Code of Principles & Practice

The Education Welfare Service (which comprises both Education Welfare and Education Social Work Services) is a specialist education support service which seeks to maximise educational opportunities for children and young people.

To this end, the Education Welfare Service, as part of the Local Education Authority, works in partnership with children and young people, their families, schools, educational services and establishments, and other statutory and voluntary agencies.


Objectives of the Code

1. The Association for Education Welfare Management (AEWM) is committed to the development of appropriate professional competencies, practices and social work skills within an educational setting.

In adopting this code the AEWM believes that those working in this specialist field have responsibilities to service users, schools, Local Education Authorities, colleagues, other agencies, and the wider community. AEWM considers its duty to promote professional standards and to encourage the provision of an effective service of the highest quality

2. This code of practice provides a framework of key principles and identifies areas of practice which are integral to the task and its context.

The aim is to facilitate and promote the continuing development of the profession in order that children and young people have access to services that meet their educational, social and developmental needs.

Statement of Principles

  1. Education through regular and beneficial attendance at school or otherwise should be actively promoted.
  2. The Education Welfare Service has a duty to protect children and young people from abuse and exploitation.
  3. Children and young people who are not able to benefit from mainstream educational provision are entitled to access support from the Education Welfare Service.
  4. The Education Welfare Service is committed to the provision of services and support to all children and young people.
  5. Effective communication and joint working with other professionals and organisations should be promoted.
  6. The Education Welfare Service maintains that children and young people are individuals in their own right and of equal worth whatever their race, culture, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, social background, or special educational needs.
  7. Members of the service have a professional responsibility to respecting the rights and dignity of all individuals, acknowledging their entitlement to confidentiality and self determination, and to uphold the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  8. Education and vocational information and guidance should be available and accessible to all children and young people.
  9. It is an aim to achieve a fully qualified service.
  10. The Education Welfare Service has a duty to challenge practices that do not accord with these principles.

Statement of Operational Practice

1. Purpose

a) To assist parents, schools and the Local Education Authority to meet the duties placed on them by relevant legislation. 

b) To enable and enhance effective communication between and within families, schools, agencies, other services and the wider community.

c) To foster and maintain a climate in which members of the Education Welfare Service are able to fulfil this code of practice.

2. Rights of the Individual

a) To acknowledge the rights of service users to access, advice and support from the Education Welfare Service in obtaining services to which they are entitled.

b) To act as advocate, where appropriate, for children, young people and families when they seek to obtain the services to which they are entitled.

3. Confidentiality

a) To recognise that information entrusted to the Education Welfare Service should not be disclosed without the knowledge of the service user, other than where there is clear evidence of danger to the service user, EWS, other persons or the wider community.

b) To conduct working relationships with children, young people and parents in an open and honest way which allows for the proper sharing and recording of information.

4. Anti-discriminatory practice

a) To provide Education Welfare Service support on an equitable basis according to need, regardless of race, culture, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, social background, or special educational needs.

b) To promote equal opportunities within all aspects of work.

c) To confront discrimination whenever it may arise.

5. Record Keeping and Access to Information

a) To ensure a co-ordinated and consistent approach to referral, recording and reporting systems.

b) To recognise the need for objectivity, accuracy and confidentiality where appropriate.

c) To recognise the requirements of both the legislation and the underlying principles related to data protection, access to personal files and pupil records.

d) To collate, analyse, interpret, and present data on issues relating to relevant aspects of Education Welfare Service work.

6. Case and Workload Management

a) To establish a case management policy which incorporates a formal referral system.

b) To establish a system for case management which incorporates assessment, planning, monitoring and evaluation.

c) To establish and maintain clear systems for assessment, planning, monitoring and the evaluation of workloads, including self-evaluation, appraisal, and also feedback from service users.

d) To establish access to effective supervision and support from a line manager.

e) To establish a system for closing cases.

