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Thread: Education Welfare Officers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Nottingham, UK

    Default Education Welfare Officers

    If you don't know what an Education Welfare Officer (or EWO) was (or had ever seen one), then you probably would have had 100% attendance throughout your school years. As I did almost everything to avoid going to school because I hated the place (Comprehensive School anyway). I just assumed that they were basically Social Workers assigned to a specific school or schools in a certain area - they even had their own office in the school, and their own car, but were not seen very often on school premises, unless ironically enough, one was not seen very often at school. I had often thought to myself quite ironically that the occupation must have so much freedom - having one's own office and car; travelling around the neighbourhood to different people's homes - not a bad way to earn a living, even if it is not too glamorous. I sometimes felt that they were just as bad as the teachers.

    For some reason, I felt safe at home without the peer pressure of people of my own age group, the bullying and trying to juggle several lessons at once in one day, not to mention homework worries, and the threats of detention. I would rather have faked illness and watch Daytime TV and programmes such as Kilroy or The Time The Place and watch a debate about bullying rather than go to school and be in the middle of it. Sometimes I wished that I could crawl into a hole and disappear - certainly in Years 10 and 11 I felt like that.

    The Form Tutor notices consecutive absences in the class register, and lo and behold the good old Education Welfare Officer is eventually notified, and makes a visit to someone's home. I recall at least three different ones and on more than one occasion they gave me a lift to the school in their car, but for some reason, they never gave me a lift back home again. In Year 11 the final one gave me a lift to the school in the morning - it's a pity that she had not given me a lift back home again as I was attacked whilst walking back from the school - the irony that the EWO hadn't drove me to school on that day, it wouldn't have happened. I would never have said that I played truant as my parents obviously knew where I was.

    I have always felt bitter about my school days and the fact that my difficulties were either ignored or not attended to, and I hated the EWO's involvement - it did feel like "the do-gooders brigade" striking again. As I said before, I believe that we have more education out of school than inside it, which in many cases is quite true. It is only thanks to forums like this that I have managed to write about it in public and let people know about what I had to put up with all those years ago.

    There were two EWOs in Grange Hill as far as I can remember - there was Mrs Wilkins in the 1984 series who visited Annette Firman's mother because of Annette's bruises, and another one in the 1988 series who talks to Trevor Cleaver in the street, and Cleaver gives his name as Vince Savage, played by the same actor as the man from the council who came to investigate the road accident in the 1985 series.

    Now I am almost certain that as we are mostly former school pupils of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the Education Welfare Officer may have visited our homes - probably because of illness, truancy, or something else? Did you once get a knock on the front door and find out that it was someone who wanted to know why you were not in school? Perhaps it was similar to myself - that I didn't wanted to go to school in the first place? The irony of not answering the door to strangers, indeed.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Southport, Merseyside

    Default Re: Education Welfare Officers

    They used to be called the wag man, a friend of mine used to have them visit him as he never went to school. The wag man used to drive around in a beige Austin Maestro.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Default Re: Education Welfare Officers

    Quote Originally Posted by escorteclipse1990 View Post
    They used to be called the wag man, a friend of mine used to have them visit him as he never went to school. The wag man used to drive around in a beige Austin Maestro.

    Areyou sure it was not Maurice bronson moonlighting in a Car painted a different colour EscortEclipse lol

    This is a great thread you have made here, George - I do not recall any but I am sure they existed (even though in my first Secondary) they'd not achieve much what-soever - though of course not all the Teachers there was Liberal Do-gooders, some could even be classed as decent, like I think I have said elsewhere on here, that about a year back I bumped into my old French Teacher in the Local Asda Cafe (and back in the day she was a witch - reporting me and giving me a Detention, that I never obliged to) for signing along the lines to a Local TV Xmas Advert, which other lads was doing too. I could have gladly walked out of that Class for forever and "yeah the ECO would have been on me like "a Cat after a Bird" - thouggh as a result there was talk of me having to do Spanish (with an even worse Teacher than the French one - who was like Mr Keating meets Hitler in his actions and ttitude)!!!

    I recall the 2nd EWO in Gh and never knew until recently (which is an interesting fact for Soap fans and EastEnders fans in-particular) that the actor was the guy who went to play the corrupt solicitor Marcus christie who occasionaly rose his head or so from the 1990s onwards until the late 2000s when he double-crossed them


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Rhondda Valley

    Default Re: Education Welfare Officers

    The Education Welfare Officer, was employed by the local council under the education department. The school I attended had over 1500 pupils, but has far has I am aware, there was no office with the EWO in the school. They seemed to have a central office at the main councils offices. The form, or registration teacher, would inform the Head about absences from school. It was the Head who would then contact the EWO. This would then be followed up with a surprise visit at the home.

    The EWO would then show proof that the child had not attended school. If the child was there, he/she could be questioned by the EWO, but the parent(s) of the child would have to be there. Generally, the EWO would try to get to the bottom of things before further action, if any, would be taken.

    The EWO visited my parents over my brother's attendance once. It came to light he had not attended school in the mornings for several weeks. My mother was adamant he was not playing truant. The EWO asked why she was so sure. The reason given, was that too many people knew him. If he had been seen, they would have certainly told her. The EWO said he would investigate further, with an interview with him at the school. He would interview him with the Head, she could attend if she wished. Further light on the subject revealed all.....He had been going to school late, but not reporting to the Year Head. He had not missed any lessons, but the register "proved" he had not been in school in the mornings. No further action was taken, but he was warned he faced the cane if he continued.

    To be fair, the EWO was very nice. He was concerned if there was any problem at school he needed help with, or if there was any difficulty at home. fortunately, it was the one and only visit.
    Who cared about rules when you were young?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Education Welfare Officers

    We called him the School Board Man. He would roam away the town centre and other likely places for those skiping achool.

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