ELSAs are Emotional Literacy Support Assistants. They are teaching assistants who have received specific additional training from educational psychologists from whom they receive on going supervision following training. Their role is to support children and young people in school to understand and regulate their own emotions whilst also respecting the feelings of those around them.

Why ELSA at Bedelsford?

Research shows that children and young people with learning disabilities are:

  • 4 times more likely to have an emotional disorder
  • 7 times more likely to have a depressive disorder.

There is a higher risk with those with greater support needs, particularly if they are unable to communicate their feelings or communicate their distress. Having a learning disability is also likely to reduce a child’s capacity for finding creative and adaptive solutions to life’s challenges. All of these factors are known to have a negative impact on mental health, putting young people with learning disabilities at greater risk of developing mental health problems.

As part of Bedelsford’s school development plan, under the priority of personal development, behaviour and welfare, ELSA will contribute for the school’s achievements in relation to the areas mentioned above, aiming to support our students individually in their needs through the development of Emotional Literacy and Support Team in the school.

How does ELSA will work at Bedelsford?

At Bedelsford, ELSA will help children and young people with great support needs learn to understand their emotions and respect the feelings around them.  A limited number of students will be referred by teachers at this stage. Students will be encouraged to engage on a 1 to 1, half an hour session. The element of confidentiality, between those involved in the session is crucial.

The priorities for an individual pupil will be identified in discussion with other staff in the school. With the programme aims in mind the ELSA will 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 has its own objective (either something the ELSA wants to achieve or something for the pupil to achieve) that builds towards the longer term aims.

The ELSA isn’t there to “fix” the child and it is not to be confused with behaviour management.

It is important to remember that: “Change is a long-term process that needs everyone’s help.”

The ELSA programme at Bedelsford will be coordinated by Rubia Campera, who is a Counselling student at Kingston University and has been “ELSA” trained by the Educational Psychologists from AFC (Achieving for Children). Rubia has been working in Education for the past 20 years in England and abroad and has embraced Emotional Literacy as her main area of interest since she started supporting vulnerable students in various schools when working for Richmond Council in 2008.

When & where?

The ELSA sessions will take place in the Parent’s Meeting Room and in the Music Room 2 days per week

The school is truly ‘outstanding’ indeed and we don’t mean just in the sense of how Ofsted have classified it.

Parent of Year 7 child

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