Education Welfare Officer job Description

How to become an Education Welfare Officer

Education Welfare Officer

What does a Education Welfare Officer do?

Education welfare officers (EWOs), also known as education social workers, deal with young people who have problems with irregular attendance or absence from school. They investigate the reasons behind the absence, which may include problems relating to health, family, bullying or working illegally. EWOs work with social services to support children involved in child protection procedures. In some cases they may have to prosecute parents whose children persistently stay away from school.

An educational welfare officer is usually the named contact for a number of specified schools.

The job involves:

  • helping to arrange alternative education for pupils excluded from school or those unable to attend due to illness
  • helping families receive all the benefits and help they are entitled to, such as free school meals, clothing and help with transport to school
  • improving the links between the school and home - this may involve working closely with parents, teachers, educational psychologists and social services departments, the probation service and the Connexions service
  • helping to make decisions for children with special education needs
In England, the Connexions service is available, which involves a number of different agencies working together, including education welfare officers, the careers service and youth service. All young people have a personal adviser, who will give them guidance and support on a range of social issues and difficulties. See Personal Advisor (Connexions) profile.

What's the working environment like working as a Education Welfare Officer?

The hours are mainly 9am to 5pm, although there may be work in the evenings visiting parents who may be out during the day, or attending parents' evenings.

Education welfare officers usually have an office base in local authority premises or a school, but they spend most of the time liaising other professionals, or visiting young people and their parents in their own homes. A driving licence is often essential.

What does it take to become a Education Welfare Officer?

As an education welfare officer you should:
  • be able to establish a rapport with young people
  • be sensitive, sympathetic and tactful
  • be able to keep up to date with new legislation and good practice
  • have good problem-solving skills
  • be patient, mature and determined
  • have good questioning and listening skills
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