Emotional Literacy Support Assistant

Next training sessions: To be confirmed 

All days:  9.30am to 4pm (tea/coffee @ 9am)


Research into Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs has shown that stable, nurturing adult-child relationships and environments not only mitigate against exposure to adversity, but also help children and young people to develop the resilience required to flourish as adults.  

The main aim of the ELSA course is to promote these stable, nurturing adult-child relationships and environments and provide practitioners with the knowledge and skills to be a confident and effective ‘key adult’ for vulnerable children and young people. 


Course details

ELSA training is a 7 day course that aims to support practitioners in developing the emotional literacy and overall resiliency of vulnerable children and young people.

ELSA is a national programme of staff training to support children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.  It was first developed in Hampshire by Sheila Burton and is well researched and evidence-based.  ELSA is a national network, of which Gloucestershire Educational Psychology Service is a member.

The ELSA project was developed to build the capacity of schools to support the emotional needs of their pupils from within their own resources.

ELSAs are trained to plan and deliver programmes of support for pupils in their school or setting.

The course will cover the following topics and all days will be delivered by a team of Educational Psychologists:

  • An introduction resilience & emotional literacy
  • Attachment and security
  • Skills for effective therapeutic conversations
  • Emotion Coaching
  • Selfhood, Self-Esteem and Strengths-Based Approaches
  • Solution-focused approaches
  • Affiliation, social skills Interventions & restorative approaches
  • Bereavement, loss and family separation
  • Creative therapeutic interventions 
  • Cognitive behavioural approaches and mindfulness
  • Procedures and school systems to increase ELSA effectiveness

Where: To be confirmed

Cost:    £600  - to include lunch 


What happens after training?

ELSAs will be able to:

  • Carry out regular (weekly) half-hour sessions with individual pupils or small groups.
  • Develop programmes of support that are matched to pupil needs.
  • Monitor interventions using appropriate tools for evaluating the impact of interventions for children with SEMH needs.
  • Share ideas with other staff about how to support pupils.


What's included?

ELSAs will receive:

  • 7 days initial training from the Educational Psychology Service, including an ELSA information pack provided.
  • 6 sessions of support and group supervision from an Educational Psychologist.
  • Opportunities to continue to develop their skills and experience.

ELSAs will need:

  • A supportive line manager to promote the role of the ELSA within the school. (A Senior Manager is required to attend the first morning of training with the participant ELSA).
  • To purchase a copy of the book Emotional Wellbeing: An Introductory Handbook written by Gillian Shotton and Shelia Burton.


Please note: On-going supervision will be expected in order to maintain the accreditation.  This will incur an additional cost of £200 per year per setting.  This cost includes 6x2 hour supervision sessions.


Who is this course for? Teaching assistants, primary school staff, secondary school staff, SEMH special school/alternative provision staff, independent school staff, social care professionals, family support workers, youth workers, learning mentors, college staff, Gloucestershire University staff


How will an ELSA benefit your school?

Children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed. There has been consistent feedback from schools across the UK that the introduction of ELSAs has made a significant positive impact on the emotional wellbeing of children and young people and their ability to manage better at school — socially, emotionally and academically.


Please visit https://www.elsanetwork.org/ for further information and research about ELSA.


“The course is just fantastic … I’ve had lots of training before on social skills and communication issues, but it’s obviously much more in depth and focused and I’ve really enjoyed it.” 

I’m always thinking about how I can build a relationship, what I can do with that child and how I can bond with

that child …"

Comments from two ELSAs who were part of the first cohort of Gloucestershire ELSA training.

Help us improve Gloucestershire County Council

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.