Education Welfare Service

Closes 5 Jan 2020

Opened 22 Nov 2019

Overview

The Education Welfare Service (EWS) has responsibility for:

  • Promoting good attendance by reducing absence, including persistent absence
  • Enforcement of school attendance via the Courts (S444 Education Act 1996)
  • Administration of the Penalty Notice system (S444A and 444B Education Act 1996 / LCC Penalty Notice for Unauthorised Absence Code of Conduct)
  • Children missing from education (section 436A of the Education Act 1996)
  • Child performance, child employment and chaperone licensing. (Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 / Children and Young Persons Acts 1933 and 1963).

Schools have a statutory duty under S175 Education Act 2002 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Ensuring that any attendance issues are promptly identified and appropriate action taken is key to this responsibility.

EWS provides local authority maintained schools with a named Education Welfare Officer (EWO) who provides attendance support. Each school has a number of EWO hours allocated to them in line with need. The majority of this time is currently spent undertaking non-statutory attendance casework at a pupil level and also providing advice and guidance. Only a proportion of the allocation is used for statutory work.

The local authority can no longer fund non statutory EWS provision as a result of reductions to local authority funding and the ending of the Education Services Grant (ESG). The ESG has been replaced by the Central School Services Block Grant (CSSB) and this is only intended to fund statutory work. As a result non-statutory EWS work will need to be charged for, if the council is to continue offering the service.

The cost is currently £48.50 per EWO hour. This charge covers the cost of EWS management and administration support.

The attendance related statutory work that cannot be charged for are those aspects of EWS work that only the local authority can carry out. This includes:

  • The administration of the Penalty Notice system and any subsequent court cases as a result of non-payment (mostly funded from Penalty Notice income)
  • Prosecuting cases of irregular attendance from the point at which a witness statement and exhibits of a suitable standard are received
  • Children missing from education enquiries from the point at which a school has done all they can (including home visits, checks with neighbours etc)
  • Following up on cases of home education
  • Undertaking the school Attendance Order process.

Why We Are Consulting

We are seeking views on the proposal to offer an EWS support service (for non-statutory work) to all schools on a traded basis.

The LA is no longer able to offer non-statutory EWS support as government funding is insufficient to enable us to deliver the current level of service. We have funding that will only enable us to offer the statutory duties but, we are offering schools the opportunity to maintain the non-statutory support through a traded services model.

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • All residents
  • Carers
  • Local schools
  • School governors
  • Parents
  • All staff

Interests

  • Schools