7. Intervention

a) To facilitate the process of intervention through a full assessment of needs and consideration of the resources and methods available.

b) To make appropriate use of legal proceedings as part of a planned intervention.

c) To empower families where they seek to resolve their own difficulties.

d) To assist children and young people in maximising their educational opportunities.

8. Training and Professional Development

a) To recognise that a course, leading to a professional social work qualification, as validated by the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) provides a basic minimum level of training.

Other courses offering full qualifying training to staff in the Education Welfare Service must be at an academic and professional level not less than the Diploma in Social Work.

There will also be a need for part qualifying opportunities which should be validated by a U.K. Higher Education (HE) Institution.

Post qualifying opportunities should also be available as recognised by CCETSW or a UK HE Institution.

b) To recognise that a programme of professional development is essential to provide an effective work-force and to ensure consistent standards of service delivery, against a background of changing needs and expectations.

c) To recognise that staff development programmes should include provision for the evaluation of performance and attainment of objectives in areas of work which affect personal development.

d) To recognise the importance of induction programmes for newly appointed and promoted staff.

e) To acknowledge that the Education Welfare Service competencies which have been set by the Training Advisory Group (TAG) will underpin professional development programmes.

Competencies for the Education Welfare Service

Competence in Education Welfare Service/Education Social Work Service within the LEA is the product of knowledge, skills and values.

Members of the Service are expected to demonstrate the following practice requirements together with a commitment to engage in appropriate training programmes to enable Local Education Authorities and parents / carers to meet their duties, statutory and otherwise.

1. The ability to communicate and engage with children and young people their families, schools, educational services and establishments and other statutory and voluntary agencies, to promote education by regular and beneficial attendance at school or otherwise.

2. To develop the values, knowledge and skills that enable members of the service to respond effectively to non attendance at school in an organised and considered way.

3. The ability to promote regular school attendance and assist parents/carers in meeting their responsibilities in securing the education of children and young people.

4. The ability to assess and review children/young people and family circumstances and plan appropriate responses and intervention within the statutory framework and evaluate outcomes.

5. The ability to contribute to evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of the Service within a Local Education Authority.

6. To take personal responsibility in managing, evaluating and further developing professional competencies through effective use of supervision, appraisal and management of workload.

7. To have the knowledge and skills to promote the protection of children and young people from abuse and exploitation.




1. The purpose of this guidance is to promote good practice in the management of Education Supervision Orders (ES0s) made under Section 36 of the Children act 1989. It has implications for all levels within the Education Welfare Service. It will identify issues of management and organisation, define principles, and set out procedures.

2. This document is complementary to, and should be read in conjunction with the specific guidance on ES0s, published by the Department of Health and the Department of Education and Employment. It also embodies much that is contained in the Code of Principles and Practice issued by the two Professional Associations.

3. The guidance also reflects the broader principles which underpin all aspects of the Children Act 1989, of which the following are of particular importance.

a) In all proceedings under the Act the welfare of the child shall be the paramount consideration.

b) Intervention in a family should be in partnership with the parents whenever possible.

c) Children need to be involved in decisions made which may affect them.

d) It is of vital importance that agencies develop efficient and effective collaboration.

e) Courts should not grant a request for an order unless making an order would be better for the child than making no order.

f) It is important to establish whether a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm.

4. In the light of the last principle it is essential that applications for ES0s should not be made unless services consistent with this guidance can be provided.

5. The term "parent" within the context of this guidance includes any person who is not the mother or father of the child concerned but who has parental responsibility, or someone who has care of the child (within the meaning of the Children Act 1989).


1.Those named as Supervising Officers should:

a) Be familiar with. and able to apply , a range of social work skills.

b) Have a good appreciation of education issues and their effect on children and families, and be knowledgeable of systems within the education service.

c) Have good organisational skills.

d) Be familiar with court systems and be able to command the respect of magistrates.

e) Be sensitive to issues of race, gender, culture and religion.

f) Be open to, and accountable through, a continuous programme of supervision by line managers.

