From September 2021, we appointed Mrs Nicola Willett as our Inclusion, Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead. As a school, we aim to create and promote an ethos for positive mental wellbeing and resilience amongst pupils and staff. Within her role, Mrs Willett will support the Headteacher and school in providing support for the emotional wellbeing and health needs of our staff, children and parents. She is also able to signpost parents and staff to relevant support and services where appropriate. Mrs Willett will also be responsible for coordinating the mental health needs of pupils and overseeing the delivery of interventions where these are being delivered in school.
In order for this role to be successful, it will:
Mrs Willett is available for informal chats with parents if you feel you need any support or advice surrounding the emotional needs of your child.
In school, we also have a ‘worry monster’ box located in the Thinking Area. Children are free to add their worries to the box and these are then followed up as appropriate by Mrs Willett. There is also a designated safe space, The Haven, which children are free to access if they need to.
If you wish to contact Mrs Willett, or would like to arrange an appointment to chat to her, please contact the school office on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01945 584915.
ELSA – Emotional Literacy Support Assistant
We are also fortunate to have three trained ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) TAs within school: Mrs Willett, Mrs Everett and Mr Allen. They have regular supervision from a trained educational psychologist to help them in their work. ELSAs help children and young people learn to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. They provide the time and space for pupils to think about their personal circumstances and how they manage them.
Children may be identified by class teachers, or parents, and bespoke programmes are put in place to support the specific needs of the children. The ELSA will then liaise directly with the class teachers to discuss progress and check on whether new skills are being transferred to the classroom.
Most ELSA programmes will last for 6 to 12 weeks, helping the pupil to learn some specific new skills or coping strategies. Clear programme aims (SMART targets) need to be set early on and each session has an objective - something the ELSA wants to help the pupil understand or achieve.
The ELSA isn’t there to ‘fix’ the child. For pupils with complex or long-term needs, it is unrealistic to expect ELSA support to resolve all their difficulties. Change is a long-term process that needs everyone’s help.
ELSA work should be fun – that is what makes the difference. It isn’t a reward for bad behaviour. By building a positive relationship with challenging children, the ELSA can help them think about and reduce their troublesome behaviour. It will take time, but will be worth it in the end.