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PSALM 25:4
"Show me your way, LORD. Teach me your path"

Enabling children to flourish and succeed


ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)


Who are the trained ELSAs at St Simon and St Jude? 

St Simon and St Jude currently have 3 trained and qualified ELSAs: Mrs Catesby-Potts, Mrs Simmons, and Mrs Braidley. 


What they do? 

Mrs Catesby-Potts, Mrs Simmons, and Mrs Braidley have undertaken an agreed period of study and gained a national recognised qualification with Educational Psychologists from the local authority. They have regular supervision meetings with an Educational Psychologist not only to monitor progress and support the work that is completed in the school setting by ELSAs, but also who apply their professional knowledge of children’s social and emotional development to areas of need that are being or have been experienced by children at this school. ELSAs by nature are kind and caring individuals who want children to do well educationally but also emotionally, when this is achieved a child is able to reach their full potential and go on to be a contributing member of society. When a child is happy at home and at school they can make others feel their happiness, this will help them overcome any barriers to learning that children may have, which unlocks a child’s potential.    


ELSAs are able to help with wide-ranging problems and situations which include: 

  • Loss and bereavement 

  • Self-esteem 

  • Social Skills 

  • Emotions and how they make us feel 

  • Friendship issues 

  • Relationships 

  • Anger Management 

  • Behaviour 

  • Anxiety 

  • Bullying 

  • Conflict management  

  • Relaxation techniques 


A snapshot of how an ELSA can help 

A child who struggles to make and maintain friendships will be guided through their session either on a one to one basis or in a group session on what a good friend looks like, tips on the best way to make friends, how to treat their friends and how they should be treated by them.  


What happens in an ELSA session?

When a child is working with one of our ELSAs their sessions will have been planned in order to suit your child and able to work with their needs. In both one to one sessions and in group sessions that are run by our ELSAs, your child will have an emotional check in (a chance for your child to have their feelings validated and be able to discuss how and why they feel the way they do. An activity where your child will work towards a learning objective, this could be something that they could not do before the session or have been working towards over a few sessions, then end with relaxation exercise so that they feel emotionally able to return to class after what has been discussed and worked on.  


Some children may have one course of ELSA sessions and some children may have more than one course, this all depends on the child and the school can help them to succeed.  


ELSA Request for Support Form

Typical Problems

  • A very angry child - The ELSA will take the child through an anger management intervention to help them recognise their anger triggers, techniques to avoid those triggers and calming down techniques.
  • A loved pet has died - ELSAs are trained in bereavement and understand that the loss of a pet is probably the first experience of death for your child.  They will work with your child to help them feel supported in school.


How do they work with your child?

Individual Sessions

The ELSA will plan their sessions for your child very carefully.  The session consists of several parts.

A) Emotional Check in - This is an opportunity to talk about feelings.

B) Main Activity - The ELSA will plan the activity to a learning objective.  Something your child will be able to do at the end of the session that they cannot do now.  This is usually an 'I can' statement such as 'I can tell you about my strengths' (a self-esteem objective).  The ELSA will encourage your child to tell you about their talents or personal characteristics such as 'kind', 'caring', 'helpful' or 'brave'.  The child will then make something to reinforce those strengths.

C) Relaxation - Your child will be taught a relaxation exercise to help get them ready to o back to class.  Your child will now be able to answer the question 'I can tell you about my strengths'.


Group Sessions

The ELSA will plan their sessions for your child very carefully.  The session consists of several parts, the first two parts consist of a circle-time where children sit in a circle and take turns to speak.

A) Emotional Check in - This is an opportunity to talk about feelings.

B) Warm up activity - A fun game or activity to help relax your child.

C) Main Activity - This is similar to the individual session but your child will be encouraged to work with other children.  This helps with co-operation, social skills, friendship and gives a sense of belonging.  A learning objective will be set for the group of children which they will all be able to answer at the end of the session.

D) Relaxation - Your child will be taught a relaxation exercise to help get them ready to go back to class. 




Educational Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP)


Becky is the Education Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) at St Simon and St Jude Primary school. She works for the NHS in the Mental Health Support Team for schools, and usually visits our school 1 day per week where required.


Becky's role is to offer low intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to children and young people and/or their parents/carers for a period of 6-8 weeks through 1-1 or group work sessions. This support is offered via referral only through the school and for children that are experiencing symptoms of mild anxiety or low mood. As part of the MHST service, Becky also supports our school with our whole school approach mental health initiatives.


To be referred to Becky's team, please speak with a member of staff in school and they can liaise with the school’s mental health lead to see who is best to support you.

MHST in Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland