Who we are

The Suffolk School Attendance Service is comprised of a knowledgeable and well-trained team providing support to schools and academies, addressing attendance issues strategically and through individual casework. It supports pupils to attend regularly and achieve their full potential. By promoting good attendance, the service makes an important contribution to school improvement, the raising of pupil achievement and social inclusion, which in turn helps to increase young peoples’ chances of a successful transition into adulthood.

All Suffolk schools have access to an allocated Education Welfare Officer (EWO) who are available to offer advice and guidance on all areas of school attendance. They will conduct termly support visits and follow statutory interventions where required.

The name and contact details of your allocated EWO can be found here:

Statutory work with schools

  • Advising on the development of whole-school attendance policies which are understood by pupils, staff and parents/carers and are applied consistently throughout the school, looking to achieve at least 90% attendance for each individual child and 95% and above attendance overall for the whole school.
  • Promoting and monitoring accurate register-keeping and helping schools distinguish between authorised and unauthorised absence.
  • Encouraging schools to establish a first day response to pupil absence as a proactive means of ensuring that pupils and parents/carers know that all questionable or unexplained absences are challenged.
  • Helping schools identify, for early intervention, pupils whose attendance patterns indicate they are at risk of becoming entrenched non-attenders. The use of EWO template letters, can be used to assist this process.
  • Delivering in-service training to school staff.
  • Together with the school we will monitor any children that are either persistently absent or severely absent with a view to create a joint plan for improving this attendance.
  • Providing reports and updates on the joint action plans for the school in which they are working and to the Local Authority to measure effectiveness and progress against targets and outcomes delivered.
  • In exceptional circumstances, where a safeguarding concern cannot be resolved in school, The Education Welfare Officers may be requested to undertake a wellbeing home visit with a member of school staff.
  • Where a school requires Suffolk County Council Education Welfare Officers to conduct a face-to-face meeting with a parent/carer this will require a case package to be purchased.

Support for Safeguarding (Child Protection)

Education Welfare Officers receive training in Child Protection and must be familiar with Suffolk’s Safeguarding Children Board’s procedures. They will endeavour to ensure that schools understand and work to the Procedures and give appropriate advice on safeguarding matters. Education Welfare Officers attend, if appropriate, Child Protection Conferences in respect of children with whose families they are working and make active contributions at and provide written reports for those conferences.

Legal Proceedings and Court Work

All staff in the School Attendance Service work within a statutory framework that involves the enforcement of school attendance and compliance with the law on child employment. Education Welfare Officers will advise and support schools, in all aspects of the legal process. Such proceedings may be in a Magistrates’ Court under the Education Act 1996, or in the Family Proceedings Court under the Children Act 1989. The latter involves applying for an Education Supervision Order in appropriate cases, and the appointment of the most suitable professional as a supervising officer.

Traded Offer

In addition to our statutory offer schools and academies can purchase a higher level of support. EWOs can take referrals for young people whose absences from school are unauthorised and where schools have been unable to resolve the barriers.

Service Benefits

The causes of poor school attendance are varied and are often a characteristic of wider safeguarding concerns. Our EWO’s are well placed and equipped to assist you in addressing these concerns.

  • Suffolk’s Education Welfare Officers have excellent training and support. The service is well established and available 52 weeks of the year.
  • Responsive to local needs and to data trends of absence held over previous years.
  • Ease of access to liaise with Suffolk County Council services.
  • Established links to liaise with outside agencies such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), police, GPs, school health and Suffolk’s children and families’ services.
  • Our Education Welfare Officers are regularly assessed on the required competencies to ensure practice is of a high standard, effective and consistent. The management structure carries out quality assurance of the work of the service, including auditing of case files and observations of practice.
  • A proven track record of improving school attendance with research driven interventions that represent excellent value for money.

If you require a more bespoke support offer, please contact [email protected] (FAO Angela Coote) to discuss your individual School/Trust requirements.