Education Welfare Service

What our service does

The Education Welfare Service supports parents and schools in ensuring all children have acceptable levels of school attendance in Bedford Borough. The Education Welfare Service has a legal responsibility to monitor school attendance and consider court action against parents whose children do not attend school regularly. We also have responsibilities to do with protecting children from abuse and danger, protecting children in employment and icensing children in entertainment, modelling and sport.

Location of our service

The Education Welfare Service covers the whole of Bedford Borough and works with all of the schools in the Borough. There are designated Education Welfare Officers (EWO) who cover specific schools in their region. Each school will work closely with their designated EWO. If you are unsure of who is the designated Education Welfare Officer for your child's school you can ask the school themselves, or if you contact the Education Welfare Duty phone the duty EWO will take your query and if needed you can be directed to the particular EWO for your child's school.

Who our service provides for

The Education Welfare Service supports families of children of statutory school age; 5 years to 16 years old. We also monitor attendance of children in Early Years (4 years +). Our duty is to ensure that all children are receiving a suitable, full time level of education and we support families and schools to reduce any barriers to learning. We are committed to providing equal support to families regardless of race, culture, religion, social background or disability.

How to start using our service

You can refer yourself and your child to us if you are having difficulty in making sure your child attends school regularly. Schools refer children and their families to us when they are concerned about their attendance.

Other agencies such as health, social services and the police can also refer families to us.

Education Welfare Officers check school attendance registers regularly. They will usually discuss your child's circumstances with the Headteacher or a Senior Teacher if your child's attendance is not satisfactory, and they may then ask for a meeting with you to see if they can offer any support to help improve your child's current level of attendance.

How decisions are made about who can use our service

The Education Welfare Service works with those families whose children have unacceptable levels of attendance. If an Education Welfare Officer contacts a family they will talk through the reasons behind why the attendance is deemed unacceptable, discuss the reasons behind the absences and create a clear plan, involving the family and any other relevant agencies to support in improving a child's current level of attendance.

How we communicate with our service users

The Education Welfare Service (EWS) works closely with its service users and makes contact via letters, telephone calls, home visits and meetings. The EWS has leaflets which it send out to service users to further explain the reasons behind decisions being taken and what service users can expect from our service. If there are any communication difficulties identified then we endeavour to try and use registered translators in meetings with these service users. During case work the EWS will meet regularly with the service user to review the progress being made and update any action plans created.

Accessibility of our service

Our service will usually meet service users either at their child's school or at the family home. If applicable meetings can be adjusted to meet the needs of the service user; if there are additional needs or accessibility issues identified then the EWS will adjust it's meetings to meet the needs of the service user. This could be by moving meetings to the family home or using Borough Hall for meetings as it is easily wheelchair accesible. If you have any concerns about your ability to attend meetings with an EWO please contact them prior to the meeting so that they can make any adjustments accordingly. This also applies to the timings of meetings, if possible the EWS will try to ensure the times of meetings are suitable to all service users.

Qualifications and training of our staff

All Education Welfare Officers have completed the 2 day Safeguarding Children LSCB Training and have completed equality and diversity training. As part of our continuing professional development all EWO are expected to complete all relevant training linked to working with families and young people; this includes training on working with resistant families, understanding child and adolescent mental health, working with parents with mental health issues, working with families with substance misuse and understanding and identifying the specific risk of child exploitation. Whilst this list is not exhaustive it gives a good idea of the range of training you can expect all EWO's to have undertaken.

General Contact Information

If you have any concerns regarding your child's school attendance your first point of contact should be to discuss this matter with the school. If you feel you need to discuss this with a member of the Education Welfare Service you can either ask your child's school for the contact details of their designated Education Welfare Officer or contact the EWS Duty Phone on 01234 228304.

Contact for more information

Jane Ward
Senior Education Welfare Officer
Rm 516 - 5th Floor, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK42 9AP
01234 228304
01234 276014
Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Duty answermachine is always on and checked daily by the designated duty officer, we try to ensure all telehone call are returned within 24 hours.