Education services to schools
The School Standards team are a highly experienced group of specialist education professionals dedicated to improving outcomes for children and young people.
We provide an extensive range of bespoke services and training to all maintained, academies, free and independent schools.
If you would like to talk to someone about the services and training we provide please contact the School Standards Service on 0118 937 4988.
We are also involved in a number of key projects with schools to improve standards for schools and outcomes for pupils in Reading.
Education Welfare Services
Revised offer to schools during COVID-19
(Schools can download the full statement below here)
Since the outbreak of the Covid 19, schools across Reading have risen to the challenge to provide sufficient places for children of key workers and vulnerable children. This has included schools remaining open during the Easter school holidays. Strong partnership liaison with Brighter Futures for Children has ensured we know who is attending school daily.
Brighter Futures for Children has risk assessed and RAG (Red/Amber/Green) rated all children and young people known to our services. This includes those with an ECHP, an allocated Early Help worker or social worker. Systems are in place to closely monitor and respond to any emerging concerns.
Ordinarily, Education Welfare Officers (EWO) work closely with those schools that ‘buy back’ where attendance is a concern. The team progress Fixed Penalty notices to parents when interventions do not improve attendance. Given national expectations around attendance are unlikely to apply during the summer term, discussions with the Director of Education have informed the proposed revised role for the Education Welfare Officers during this period.
This statement is intended to redefine the support offer to schools and provide a framework for Education Welfare work with children, young people and parents/carers. The guidance is intended to align with the phased approach developed with Reading schools. This guidance will be reviewed and updated in response to developments and Department for Education guidance.
This support would be available for all schools regardless of whether they currently buy back the Education Welfare Service.
1. Vulnerable Children
The Department for Education (DFE) provides guidance as below:
Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker, and those children and young people up to the age of 25 with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
Those who have a social worker include children who have a child protection plan, and those who are looked after by the local authority. A child may also be deemed to be vulnerable if they have been assessed as being in need, or otherwise meet the definition in section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
We know that schools may also want to support other children who are vulnerable where they are able to do so.
There are monitoring systems which identify which vulnerable children are attending school. Schools have made us aware that some families are not responding to attempts to contact them.
This statement outlines an EWO response which delivers additional welfare support for those children who fall outside the DFE definition of vulnerable, where non-attendance and lack of professional contact is cause for concern.
2. Identifying potentially vulnerable children for EWO support
2.1 Existing Attendance Concerns
There are children already open to the EWO team. This includes children known to Children’s Social Care, Early Help & SEND team. For existing cases open to the EWO team, the team will:
- Complete cross referencing to ensure families are not being contacted by more than one professional.
- For children not already known to BFfC, the team will liaise with the school to determine current levels of concern.
- Where concerns remain, EWO staff will contact families to complete a welfare check and assess any risk.
- Provide an update to schools regarding the outcome of these checks.
2.2 New and Emerging Concerns identified by schools
Schools can provide the Education Welfare Service with a list of children they are concerned about via an email to Shirley Moneanu (EWS Lead) at email@example.com.
This list should include:
- The full name, DOB for each child/ren, address and up to date telephone number and emergency contact other than the parent.
- A summary of the school’s concerns including when the child/ren were last seen in school
- Summary of attempts made to contact the family
Schools have been provided with the threshold document, to clarify that any immediate safeguarding concerns should be sent to the Children’s Single Point of Access without delay.
To prevent duplicated activity, BFfC will send an up-dated list of children to the designated point of contact within a school on a weekly basis from 4 May 2020. This will include the name of the allocated worker for ALL children currently with an allocated worker in BFFC.
3. Procedures for following up on new and emerging concerns
3.1 Process for establishing contact
An allocated EWO will:
- Check whether family is open to other BFfC services and/or have an EHCP and if open, will liaise as appropriate.
If family is not open to other services, the EWO will:
- Contact the family by phone and text advising that they are completing a welfare check. Families will be asked to make contact within 24 hours.
If no response is received:
- the EWO will repeat efforts to contact and advise that a lack of response (within a further 24 hours) may constitute a safeguarding concern and referral to children’s social care and/ or the police;
- if no response, the ‘emergency contact’ will also be contacted;
- if still no response: the EWO will complete a ‘door step’ welfare check. Observing social distancing the EWO will explain that the school and they have been trying to contact them and that this is a welfare check and ask to see the children.
- if there is no response to the door step visit the EWO will leave a message to explain that numerous attempts at contact have been made and a contact may be made into children’s social care.
- a consultation with the Children’s Single Point of Access (CSPoA) will take place and referral made if appropriate.
If contact is made with the family, the EWO will:
- complete the Early Help C19 Assessing Risk document, establish whether the the family has any further support needs and respond appropriately;
- reiterate the importance of returning calls/texts from the school to avoid concerns being raised with the EWO service;
- in appropriate circumstances, encourage the family to send their child to school.
Staff will follow their normal recording processes and, if there is a MOSAIC record will ask the Team Manager to add a case note on the child/ren’s record.
The EWO will contact school to report back on outcomes of contacts for individual schools. If a door step visit has been initiated the completed contact sheet will be sent to school via secure email by Business Support.
When contact is made with the family and the school have been informed – the school will take on the responsibility of continuing to make regular contact with the family. Any future concerns should be raised with the EWO team.