Case Study 1
A is a current year 5 pupil. The family was referred to the allocated EWO in September 2018. Prior to SEWS involvement, there had been a long history of poor attendance and punctuality. A had not completed an academic year above 79% her entire school career. She was persistently late and absent. None of her absences were authorise by the school. The family were known to Children’s Social Care and A was subject to CIN plan. Despite their attempts, the parent refused to engage with school and professionals in relation to poor attendance. The attendance lead informed our EWO that A’s academic attainment was severely affected as a result of poor attendance. The parent had never faced statutory action from the previous EWO employed by the school.
SEWS EWO first wrote an introductory letter informing the parent of the referral and requested she make contact to discuss the attendance concern. The parent did not respond. The EWO then wrote a second letter asking inviting the parent to make contact, to arrange a convenient time to meet at the school to discuss the attendance and punctuality. The parent did not respond. In total the EWO wrote a total of 4 letters, 3 of which invited the parent to meet and carried out 5 home visits over a period of a term. The parent did not respond to any of the correspondence. Despite these interventions, Child A’s attendance remained a huge concern and was just 67%. Using her professional judgement, the EWO informed the school and the Social Worker that it was in the best interest of the child to refer the case to the local authority for statutory action. Both agreed. Since the court hearing where the parent attended and plead guilty under section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996, Child A had no further unauthorised absence. Child A ended the school year above 80%. The school reported a huge improvement in academic ability. The continued improvement in attendance and subsequent attainment will undoubtedly improve Child A’s prospects in the future.
Case Study 2
B was a Year 11 pupil whose attendance was just 52% when referred to our Education Welfare Officer, at the end of the first half term. B lived with his mother and 5 siblings in a two-bedroom flat. One of the bedrooms could not be occupied due to severe damp. Mum disclosed that they were experiencing financial severe difficulty as a result of her alcohol addiction and were at risk of being evicted due to rent arrears.
Our EWO first met B and his mother during an unannounced home visit. The EWO expressed understanding at B not wanting to attend school due to feeling down as result of his mum’s addiction and the family’s living conditions. It was apparent to the EWO that although attendance was extremely low, and absences were being unauthorised by the school, statutory action would not be conducive to either B or the family at this point. Immediately after the visit, the EWO spoke with the Designated Safeguarding Lead at the school and express concerns. The school had not been previously aware of mum’s addiction or the pupil and his families living conditions. A referral to Children’s Social Care was made. An initial case conference was held, attended by mum, EWO, school, and social worker were all in attendance. The children were placed on Child Protection Plan due emotional neglect. The EWO contributed to the plan and subsequently attended all Core Group meetings where professionals assessed and reviewed the interventions and the well-being of the pupil and the family. Over an agreed amount of time the EWO took the responsibility of calling the parent daily to ensure B was up on time and getting ready for school. This contribution to the plan was beneficial as B himself reported that the EWO’s daily call made him more motivated to attend school as someone else other than him mum cared about his school attendance and outcomes. B left his school at the end of Year 11 with grades far better than predicted at the end of Year 10. His Head of Year commended the contribution of the EWOs working by saying had it not been for the EWOs intervention B would not have achieved his full potential.
Case Study 3
C is a current Year 1 pupil. C’s mother refused to send him to school for the week preceding the EWOs involvement. The school explained that parent had a fall out with Headteacher who she claimed did not address her alleged bullying concerns.
Our EWO contacted the parent via the telephone and explained that although she empathised with the mother’s concerns, she could not keep C at home indefinitely and advised her of her legal responsibility. The EWO arranged and attended a meeting with the parent and Headteacher acting as intermediary between both parties. It was apparent that some of the communication between school and home had been misconstrued. After a lengthy meeting all issues were addressed and resolved. Since his return C has had excellent attendance.