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AEWM Training Day

The AEWM held its annual training day on the 12th October 2016 at the Arden Hotel consisting of the following speakers:

  • Mike Neumann Managing Director ITS Training Limited & AEWM- Prosecuting Attendance in Challenging Times
  • Stefano Pozzi DfE Inspection and Accountability Unit and Yvonne Slaven Team Leader Behaviour in Schools, CME, School day and School Year, Attendance and Behaviour Unit, Disadvantage Division - Attendance, CME and Child Mental Health
  • Charlotte Levene Young Minds a leading UK charity committed to improving the emotional well being and mental health of children and young people
  • Grace Barratt The Self Esteem Team - Body Image, Schools and Mental Health Workshop
  • Sue Harrison AEWM & The Samaritans - Supporting Schools after Suicide
  • Anita Patel-Lingham, Assistant Manager, Missing Education and Child Employment Service Essex County Council - Supporting Schools to effectively challenge and reduce parental condoned absence and illness.

If you are not a member you are missing out on training and conferences provided through the AEWM, why not view the JOIN tab at the top of the page.

Members can access the presentations which will be posted in the member forum.

Statement from the National Executive - Penalty Notices

Penalty Notices and Every Day at School Counts: a statement from the Association for Education Welfare Management (AEWM)

The AEWM represents individuals who are working in positions of responsibility to improve pupil attendance in schools, services and local authorities throughout England. Those members have been facing huge operational difficulties since recent judgments involving 'the Isle of Wight' case.

The most important view of the AEWM is that every day's attendance at school is important to a child's well being. There is clear evidence that absence from school is linked to lower levels of attainment at school. Children are required to attend school on 190 days in a year of 365 days (Maintained schools are open 190 days in a year of 365 days and children are expected to attend each day unless there is a reason not to authorised by the school – Academies & independent schools can set their own school year) .

It is clear that the remaining days allow plenty of time for quality family based activities and holidays. Whilst it is true that there are real cost issues relating to holidays this should never be a consideration that allows a child to miss school. The AEWM welcomes the recent correspondence from Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools regarding the current position. We support the emphasis on every days attendance counting and the taking of additional steps necessary to secure children's attendance at school.

The AEWM, whilst respecting the judgment of the High Court, believes the thinking of the court is flawed and welcomes further appeal and / or change of policy and legislation that removes the current doubt and mixed messages following the judgment. We would suggest regular attendance at school is each and every day it is open for education.

The suggestion that 90% is acceptable may lead some young people not to aspire to 100%. Currently local authority officers have to take into account a range of factors including the particular circumstances of the case, a range of case law and now the Isle of Wight judgment in the consideration of taking legal action. We would encourage both schools and those engaged in improving and ensuring attendance to continue to take a tough stance on absence for holidays in term time and continue not to authorise the absence unless there are exceptional reasons.

We support the DfE advice not to repay paid penalty notices and we further welcome robust local authority actions to defend any appeals against Magistrates Court decisions. For the future, we are recommending a single national code of conduct on the issuing of penalty notices for absence from school. We believe that penalty notices could be a civil matter, not pursued in the criminal courts, allowing for the criminal court action route to be for more serious or repeat offenders.

The national code of conduct should be clear on definitions of absence and periods of absence that need to be considered. We also support the maintenance of flexibility for schools and local authorities to decide on the issuing of penalty notices that ensures that where absence is essential that can be authorised. In the meantime, we will continue to support, advise and share good practice amongst members of the AEWM in these difficult times. Our support to colleagues is based on our passionate belief in ensuring that children have full access to every day at school.

National Executive Committee AEWM

NEWS - AEWM Conference October 2015

Wednesday 14 October 2015 at the Arden Hotel


10.00   Conference Opening: Local Authorities and Pupil Attendance

Chris Kiernan Previously Director of Children’s Services / Currently Interim Manager 

 10.30   Developing Schools Capacity to Improve Attendance

Michael Gooch (Strategic Lead for Attendance for LB of Islington) 

10.50   Views of a Magistrate        

Deborah Bell Service Manager Key Working Service  LB Hillingdon and Magistrate

 11.00    Refreshments and networking

 11.20   ‘An update from the national Network’

Sandra Rothwell (Chair of National Network Child Employment and Entertainment)

11.50   ‘Challenges for Schools and Local Authorities on Improving Attendance’

