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ELSA Training and Supervision

The Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) project was designed to build the capacity of schools to support the emotional needs of their pupils from within their own resources. It recognises that children and young people learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed. Our brand new ELSA training is for teaching assistants who want to be able to develop and deliver emotional literacy support programmes for pupils who have difficulties understanding, identifying and managing their emotions so that they can develop these skills and subsequently become more emotionally resilient.

The ELSA project is an Educational Psychology led intervention that is evidenced based.

One of our Directors, Dr Laura Grahamslaw, evaluated the impact of the ELSA project on support assistants’ and children’s self-efficacy beliefs for her doctoral thesis in 2010 and it was found to have a positive impact. The support assistants which were found to have the greatest impact on children’s emotional self-efficacy beliefs had: completed the ELSA training; protected time to plan their ELSA work; and protected time to attend refresher training events.

Laura is a member of the ELSA Network Steering Group which manages the ELSA Network; provides accountability; supports good practice in training and supervision; and helps to ensure the continued development and sustainability of the ELSA model.

Through the ELSA project, Educational Psychologists can apply their extensive training and knowledge to build the capacity of schools to understand and holistically support their pupils. All of our Educational Psychologists are highly experienced in delivering ELSA training and supervision.

Psychology First has consistently been awarded the ‘ELSA Network Quality Mark’ since this recognition was established for providers in 2021. This acknowledges the high standard we provide in the delivery and evaluation of our ELSA training and supervision.

For more information on the ELSA project please visit www.elsanetwork.org

ELSA Training

The ELSA training provides selected teaching assistants with a basic psychological understanding of the principle needs underpinning healthy emotional development in children to enable them to think beyond the presenting behaviours to the needs those behaviours may be expressing.

The ELSA training is a six-day course delivered by Drs. Laura Grahamslaw and Chantelle Makin who have a wealth of experience facilitating both the training and ongoing supervision. It is suitable for staff working in primary, secondary and special schools.

As of September 2023, we are really excited to launch our brand-new ELSA training course. It includes all of the core ELSA training modules that have been updated based on current research, and we have added even more evidence-based strategies for ELSAs to use in their practice. Furthermore, delegates will now access a number of additional sessions that we have developed, based on the themes that regularly come up in supervision, to enable them to better support children and young people’s mental health in the current educational climate. These new sessions have all been piloted at our recent CPD days for ELSAs, and were positively received.

The course content is as follows:

Day 1 – The ELSA Project; Emotional Literacy in Schools.

Day 2 – Building Resilience 1: Borba’s model (of self-esteem) – Security and Affiliation; Friendship Skills.

Day 3 – Building Resilience 2: Borba’s model continued – Selfhood, Competence and Mission; Getting Started as an ELSA and Target Setting.

Day 4 – Bereavement, Grief and Loss; Supporting Pupils who Self Harm.

Day 5 – Suicide Prevention and Postvention; Supporting Trans and Non-Binary Pupils; Sleep and Mental Health.

Day 6 – Understanding and Managing Strong Emotions; The Use of Story in ELSA.

The course costs £700 per ELSA and includes:

  • The six days initial training delivered by two highly experienced Educational Psychologists;
  • Access to an electronic copy of all the PowerPoints and handouts;
  • The updated second edition of the handbook ‘Emotional wellbeing: an introductory handbook for schools’ by Gillian Shotton and Sheila Burton;
  • Access to the private ELSA Community area on our website which contains additional resources; top tips; and our ELSA Support Forum;
  • Exclusive use of the ELSA Network logo for your school website and any ELSA materials;
  • An ELSA lanyard displaying the ELSA Network logo for your ELSA to use in school; and
  • Lunch and refreshments.

Our training is regularly held at Guildford Nursery School and Family Centre in Surrey and The Jubilee Library in Brighton. However, we can provide ELSA training for clusters of schools in the South East, in their local area, and we require a minimum of 16 ELSAs to run the training. Please contact us to find out more and/or to discuss your requirements.

ELSA Supervision

An important core element of the ELSA training is that the ELSAs access regular ongoing supervision from an Educational Psychologist in small groups. In line with the ELSA Network Quality Mark, all of our ELSA supervisors are fully qualified Educational Psychologists. They are experienced in delivering both ELSA training and supervision, and they all access regular supervision to continually develop their skills in this area.

ELSA supervision involves understanding the psychological development of children and young people, considering the meaning behind children’s behaviours and applying psychological principles to the process of supporting change.  Since most ELSAs are likely to have had no specific psychological training beyond those insights provided through initial ELSA training, it is essential for them to receive regular ongoing support and supervision from an Educational Psychologist to continually develop their knowledge and understanding in these areas.

Ongoing supervision will be required following the initial six days training to maintain the ELSA accreditation. Psychology First offers a consistent and highly experienced supervising Educational Psychologist who is trained in clinical supervision to provide ELSA supervision to groups of 6-8 ELSAs. Supervision takes place every half term for 2 hours, and the cost per ELSA for a year (6 supervision sessions) is £225.  Optimum numbers in a group are a minimum of 6 ELSA’s to promote group learning but a maximum of 8 ELSAs to encourage and allow the participation of all ELSAs in the group.