Renishaw Primary School

Nurture, ELSA,Health and Welfare


What is a nurture in schools?
Nurture groups offer a short term, focused intervention which addresses barriers to learning arising from social, emotional or behavioural difficulties, in an inclusive, supportive manner. Children and young people continue to remain part of their own class group.
What are the 6 pillars of nurture?
The 6 principles of nurture are: children's learning is understood developmentally; the classroom offers a safe base; nurture is important in the development of wellbeing; language is understood as a vital means of communication; all behaviour is communication; and transitions are significant in the lives of children.

Who runs our Nurture sessions?

Miss Ford runs our Nurture sessions on a Thursday afternoon for children right across school.

6 Principles of Nurture. (1)

ELSA Support - Emotional Literacy Support Assistant

At Renishaw Primary School, we have a fully trained ELSA, Miss Ford whose role is invaluable in offering much needed emotional support to pupils where needed. 

Miss Ford has worked with a number of pupils and their families, to offer support through the difficult and challenging periods, that some children and their families may experience.  

What is ELSA?

ELSA stands for Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. ELSA support in schools is a project designed to help schools support the emotional needs of their pupils.

ELSA acknowledges that children and young people learn best when they feel happier and their emotional needs are being addressed.

The initiative was developed and supported by educational psychologists who used knowledge of how children develop socially and emotionally and apply this knowledge to the needs of pupils.

The role title of ELSA may only be taken by someone who:

  • Has attended a full ELSA training course.
  • Regularly attends supervision groups led by educational psychologists.
  • Currently, are developing bespoke programmes to support the emotional needs of children in their school.

ELSAs are trained to plan and deliver programmes of support to pupils in their school who may be experiencing temporary or long term additional emotional needs.

A lot of work that ELSAs do will be on an individual basis with one child, however, there are cases where group sessions may be appropriate such as when working on social skills and friendship skills.

ELSAs will receive support and supervision from educational psychologists, but will still report to the Headteacher/SENDco within their school. Their school will also help with the identification and prioritisation of children who would benefit from the support of an ELSA. 

In these cases, when a child is identified it is also a good idea to make a note of the kind of emotional support that they would benefit from and what areas an ELSA can work on them with. These priorities can then set the aims of the programme which can also act as individual aims for children.

Working on things that are personal to a child is likely to make the impact of the programme more successful.

What can ELSAs help with?

There are a lot of emotional skills that ELSA can help with, including:

  • Social Skills
  • Bereavement
  • Social Situations
  • Therapeutic Stories
  • Anger Management
  • Self-esteem
  • Real-life problem-solving skills
  • Friendship

How long should an ELSA Programme last?

There are very few cases where ELSA should become a permanent feature of a child’s support system, as the programme works best when there are aims for children to work towards and achieve. When planning a child’s individual ELSA programme, it is a good idea to plan a term’s worth of work.

Further intervention towards new aims can be put in place at a later date if it becomes required.

Sessions will typically happen once a week across the length of a term and last between half an hour and an hour. During a session, an ELSA should:

  • Check how the child is and how they have been feeling for the past week.
  • Review the content that was covered in the last session and see if any of the information needs to be revisited.
  • To introduce new content through engaging games and activities.
  • End the session in a way that helps the child to adjust to going back to class.

If the weekly sessions can be scheduled at a regular time it can help children to prepare and the routine can also be beneficial for their emotional needs.

Some children may benefit from shorter sessions depending on how long they can stay engaged. Adults working with a child will get to know the ideal session length for them.

Some children may not respond well to support stopping all at once, so a graduated end to a programme is often a good idea, and a school ELSA can remind children that it is okay to come and talk to them when they need it

ELSAs are emotional literacy support assistants. They are teaching assistants who have had special training from educational psychologists to support the emotional development of children and young people in school. ELSAs have regular professional supervision from educational psychologists to help them in their work.

ELSA Session Planning - Elsa Support