Education welfare service

The Stoke-on-Trent Education Welfare Service is a local team who have a vast knowledge of services and solutions. We have a wealth of experience in a wide range of strategies to improve school attendance. Our aim is to ensure all children and young people in Stoke on Trent are encouraged to attend school regularly, so they receive an appropriate education to prepare them to participate fully in their own futures.

There is a recognised link between attendance at school and attainment and we strive to ensure every child achieves to the best of their ability.

We ensure where necessary and appropriate that statutory enforcement is carried out in line with Stoke on Trent City Council’s legal obligation to ensure regular school attendance.

We work in partnership with our colleagues within the Local Authority and Schools to support families to ensure improved and sustained school attendance, ensuring that legal enforcement is a last resort.

In addition to the statutory duties we provide to schools in the City, we offer bespoke packages to meet the needs of schools who wish to trade with our service.

Contact us by phone on 01782 01782 235355 or via email on

What is the role of the Education Welfare Service?

Education provides young people with the opportunity to prepare for life.

The Education Welfare Service (EWS) is a specialist education support service which seeks to help young people and their families get the best out of the education system. We work in partnership with the young people, their families, the schools, other education services as well as statutory and voluntary agencies.

What is the law?

The law requires all children between the ages of 5 and 16 to be in full-time education.

Young people are educated because the law says there is an entitlement to education for 12 years (7 primary, 5 secondary). In fact, most children go to school and enjoy the opportunities school has to offer.

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that: "The definition of a parent means all natural parents, whether they are married or not; and includes any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility and/or care for a child or young person." Under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 it is the duty of the parent/carer of a child of compulsory school age to ensure that they attend school regularly.

However, some young people have attendance or other problems that they need help to overcome. It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure that their children go to school.  EWS following assessment can apply for an Education Supervision Order or Parental Prosecution for parents/carers whose children are not attending school on a regular basis. 

Please see the leaflets in the Related Documents section of this page.

Why attendance at school and punctuality are important

Attending school every day is crucial for learning, social skills and personal responsibility.

  • 98% attendance means that your child has missed 4 days in the school year
  • 95% attendance means that your child has missed 10 days in the school year
  • 90% attendance means that your child has missed 19 days in the school year
  • 80% attendance means that your child has missed 38 days in the school year
  • 5 minutes late each day means three whole days lost each year
  • 17 days missed from school each year equates to a whole GCSE grade
  • Attendance affects learning, future earning, well-being and a sense of belonging.
What happens when school attendance is poor

The School will refer a young person to the Education Welfare Service if their attendance is causing concern. The Education Welfare Officer (EWO) will contact the parent/carer and support them in trying to improve. All EWOs work in partnership with Parents/Carers and other support agencies to ensure young people attend school and attain.

What does an EWO do?

An Education Welfare Officer: 

  • will meet with the school to respond to written referrals
  • make an assessment of the situation and establish a support plan with the young person, parent and school
  • can act on a parent’s request to talk to the young person’s school or other agencies on their behalf.
  • can make referrals to other support services e.g. Medical officer or Educational Psychologist.
  • can tell families about other specialist support projects in the area e.g. EOTAS, Parent or Pupil Support Groups.  
What happens when school attendance does not improve?

If there is no improvement the EWO will have to: 

  • Ask you to attend a Family Consultation Meeting
  • Convene a School Attendance Panel Meeting
  • Convene an Education Planning Meeting, involving Social Services and other agencies. If the situation does not improve then the decision can be made to apply to the court for an Order or prosecute the parent/carer. 
What does the school do?

The school will keep a parent informed if there are concerns about a pupil’s attendance. They will advise a parent/carer when they make a referral to the EWS.

The school will work in partnership with the parent/carer, the Education Welfare Officer and any other agencies involved with a family. 

A guide to child employment

There are rules and regulations to safeguard children who have part-time jobs and children who take part in entertainment. The legislation ensures that a child’s education does not suffer and the child is not put at risk of harm by taking part in these activities.

Children in Entertainment

There are strict laws and regulations governing children who take part in performances of all kinds, including performing in theatres and other venues, broadcasting and films. Paid modelling and paid sport also come within this legislation.