Education welfare officers, sometimes known as education social workers, work with schools, pupils and families to resolve issues of poor school attendance.
As an education welfare officer your work would include:
- identifying attendance problems and possible solutions
- advising parents about their legal responsibility to make sure their children receive an education up to the age of 16
- taking action through the magistrateâ€™s court if necessary
- helping families to receive benefits such as financial help with school meals, transport and clothing
- making referrals to other agencies, such as social services, educational psychologists or the Connexions service
- making home visits or meeting pupils and parents in school to provide ongoing support
- encouraging parents to make good relationships with the school
- helping to arrange alternative education for pupils who are excluded from school
- administrative tasks such as writing up case notes, sending letters to parents and preparing court reports.
You would also beÂ involved in regulating child employment, advising on child protection issues, and preparing reports on pupils with special educational needs as part of theÂ assessment process.
What qualifications and experience will employers look for?
Employers will often expect you to have (or be working towards) a qualification in social work. Visit the Department of Health Social Work Careers website and the Social Worker profile for details of social work qualifications. Other relevant qualifications and experience include teaching and youth and community work.
- Department of Health Social Work Careers
You may be accepted without a professional qualification if you have a lot of experience of working with children or young people and their families, and at least A levels or equivalent qualifications, or sometimes a degree. Entry at assistant level is common.
You could build up your experience by volunteering, for example in youth work, mentoring or through Community Service Volunteers.
- Community Service Volunteers
As you would be working with children, you would need Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance.
- Criminal Records Bureau
You would need a driving licence and use of a car as your work would involve visiting schools and pupils’ homes.
See the education welfare workers page of the Children’s Workforce Development Council website for further career and training information.
- Children’s Workforce Development Council â€“ education welfare workers
What further training and development can I do?
When you start work as an education welfare officer, you would receive induction training from your employer.
You would be supervised by a senior colleague, and would also have the opportunity for ongoing training and professional development.
If you are not already qualified, you would probably be encouraged to complete a relevant qualification such as a degree in social work.