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
- licensing children in entertainment, modelling and sport
Parent and carer responsibilities
Your responsibility is to make sure that your child receives an effective education. You can do this by registering your child at a school and making sure they attend regularly.
You are allowed to make other arrangements for your child's education but these must be approved by the Local Education Authority.
- Education Welfare Service - information for parents and carers (PDF)
- Education Welfare Service - School Attendance - Guidance on Prosecutions (PDF)
- Penalty Notices (PDF)
What we will expect from you
We will expect you:
- To work with us to improve your child's attendance.
- To tell us what is concerning you, what you think is wrong and what you think might help to solve the problem
- To tell us if you are not happy with what is happening or if you do not understand it, so we can try to answer your questions or concerns.
How we work
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.
What can be expected of us
- listen and work in an open, honest and respectful way with parents
- work to support children's school attendance
- support parents if they wish to visit their child's school to sort out any difficulties
- include parents as much as possible in discussions and decisions about their child's education
- share information with schools and other professionals if we believe it is in the child's best interest, unless we are specifically asked by the parent not to do so. Child protection concerns will always be shared
- keep a written record of our contact with parents. What we write down will be factually correct and relevant. Parents have a right to see the records. Please be aware that, if we have to take legal action against you, what you say to us may be used in court proceedings.
When other professionals contact us about your child, we will assume that they have told you that they are doing so. If your child is absent from school through illness and we need to contact your doctor for an explanation, we will ask you to sign a consent form before we contact the doctor.
We are committed to providing equal support to families regardless of race, culture, religion, social background or disability. We send questionnaires to families so that we can find out how well we are doing and to make sure we offer a high standard of service.
If you have a complaint please discuss it with the Education Welfare Officer involved. If this does not resolve the difficulty write to:
Principal Education Welfare Officer
Bedford Borough Council
Bedford K42 9AP
Education Welfare Service contacts
Some Education Welfare Officers are based in school, whilst others are based at Borough Hall. Please contact your child's school for the telephone number of your Education Welfare Officer.
The Education Welfare Service works in partnership with schools, parents, pupils and other agencies to maximise the achievement of all children and young people by promoting regular attendance at school and taking court action with parents who fail in their statutory duty.
The Service also contributes to inter-agency safeguarding of children process to ensure that the Local Authority and schools fulfil their responsibilities and takes the lead on Children Missing Education.
It raises awareness of, and implements, regulations on children who are employed and children who are licensed to perform in the statutory role of ensuring the regular school attendance of their child.
Jane Ward, Senior Education Welfare Officer
Tel: 01234 276625 – ext 44625
Lydia Francis, Statutory Education Welfare Officer
Tel: 01234 276173 – ext 44173
David Blake, Statutory Education Welfare Officer
Tel: 01234 276043 – ext 44043
Debi Momi, Children Missing Education and Child Employment Officer (Tuesday to Friday mornings only)
Tel: 01234 228178 (am) – ext 42178
Free School Meal enquiries
Tel: 01234 228948 – ext 42948
Duty Number and General Enquiries
Tel: 01234 228304 – ext 42304