Stefano Pozzi, Assistant Director, Achievement and Disadvantage Team (DfE)

 12.45    Lunch and networking

 13.45   The Prevent Agenda

David Etheridge Oxfordshire  Fire and Rescue Service

 14.15   ‘How attendance is at the heart of school improvement’ – a journey from special measures

Benedick Ashmore-Short Principal Hamford Primary Academy

Pearson Primary Headteacher of the Year 2014

 14.55    Refreshments and networking

 15.15   Elective Home Education – Excitement and Opportunity

            Jenny Dodd and Dave Harvey

Joint Chairs National Association for Elective Home Education Professionals

 15.55    Plenary 16.00    End


AEWM Conference 2015

The AEWM National Conference 2015

Welcome from the President Julie Weddell

I was delighted to welcome over 80 delegates at this year's conference.   The room was buzzing with committed attendance leaders from LAs and schools and consultants sharing their practices with each other  

The speakers of the day were all very informative, inspirational and relevant to the work of education welfare management. Of special interest was the presentation from the Assistant Director, Achievement and Disadvantage Team, DFE which included the Prime Minister's recent announcement on the proposal for unpaid fines to be taken from child benefits and the NCB and HMI concerns regarding CME procedures which will lead to a pupil registrations reform. The audience were given time to share their views and the Association looks forward to further discussions with DFE on these important subjects.

AEWM NEC have discussed reintroducing a two day annual conference to enable more networking, but understand this is not viable these days as it is so difficult to get time away from the workplace. However, we continue to encourage more regional meetings as the groups that do meet regularly find these invaluable to exchange information and support members to find the most efficient ways of working.

The venue and date for our next free training event was announced at conference - 25th May 2016 at the Ardent Hotel in Birmingham for members

We have summarised the presentations below for those who were unable to attend the conference and copies of the PowerPoint are available to members in the member forum:

Chris Kiernan previously a Director of Children's services and Currently Interim Manager kindly opened the conference.   Chris was appointed to the post of Director of Education for the London Borough of Waltham Forest in 2004 and became its first director of Children's Services in 2006. Since retiring in 2011 he has worked as an interim manager in various roles, including Director and head of School Improvement Posts

Michael Gooch, Strategic Lead for Attendance for the London Borough of Islington his presentation centred on strategic approaches to achieving good attendance at school which is the single most protective factor to ensure that young people have the maximum life chances - attendance is strongly linked to educational achievement. Promoting positive school attendance is everyone's responsibility.

Deborah Bell Magistrate – provided an interesting presentation “The Magistrates Tale” and covered areas such as Reparation, Deterrence, Reformation, Protection and Punishment around sentencing.

Sandra Rothwell Chair of the National Network Child Employment &Entertainment provided conference with an update on the issuing surrounding child employment and entertainment.

Stefano Pozzi, Assistant Director, Achievement and Disadvantaged Team (DfE) delivered a presentation about challenges for schools and local authorities on improving attendance and safety. He provided information on the government’s future approach to penalty fines and changes to the registration regulations, please see the member forum for access to the presentation.

David Etheridge OBE Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service provided an informative presentation on the PREVENT agenda one of the four key components of the government’s Counter Extremism Strategy CONTEST. David was awarded the OBE for his services to the community in the new Years honours List 2015.

Benedict Ashmore-Short the Principal of the Hamford Primary Academy provided an uplifting presentation on how attendance is at the heart of school improvement, a journey from special measures. Benedict was the Pearson Primary Head Teacher of the Year for 2014, he is a regular contributor and public speaker in the education press, events and conferences. 

Jenny Dodd and David Harvey provided the final presentation for conference on Elective Home Education – excitement and opportunity. Jenny and David are the joint chairs National Association for Elective Home Education.

In Closing

If you are a member of AEWM and you attended the conference you will know that the content of the conference was again of a high standard but if you are not yet a member now is the time to think about joining us, next year’s conference will not be that far away.

Please do not redistribute without permission material provided at the conference 


AEWM Conference

The AEWM National Conference 2014

Forward from the President Julie Weddell

"I am pleased to share that our national annual conference, held on 8th October, 2014' was a great success. I was honoured to welcome delegates and speakers on the day which had a wonderful atmosphere. Delegates were keen to share their knowledge and experience with each other and the speakers. The speakers were inspirational, informative and, at times, emotive. This provided busy managers with the opportunity to reflect on their practice, hear how other Local Authorities were working and take back important messages to their own Authority. The evaluations of the day were extremely positive, with all speakers receiving praise. All delegates stated that they would return to a future event and some good topics were suggested. The national executive council is already working on the conference for next year, so watch the website for details."