2. Managers and Supervising Officers should:

a) Be able to meet all the requirements listed in the previous section.

b) Have a structured approach to staff supervision.

c) Act as a resource for the Supervising Officer through using their own knowledge, experience or resources at their own disposal or by enabling access to other resources.

d) Have an ability to appraise intervention, review the practice and formulate plans for change based on these processes.

e) Be able to identify training needs and access training resources.

f) Have access to senior management both within the LEA and other departments.

g) Be in a position to make a contribution to the development of policy in areas such as training, service development and resource allocation.



1. The following considerations should underpin the conduct of an ESO:

a) Specialist skills within the agency should be available to children and their families without an order being made.

b) Practice should be non-discriminatory.

c) There should be respect for the integrity of the family unit work with the child in isolation is likely to be contrary to the aim of establishing, complementing and strengthening parental responsibility.

d) Working relationships between supervising officers, their managers, and the parents and children subject to the order should be conducted in an open and honest manner.

e) Relationships with schools should allow effective negotiations with school staff without compromising the commitment to helping the child and parents.

f) The role of other agencies should be recognised. The supervisor should be alert to circumstances which indicate that another agency should become involved, and should have the knowledge and skill to enable effective referrals to be made.

g) As far as is possible the supervising officer should be the worker involved prior to the request for an order being considered, and the worker involved in the application for the order.

h) Approaches under an ESO should be essentially non-coercive. Whilst parents lose certain rights whilst an order is in force their views should always be taken into account. The primary purpose of an ESO should not be to override parental rights provided by other legislation.

i) Although the supervisor is empowered to make directions to the parents and/or child whilst an order is in place, such directions should not be made where the same result could be achieved through negotiation.

j) Directions should only be made after consideration with all affected parties and should follow procedures laid down within the department.

k) Parents and children should have prior warning of an intention to issue a direction.


1.Given the set duration of an ESO, intervention will need to be timelimited, structured and purposeful.

2. The primary objective of an ESO will be to ensure that the child attends school regularly. However, there are likely to be secondary objectives , concerned with enabling the parents to meet their responsibilities with regard to the education of the child concerned, ensuring that the child is provided with appropriate educational opportunities, and helping the child to benefit from those opportunities.

3. Contracts are likely to reflect the proposals outlined in the application for the ESO. Such contracts should incorporate a recognition of the contribution required by all involved parties, including the parents, the child, the school and the supervising officer.

4. Evaluation of the intervention should take place on a regular basis and should take full account of the views of the parents and child. It should include an assessment of the relative success or failure of the order, and an analysis of the reasons for the outcome.

5.Where evaluation indicated that the intervention is unlikely to result in the desired objectives:

a) It may be appropriate to adopt a different approach.

b) Consideration will need to be given as to whether a change of supervising officer would be helpful.

c) It may be that it no longer appears that an ESO was an appropriate response, and that a request for its discharge should be made.

d) There may be grounds for applying for an extension to the order.

e) It should be considered whether reasons behind the lack of success and their solution lay beyond the scope of the Education Welfare Service/ Education Social Work Service; In which case other support services may need to be involved.

f) The case should be referred to the SSD for investigation.

6. Where intervention succeeds more quickly than was anticipated the early discharge of the order should be considered.


1. Much of what constitutes good practice with regards to ES0s will be equally relevant in cases where there is no statutory order.

Accordingly where it is shown, during the conduct of an order, that certain types of practice have particular advantages or disadvantages, the opportunity should be taken to consider whether such lessons have a wider application.

2. It may also be that during the time an ESO is in place, matters arise that suggest that aspects of broader policy of the Education Welfare Service/ Education Social Work Service or the Education Department need revaluation. This needs to be addressed by the relevant senior managers.

AEWM President Tony Waller

AEWM President
Tony Waller

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BBC News - Education & Family

26 April 2019