Cheshire West and Chester Psychology Service successfully trained its first two cohorts of ELSAs during 2014-15. The first cohort of 37 ELSAs has included ELSAs from primary, secondary and specialist provisions and all trained ELSAs have begun attending half-termly supervision groups, facilitated by Child and Educational Psychologists. Initial training has followed the model of five days training specified by the ELSA Trainer’s Manual. Feedback from ELSAs regarding initial training has been overwhelmingly positive, with ELSAs commenting on increases in their confidence, knowledge and skills set, in addition to feeling that their role within school had become better recognised. Feedback from Head Teachers and SENCos has similarly been positive and an evaluation report will shortly be compiled to evaluate the short-term impact of the programme for pupils, families and schools. In September 2015, the first cohort of ELSAs will receive their practising certificates after completing initial training and four supervision sessions.
We hope to train another two cohorts of ELSAs during 2015-16, with further ELSAs hopefully becoming trained in subsequent years. As a service, we are very much looking forward to continuing to provide initial training for new ELSAs and ongoing supervision/ training support for existing ELSAs.
Lisa Edwards, Child and Educational Psychologist, Cheshire West and Chester