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Pastoral Support

Pastoral Support

At St Mary's Church of England Primary School, we strive to provide a learning environment where students can achieve and thrive. We aim to meet the social-emotional needs of the children, by providing pastoral support to help develop the social and emotional skills they need to become resilient young people. 


Within school we have 4 trained ELSAs who support referred children to maximise their future chances in life.


We can also make referrals to:

  • School Nursing Team 
  • Early Help 
  • CAMHS (mental health support)


We have four qualified ELSA's on site Mrs Palmer (SENDCo), Mrs Perkins (Family Support Worker) and Miss Rizzo and Ms Newton who are ELSA trained Teaching Assistants. They have been trained by Educational Psychologists to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing short or longer term additional emotional needs. We aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:


  • Recognising emotions
  • Self-esteem
  • Social skills
  • Friendship skills
  • Anger management
  • Loss and bereavement

Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)

What is ELSA?

There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning. Some will require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others. 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.


We are fortunate to have four qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA) at St Mary's. As we have said above, they are trained by Educational Psychologists to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. The majority of ELSA work is delivered through individual sessions, but sometimes groupwork sessions are more appropriate. Sessions are fun using a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft. ELSA sessions take place in 'The Hive' which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured or in the SENDCo room. 


How does ELSA work?

Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their Class Teacher, Senior Leaders or the SENDCo. Every half term, referrals are reviewed to identify and prioritise which children require a weekly programme for the next 6-8 weeks. With the programme aims in mind 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 we can do is provide emotional support.


We aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where they are able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings.


It needs to be appreciated that change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly and is dependent upon the context and complexity of the presenting issues. For children with complex or long-term needs it is unrealistic to expect ELSA intervention to resolve all their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need. 


How Do I Access ELSA Support

If you are worried about your child and would like to discuss support for your child please contact Mrs Palmer or Mrs Perkins on 01455 637477 and press the correct extension line.