We have summarised the presentations below for those who were unable to attend the conference:

Pat Witherspoon, Mayor of Redditch opened the conference.  Her speech reflected a long career working within Local Government, including education welfare, safeguarding and Chief Education Officer in Solihull.  Pat reminded us of how long our posts have been in place by reading out an advert for a job pertaining to Section 36 of the Elementary Education Act 1870.  The three main duties of the post were to see that the name of every child between five and fourteen years was on the register of some public elementary school, or to satisfy himself that the child was under efficient instruction in some other manner; to secure the regular and punctual attendance at school of children whose names were on the school roll; to make inquiries and report with regard to the remission of school fees in necessitous cases and applications for part time labour certificates.   The post called for the highest gift of tact, common sense, humour, understanding, sympathy, courage and straight forwardness!  

Ade Adalo from the DfE (School attendance) gave a presentation about absence trends and the impact upon attendance and attainment and he also outlined the following:

Over the last two years the Government has been implementing Charlie Taylor’s recommendations. It doesn’t stop there as the Government continues to review the measures schools and local authorities use to improve attendance. They have consulted on repealing the defence mobile children have when it comes to absence and considering lowering the current persistent absence threshold and changing the way they calculate persistence absence. The Government wants pupils in schools- where they should be and absence at schools should only be down to unavoidable causes.

Keith Bates, Head of the Education Investigation Service - Dudley MBC

Keith provided a presentation on the subject of "policing parental responsibility measures" an enforcement model that is compliant with the national occupational standards for enforcement services. Importantly the model operates across three key themes of Prevent, Protect, and Pursue. Thus enabling services to maintain and deliver effective enforcement in times of reduced resources delivering a model of preventing further offending, protecting vulnerable children and adults and pursuing those who commit offences. The Education Welfare functions as we know them have been devolved to schools who undertake all support work with children and families to improve attendance.

Toby Stewart, Providing Support to Families of Offenders (POPS) and Barnardo’s i-HOP

National one-stop information and advice service for professionals working with children and families of offenders. Toby informed conference that 200,000 children are affected by parental imprisonment each year. Half a million children visit a parent in prison each year, and 25% of children of prisoners are at a higher risk of mental health issues.  7% of children will see their father go to prison and this unsurprisingly has a negative impact on school experiences, it can lead to stigma and isolation for the family. Web-based knowledge hub supported by telephone helpdesk (0808 802 2013).   

Stewart is keen to publicise the work of i-HOP and will travel to LAs to give presentations.  He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mark Simms, HMI OfSTED

Mark provided a detailed data rich presentation from the OfSTED dimension on school absence patterns, attendance and attainment and the inspection of attendance which included the framework for inspection, inspecting attendance and the considerations for schools.

Zoe Renton, Head of Policy, Public Affairs at the NCB.

Provided an informative presentation on Children Missing Education connected to the recent national report produced by the NCB on CME.  This involved an introduction to the NCB, who the children are, how many children are CME and why, What Children and Young Peoples Services say, and whether local authority responses were effective.

 Vic Goddard Head Teacher of Educating Essex Fame

 Vic was an extremely entertaining speaker, recounting issues relating to his school and the local authority; he was able to deliver an informative and at times funny presentation.  Vic was very congratulatory of the work of attendance services and the support given to schools.  For a service that is more often than not ignored in respect of the efforts that have been made over many, many years in securing children’s education this was a most welcome statement from a highly recognised performer within the education sector.

Mike Neumann, Director, ITS Training (UK) Ltd

Mike provided an entertaining quiz and attended a stall for conference, this allowed members to get a flavour of the service provided by ITS.  ITS training have provided investigative skills on the enforcement role to a number of EWS teams.


 In Closing

If you are a member of AEWM and you attended the conference you will know that the content of the conference was of a high standard supported through the evaluation of the conference through the members who were present.  If you are not yet a member now is the time to think about joining us, next year’s conference will not be that far away. Follow the link below to find out more about joining the AEWM; we look forward to seeing you.

 A selection of photographs from conference




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AEWM President Ian Norman-Bruce

AEWM President
Ian Norman-Bruce

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