Education Welfare Officer
Education welfare officers identify and deal with problems that prevent children from attending school or making the most of their education. They are employed by local education departments and social services departments.
Also known as
- Welfare Officer - School Attendance
- School Attendance Officer
- Social Worker - Education Welfare
- Truancy Officer
- School Welfare Officer
Video: - Kevin: Education Welfare Officer
As an Education Welfare Officer, you will identify and deal with problems that prevent children from attending school. You deal with a range of problems, including under-achievement, behavioural problems, exclusion from school and truancy.
There are many reasons why a child doesn't go to school. They may be the victim of bullying, or they could be having family problems. Perhaps the child cannot cope with schoolwork, because of a difficulty such as dyslexia.
You will attempt to make sense of what can be complicated reasons for pupils' problems at school. You will talk to Teachers and discuss the history and possible causes of problems, such as non-attendance or challenging behaviour.
You are often responsible for several schools within an area. As well as pupils and Teachers, you work with social services, Educational Psychologists, and School Health and Careers Services. You will also visit pupils' homes to talk with their parents.
Education Welfare Officers try to solve problems through encouragement and advice, rather than by taking an authoritarian approach. However, if there is no other option, you may have to use education supervision orders and parenting orders. If these orders are ignored, parents/carers are at risk of prosecution.
By working with Doctors and Educational Psychologists, you will find out whether a child has special needs. This could be due to a physical, learning, emotional or behavioural problem, for example.
If a child is absent for a long time through illness or exclusion, you will try to help to arrange alternative education.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become an Education Welfare Officer, you need:
- good communication and interpersonal skills
- patience, empathy and tact
- an investigative mind
- thorough knowledge of issues in education, such as bullying, special needs, disaffection and exclusion
Travel throughout the local area is usual, therefore a full driving licence can be a requirement of the job.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £20,000 - £22,500
- With experience: £23,500 - £25,500
- Senior Education Welfare Officers earn £27,000 - £29,000
Hours of work
Education Welfare Officers work around 40 hours from Monday to Friday. However, there may be early starts and late finishes. Part-time opportunities are also available.
Where could I work?
Opportunities for Education Welfare Officers occur throughout the UK.
Employers are local authority education departments or social services departments.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in national newspapers, on job boards, on employers' websites, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Find a Job website.
Entry Routes and Training
Many entrants are trained Social Workers. Entry to social work is from a three-year degree in social work. Some entrants have qualifications and experience in a related area such as teaching, youth work or counselling.
For most posts, you also need at least one year's experience of working with children and families or in a related field.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
An Advanced Level Apprenticeship is also a great place to start. Take a look at our information article
Education Welfare Officers usually undergo further training as part of their professional development. This could include completing the degree in social work, if not already held.
Previous experience within the social care industry will be helpful to get into this career. Experience in working in education in a similar position will also be useful.
With experience, Education Welfare Officers may progress to supervisory and management positions. Some move into related areas, such as social work, youth work or the probation service.
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
This career is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to. This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.
For entry to a degree in social work, the usual minimum requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects, but maths and English are often required
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship. Take a look at our information article
Other qualifications, such as a BTEC level 3 qualification or the International Baccalaureate Diploma could also be considered. However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree course, a college or university Access course could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.
Oxford Brookes University offers, by distance learning, a postgraduate certificate, diploma and MSc in Children, Young People and Family Wellbeing.
Funding is normally available from social services departments for existing staff to take further training or research. Bursaries, administered by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), may be available for full-time and part-time students who are not funded by their employer.
- 32% of those in occupations such as education welfare officer work part-time.
- 32% have flexible hours.
- 8% of employees work on a temporary basis.
Professional institutions have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
For more information on the institution(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts section.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Local government vacancies
myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies
Skills for Care & Development (SfC&D)
Skills for social work, social care and children's services
Address: 2nd floor, Westgate, 6 Grace Street, Leeds LS1 2RP
Tel: 0113 2411240
Aquestion Of Care
This site is a 'Skills for Care and Development' initiative
NHS Business Services Authority
Local Government Chronicle (LGC)
British Association of Social Workers (BASW)
Address: 16 Kent Street, Birmingham B5 6RD
Tel: 0121 6223911
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844
Local Government Careers in Wales
Welsh Local Government Association