Thythorn Field Community Primary School

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Pastoral Support

Family support and attendance support

Mrs Muddimer works closely with our families and children to support where needed and to improve well-being and attendance.


ELSA - Emotional Literacy Support Assistants

Two of our Support Staff have trained with Leicestershire Psychology Services to become ELSA trained: 

Mrs Podgers and Mrs Muddimer.

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 very lucky to have three qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistants at Thythorn Field Primary. They have been 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 on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in the areas of social and friendship skills. Sessions are fun, we use a range of activities such as: games, role-play with puppets or arts and craft.  ELSA sessions take place in our very own 'ELSA room' which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.


In ELSA we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:

Recognising emotions
Social skills
Friendship skills

Anger management
Loss and bereavement



How does ELSA work?

Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher, Senior Leaders or on occasion the SENDCo. We meet to discuss the referral forms and 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. Training and development of ELSAs is an ongoing process and wisdom is required to recognise when issues are beyond the level of expertise that could reasonably be expected of an ELSA. The Educational Psychologist that works with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.


Drawing and Talking Therapy

Drawing and Talking is a gentle, non-intrusive method of working with children who need a little more help and support to deal with their emotional and learning needs. A trained adult (Mrs Hall) from the school staff will work with your child for one 30 minute session every week for twelve weeks.


Drawing enables a child to express, in a visual form, worries and pre-occupations from deep in the mind that they would not be able to (cannot find the words to be able to) talk about. Drawing enables a symbolic and SAFE expression of worries and feelings that may seem to be difficult for a child to express purely verbally.


Expressing emotions in the form of drawings activates a powerful healing mechanism in the psyche, possibly through interaction between the “right” and “left” brain. Through the combination of drawing and talking combined the different sides of the brain can interact with each other to “solve” or process the emotions.


Over time with, with an empathetic adult giving the child the attention and talking to them in a gentle, thoughtful and supportive way, the child can create a story through pictures that ‘sorts things out’ in a symbolic resolution (i.e. You can’t change what has happened, but you can change how you feel about it) This heals old hurts, and helps with the understanding and resolution of negative emotions.


This process gives the child a feeling of control over their events and emotions; through drawing they can make a different end to their story.


When a child has been overwhelmed by an event or their feelings and feels totally powerless, it’s important for them to get back a sense of power in their lives.


This therapy is offered to children whom the SENDCO and Class Teacher feel would benefit, based on their view of the child’s needs.

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