Remember, ELSAs are not here to fix children's problems. What they do is provide emotional support to those who need it. They aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a pupil and to provide a reflective space where children are able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings.
ELSAs will receive support and supervision from educational psychologists, but will still report to a line manager within their school – in our school, we are supported by Mrs Reid, Headteacher and Mrs Neil (Mental Health Lead).
They will also help with the identification and prioritisation of children who would benefit from the support of an ELSA. This process works best when there is solid communication between the teachers, heads of year, SENCos and ELSA team within a school.
I have been at Botley School for well over 13 years now and I have been lucky enough to have been the ELSA at Botley for the last 4 years. I genuinely believe that the emotional well-being of all the children at our school is at the heart of learning as without a stable emotional base, we cannot build on the children's learning time with us. With my current role as the Family Liaison Support worker, I can offer support not just to the children in our setting, but also to their families where appropriate.
What I have noticed with ELSA sessions, is that the children never want to stop them and whilst this isn't possible, we have different things in place to ensure that any child who feels the need to speak to one of the team, is given the opportunity to. This is why the 2 new ELSA's are a great addition to the team, and we would encourage you as parents to also suggest your child speaks to one of us.
I have been working as a Teaching Assistant in Botley School since January 2019 and before that I worked within the NHS for over 10 years. During my time at Botley School, I have supported in all years from Reception to Year 6. I absolutely love working in a school and children facing all the different challenges and also huge rewards.
I feel there is a massive amount of pressure on children in all aspects of their lives and training to become an ELSA has been an honour as I feel I’ve been given the opportunity to help any child struggling. Giving a child the time - their own time to sit, talk and play through whatever they’re going through without any distractions is essential to their wellbeing and help with the management of their emotions.
I fully understand there is no quick fix however, knowing that I’ve had a positive impact is worth it. I have just started on my ELSA journey, but I know this is the path I want to take.
I started my journey within primary education in 2019 when I gained my diploma in specialist support and teaching within schools and later that year began my career in Botley School. I am proud to take on the role of ELSA from September 2022, after completing my training with Oxfordshire Educational Psychologists.
With children and young people facing life challenges that can affect their ability to engage with school life, being an ELSA allows us to support those children individually or within a small group, providing them with a save space to allow them to feel supported and nurtured.
Although I have only been an ELSA for a brief period of time the positive impact it has on a child’s attitude/behaviour I have witnessed is worth every minute! The simple smile of connection from children across the playground confirming their sense of safety and trust are worth a thousand words.