My name is Julie Haywood and I am an Education Welfare Officer employed by Barnsley Council and have been for the last 6 years. Prior to my appointment with BMBC, over a 16 year period, I worked in educational settings working with children, young people and their families so I have a good understanding of the challenges that children and their families face and how this can impact on all aspects of their life.
The main aim of the Education Welfare Service is to work with schools, children and families in order to help children and young people access their education and therefore reach their full potential. At the present time, I support both Bank End and Hunningley primary schools by working with the Senior Leadership Team and school staff to identify any children and families that may require support as well as working with individual families in relation to attendance that has fallen below the schools target.
It is important that children attend school regularly so that they can reach their full potential academically; statistics show that attendance and attainment go hand in hand and where children have had a poor school attendance record, they will generally have gaps in their learning and will not achieve their potential academically.
I believe that by working together, we can improve outcomes for our children. I work in a very transparent and non-judgmental way with school, children and their families, by using a range of strategies which include:
* Home visits
* Meetings in school
* Letters home
* Supporting families through the Early Help and the Education Welfare assessment process.
All of these strategies are used in the hope that formal referrals to the Education Welfare Service can be avoided and situations can be improved without formal action.
Where strategies have failed to bring about change in terms of school attendance, it may be necessary to take formal action against parents for non-attendance.