St. Joseph's Catholic Primary Academy

Healds Road, Dewsbury, WF13 4HY01924 462053

Parent Information  »  Pupil Support

Sometimes a child, parent or staff member may need additional support for a number of different reasons.
Our dedicated Pupil Support Team are here to provide that support when it is most needed.


Mrs Bowler, our Learning Mentor, is our trained Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) 

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.  

The majority of ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in areas of social and friendship skills.  Sessions are fun, we use a range of activities such as games, outdoor activities and social stories or therapeutic activities such as mindfulness or arts and crafts. 

ELSA sessions take place with Mrs Bowler in our room known as 'The Den', 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:-
  • Reconising Emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Self-esteem
  • Social Skills
  • Friendship Skills
  • Anger Management
  • Loss & Bereavement
How does ELSA Work ?
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their Class Teacher, Senior Leaders or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENco).  Every half term our ELSA (Mrs Bowler) meets with the SENco (Mrs Proctor), 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, ELSA's are not there to fix a child's problems.  What they do is to provide emotional support.  An ELSA will 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 of their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child's need.  

Training and development of ELSA's 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.  In these cases, school supports parents with referrals to other outside agencies.  The Educational Psychologist, that works with our school's Mental Health Support Team, has regular supervision sessions with our ELSA and is able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.  

If you would like to discuss the role of our ELSA further then please contact Mrs Bowler on 01924 462053 or email her on


Steps4Ward Programme for Schools

We are so lucky to benefit from nurture and support available to us through the Steps4Ward Programme for Schools.  This is delivered to us Kim Holden (HCPC) who is one of the specialist team from Collins-Donnelly Consultancy.   They provide therapeutic services, training courses, occupational consultancy services, critical incident stress management services and research consultancy services.

The Steps4Ward Vision

…is to create steps forward in the quality of emotional wellbeing, mental health and continuous professional development provision for schools and to empower steps forward in wellbeing, aspiration, resilience and development across the whole school community through supportive, therapeutic and educational services for senior leaders, staff, pupils and pupils’ families.

More information about the programme can be found at:-

Kim Holden

I am a qualified Social Worker who is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and who have a wealth of experience with children, young people and their families/carers. In my work as a CBT Therapist at Collins-Donnelly Consultancy, I specialise in providing CBT and family therapy for children, young people and their families in areas such as anxiety, depression, OCD, panic, stress, PTSD, self-esteem, anger, health-related issues, pain management, substance misuse, attachment issues, domestic abuse, bullying, bereavement, relationship issues, child abuse, self-harming, behavioural issues, ADHD and ASD. My client base includes those who self-refer and children, young people and families who are referred by schools within South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. I am guided in my practice by the HCPC Codes of Conduct and Ethics.

As part of Collins-Donnelly Consultancy, I am also involved in the facilitation of a wide range of training courses that relate to my experience, knowledge and specialist areas. This includes providing training for a variety of practitioners and professionals working with children, young people and their families, particularly those working in the education, youth work, social work and youth offending sectors. I particularly specialise in providing training and advice for education professionals on behavioural management. I also provide training for children and young people on a variety of emotional wellbeing and life skills issues, including anger management, stress management, self-esteem, confidence and assertiveness building, as well as training parents on how to address behavioural difficulties within the home.

I bring a wealth of experience from my social work background to my work at Collins-Donnelly Consultancy. My Social Work career has primarily involved working with: 

  • young people exhibiting challenging behaviours and offending behaviours
  • young people who present with a variety of emotional and mental health issues, including anger issues, anxiety, depression, conduct disorders, personality disorders, drug and alcohol misuse, self-harm, suicidal ideations and developmental disorders.
  • young people with ADHD and ASD
  • looked after young people or care leavers.
  • young people who present a high risk of harm to either themselves or others.


I am experienced in assessing the appropriateness of varying interventions, designing intervention programmes, developing care plans, delivering evidence-based support programmes and therapeutic activities for individuals and groups, case management of young people with complex needs, child protection issues and multi-agency working.

Starving the Gremlin Books by Award Winning Author - Kate Collins-Donnelly
Full information on each of the following amazing books available via this link:-

Starving the Anxiety Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anxiety Management for Children Aged 5-9
2014, ISBN: 978-1-84905-492-8, RRP £12.99
Starving the Anger Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anger Management for Children Aged 5-9
2014, ISBN: 978-1-84905-493-5, RRP £12.99
Starving the Anxiety Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anxiety Management for Young People 
2013, ISBN: 978-1-84905-341-9, RRP £12.99
Starving the Depression Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Managing Depression for Young People 
2019, ISBN: 978-1-84905-693-9 , RRP £14.99
Starving the Anger Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anger Management for Young People 
2012, ISBN: 978-1-84905-286-3, RRP £12.99
Starving the Exam Stress Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Managing Exam Stress for Young People 
2017, ISBN: 978-1-84905-698-4, RRP £12.99
Starving the Stress Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Stress Management for Young People 
2013, ISBN: 978-1-84905-340-2, RRP £12.99
Banish Your Self-Esteem Thief: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Building Positive Self-Esteem for Young People
2014, ISBN: 978-1-84905-462-1, RRP £14.99
Banish Your Body Image Thief: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Building Positive Body Image for Young People
2014, ISBN: 978-1-84905-463-8, RRP £14.99

'The Starving the Gremlin series has been truly transformational – both for our young people and the adults who work with them. Kate has a way of making the most complex concepts of cognitive behaviour therapy understandable to all through a mix of written explanation, examples and creative illustration.' Rob Barraclough (former Headteacher, St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Dewsbury, 2015-2020)

If you would like any help in ordering any of the above books please speak to Miss Parr School Business Manager