Does ELSA intervention make a difference?



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. It has supported staff development, with ELSAs frequently commenting on the impact training has had on them, personally as well as professionally.

The following comment was made by Victoria Syed, an ELSA in Wandsworth, "I feel the ELSA training reinforced my belief in acknowledging children's feelings. It inspired me to offer the children opportunities to express their feelings and describe their emotions. It has been a positive learning experience in both my professional and personal life and has reminded me of what the essence of our daily life is."

Evaluation has been carried out in a variety of ways yielding both qualitative and quantitative evidence of its effectiveness. The findings from evaluation studies in various local authorities may be found on the local pages within the 'ELSA Around the UK' section of this website. Local newsletters include accounts of positive pupil outcomes arising from ELSA support. There is now an increasing amount of doctoral level research being undertaken to investigate outcomes of ELSA practice. (See Research section for some examples.)

Examples of some successful outcomes:

  • An ELSA worked with a Year 2 child whose parents had separated. The child found this difficult to comprehend. The child regularly spent time with both parents after school and during weekends. The child was angry and unsure about what his parents expected of him. The ELSA and pupil played therapeutic games and made a personal diary. In this way the child was able to communicate the feelings of loss, anger and confusion. After several weeks the child shared the diary with parents. They were surprised by the emotional awareness demonstrated. The child now regularly completes a feelings diary, opening up communication between them and the parents.

  • A secondary ELSA worked for over a year with an upper school pupil who was not attending regularly. The ELSA met with the pupil every two weeks in order to discuss the lack of self-esteem and other problems being faced. The pupil would also seek out the ELSA at other times when they were not coping. Over a period of time the pupil’s attendance increased dramatically. On the pupil’s last day of school they thanked the ELSA for the support and asked to keep in touch by email. This pupil achieved excellent GCSE results.