Welfare Call currently works on behalf of 100+ authorities throughout England and Wales, monitoring over 28,000 looked after children every day. We do this by contacting each individual education provision (whether that be mainstream schools, PRU’s, residential homes, alternate provisions) on a daily basis to determine if a child has gained a registration mark for both the AM and PM session.
The attendance data is gathered by a group of 45 call operators who contact the schools on a one to one personalised basis, at a time specified by them and a contact person of their choice (passwords can also be set up for added security). Welfare Call’s method of attendance collection requires no downloading of software onto the schools system and therefore means that Welfare Call will never access information regarding children they are not responsible for. Through Welfare Call’s extensive training program, our operators maintain a high level of service and knowledge which ensures that not only is all data recorded accurately, but this also allows for certain marks to be challenged and problematic children to be identified quickly so we can notify the virtual school. Our extensive range of attendance reports, coupled with our daily communication to education provisions enables the Virtual School to intervene promptly to individual cases and develop strategic responses to trends when looked after children are absent from school. This ultimately helps the virtual school prevent breaks in learning and disengagement of young people whilst ensuring they are safeguarded.
If any absences are recorded, Welfare Call will also gain the reasons behind the absence where known and report this to you. If the child is excluded we will also ask the school for a hard copy of the letter so the virtual school can see it is a formal exclusion. If it is an unauthorised absence we will then contact the carer to ask why the child is not in education and then also contact the social worker advising them that a child under their remit has not attended school to ensure safeguarding of the child.
All calls are recorded for training purposes and to ensure a level of accuracy and professionalism is maintained by the call operators. Welfare Call uses this process to collect for all children ranging from reception to year 11. We slightly adapt the approach for Post 16 attendance collection in that we make weekly phone calls instead of daily.
The system is modified to accommodate children who are in alternative provisions. When a school marks a child with the code “B” (educated off site) we will ask where the child is being educated and if the school knows the alternative timetable of the child. When we have found out this information, we will then contact the alternative provision directly and mark the child on the sessions they have attended. If a child has been absent from the alternative provision we will then send an automatic email to the on roll school to advise of the absence so the school can correct their mark. This ensures that the on roll schools register (which is a legal document) reflects the child’s true attendance.
Below is a brief outline of some of the service elements that are included as part of the attendance contact:
- Daily calls to education provisions, with allocated time slots and passwords for schools
- Call to carer if child has an unauthorised absence
- Calls to social worker /social worker team or email to advise of child absence
- Update daily of any changes to the following:
- carer details, social worker details
- education placement
- alternative provision
- children who are not on roll at a provision etc
- On movement of school; Welfare Call will introduce the service and send a copy of the authority intro letter then backdate attendance to the start date of the school
- Collect designated teacher name and contact details, SEN information, missing UPN numbers
- Collect SATS and GCSE results
- Request hard copies of Exclusion letters
- Alternative provisions – If a child is being educated at an alternative provision, Welfare Call will contact the alternate provision directly.
- Vast array of attendance reports that can be sent to multiple people within the authority
- Extranet service that provides real time data regarding all looked after children we are monitoring on behalf of the authority
If you have any questions or queries or require any further information please contact us.
Ivy Namala – Lambeth Virtual School
The EPEP is an excellent tool. It is as good as the information we give to Welfare Call. Once there I feel confident that the data is kept more accurate, than the one we have at our local authority . It is reassuring that Welfare Call does most of the work, especially the monitoring of attendance. Welfare Call sometimes know the whereabouts of a child school change, before the social worker or Virtual School. It is reassuring. Thank you!
Graeme Ferguson, Virtual School Head, Derby City Council
We have been using the Welfare Call ePEP now for over a year having had a paper based PEP previously.
Over this period we have seen:
- our timely completion rates for the ePEP improve from 85% to 95%
- an improved quality of what has been written within the ePEP
- greater consistency
- improved communication with DT’s and SW’s
- better accountability for responsibilities
Chris Hargreaves Virtual School Head for Doncaster
I have used Welfare Call for the last three years. The basic service enables me to track, closely, the attendance and exclusions of children in care. I appreciate the support received from the company – they listen to the customer and respond in a positive and effective way.
Jane Munroe Virtual School Head for Harrow Authority
The customer service we receive from Welfare Call is excellent. They always answer calls, return emails, solve problems and are very helpful when things do not go according to plan.
Lorraine Brown, HEART Administrator for Enfield Authority
During the last 5 years Welfare Call staff have been most helpful in providing any specific reports as required in a timely fashion. Telephone calls are met with a willingness to help. More than pleased with service and have recently signed a three year contract.
Erika Lutzke, Business Support Officer for London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Authority
We have been employing the services of Welfare Call for a number of years now, and find them indispensable to the collection of looked after children’s attendance and exclusion data, and also their KS2/KS4 data. Welfare Call reports make it easy to compare and analyse data and take appropriate measures to improve our children’s attendance and attainment.
‘Care Matters’ Parliamentary Green Paper (page 60)
Tower Hamlets have contracted with a private company to monitor the school attendance of their children in care. The company call the school every day for those children most at risk of non- attendance and less frequently for those attending regularly. Where a child is not in school, Tower Hamlets will be alerted and can then investigate the reasons for non- attendance. As a result, the number of children in care absent for 25 days or more dropped by 22% in a year: the number of children with permanent exclusions dropped by 33%; and the number of fixed term exclusions dropped by more than 50%.
Wendy Holmes, Advisory Officer Alternate Provision Attendance for North Lincolnshire Authority
Welfare Call has given me a first class service and response at all times. No change is too much trouble for them. They are a very knowledgeable company, who know what they are talking about and are willing to go the extra mile.
Tony Clifford, Virtual Head for Stoke-on-Trent Authority
Working with Welfare Call over the six years that our Virtual School has been in place has been one of the key factors in enabling us to achieve a ‘good’ judgement for Enjoy and Achieve from Ofsted in our recent inspection of LAC services. Our performance teams have been able to work closely with Welfare Call to give us accurate and immediate information about all our out of city LAC and this in turn has improved the timeliness and effectiveness of our interventions. I am impressed by Welfare Call’s commitment to making a difference to young people in care
Steve Mather Virtual Head for Sheffield Authority
We have had an annual contract with Welfare Call for several years, and we have been so satisfied with their service that I have been able to persuade my director to allow me to arrange a longer term deal with them. As a result I am able to deploy my team of staff much more effectively on advocacy and challenge rather than administration and compliance. We are in contact with the company on an almost daily basis. They respond to our requests for support almost immediately, and in a most professional and positive manner. They monitor the attendance of each child wherever they are in the country by calling every school every day, and by alerting social workers and carers to any unexplained non-attendance the same day. Schools are used to working with them as part of their daily routine. They have been instrumental in supporting us to establish an ePEP solution for our children. As a result our PEP in-date completion figures have improved significantly, and the quality of the PEPs is improving rapidly. They continue to work with us on developing and improving our bespoke template. Clearly we are happy with the service they deliver, and would recommend you talk to them further to explore how they can build your capacity, and meet your needs.