in place within a class setting. ELSA programmes run for 6-12 weeks. With the programme set 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. 


Supporting - not fixing


Remember, ELSAs are not there to fix children's problems. What they do is provide emotional support to those who need it. They aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where children can share honestly their thoughts and feelings. 

For children with complex or long term needs it is unrealistic to expect ELSA intervention to resolve some of their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need. Miss McMullan may discuss referring a child with parents for further support, through either CAMHs, the school nursing team or other external support. 

If you are concerned about the mental health or wellbeing of your child, please discuss you concerns initially with your child's class teacher. Please also refer to the links found on our mental health and wellbeing page for further details.