The Education & Employment Directorate are pleased to announce the success of seven staff members within the Directorate. Teaching Assistants Tina Brady, Sharon Peters, Candice Thomas, and Hannah Herne, Anne Clarke and Lacosta McDaniel from the Inclusion Service, and PSHCE Coordinator for Prince Andrew School, Laufia McDaniel, have recently completed the Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) course.
The 14-week course, run by Educational Psychologist, Dr Claire Cox, is a UK national programme of staff training delivered by Educational Psychologists to support children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.
The ELSA project intends to build the capacity of schools to support the emotional needs of their pupils from within their own resources. It is based on the view that all children are different and they should be nurtured according to their needs. There will always be children and young people facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with school. The ELSA project recognises that children learn better when their emotional needs are also addressed.
Dr Cox said:
“All around the world we are coming to realise that wellbeing, happiness, and the ability to cope with life’s highs and lows, are absolutely essential for positive life outcomes. This is reflected in the UK’s recent green paper ‘transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ which has highlighted the important role of schools in supporting children to develop and grow into healthy, successful young people. The launch of ELSA training here on St Helena demonstrates a progressive move from the schools towards providing good quality, targeted, early help, to children facing common issues which affect their everyday wellbeing. These issues, if left unsupported, can develop into more serious problems throughout life. If supported early on, however, these difficulties can be an opportunity for our children and young people to grow and learn how to cope in the face of difficult situations in life. All of the ELSA’s have committed fully to this course, they have challenged themselves personally and professionally, and I believe they will make a great difference in the lives of children and young people here on St Helena.”
ELSA’s are trained to plan and deliver programmes of support for pupils in their school or setting. The course covered a range of topics, from Emotional Literacy to Self-Esteem, to Setting up Effective Interventions, all the way through to Supporting Children who experience Trauma, Loss & Bereavement. A session was also delivered by Therapeutic Art Practitioner, Tamara Coleman-Thomas on Therapeutic Interventions.
Inclusion Manager, Lolly Young, said:
“According to the Children’s Society (2008), one in ten children aged 5-16 years have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
“It is encouraging that the Education Directorate has taken the step towards supporting our children’s mental health needs alongside those of their academic learning. Dr Cox is thanked for her positive work with our staff and for her gift of learning that should inspire in our children, strong, healthy, young minds, allowing them to meet their true potential in life.”
ELSA support will be available soon across the three Primary schools as well as at Prince Andrew School. The Inclusion Service will be working with schools to ensure that children and their parents understand the roles of these staff members and how the service can be accessed.
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14 December 2018