St Gregory & St Patrick's


What is an ELSA?

In schools, ELSA stands for Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. ELSA support in schools is a project designed to help schools support the emotional needs of their pupils.

ELSA acknowledges that children and young people learn best when they feel happier and their emotional needs are being addressed.

The initiative was developed and supported by educational psychologists who used knowledge of how children develop socially and emotionally and apply this knowledge to the needs of pupils.

  • The role title of ELSA may only be taken by someone who:
  • Has attended a full ELSA training course.
  • Regularly attends supervision groups led by educational psychologists.

ELSAs are trained to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils in their school who may be experiencing temporary or long term additional emotional needs.

A lot of work that ELSAs do will be on an individual basis with one child, however, there are cases where group sessions may be appropriate such as when working on social skills and friendship skills.


Our School ELSA is Miss Doyle. When a child is identified, she makes a note of the kind of emotional support that they would benefit from and what areas she can work on them with. These priorities can then set the aims of the programme which can also act as individual aims for children.

Working on things that are personal to a child is likely to make the impact of the programme more successful.

How long should ELSA involvement last?

Sessions will typically happen once a week across the length of a term and last between half an hour and an hour. 

Most programmes would last for half a term to a term.

Where will ELSA work be done?

Pupils need a quiet space that affords some degree of privacy. They need to feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and feelings, which might include some sensitive information about themselves and their personal circumstances.

What can ELSAs help with?

There are a lot of emotional skills that ELSA can help with, including:

  • Social Skills
  • Bereavement
  • Social Situations
  • Therapeutic Stories
  • Anger Management
  • Self-esteem
  • Real-life problem-solving skills
  • Friendship

Esk Avenue, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 8AJ

01946 595010