Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language
The link between attendance and educational attainment is clear - missing sustained periods of school presents a real risk to a child’s attainment and can also lead to them feeling more disengaged from their education.
The Education Welfare Service provides vital support to schools and families by exploring the reasons behind school absence, offering information and guidance, advising families about specialist support services, and making referrals to appropriate services when required.
I am therefore pleased to confirm that we are investing an additional £2.5 million into the Education Welfare Service. This funding will provide much needed additional capacity to enable the service to provide earlier support, before issues escalate, as well as allow them to provide more intensive support to learners with high absence.
We know that greater engagement with families has been shown to have a positive impact on improving attendance. Family Engagement Officers ensure strong partnerships are developed between schools, families, communities and other agencies. We know that the additional support they offer can be a highly effective resource for schools in reaching out to parents and carers and engaging them in their children’s learning. That is why we are also increasing this funding to £2.5 million, taking the total investment for this year to over £6.5 million.
It is vital that education infrastructure is in place to support our education welfare investment. Therefore, we are also providing £40 million of capital funding to help transform schools into community-focused schools - places that are at the heart of local communities, where key services and facilities are co-located, bringing parents, carers and members of the local community together beyond traditional school hours.
This funding will build on the £20 million capital investment that was made during 2022-23 and will continue to support key capital works that are essential to open up our school settings safely and effectively, enabling greater community use. This can include large scale works, such as community hubs for specific parental and community outreach programmes and community space to encourage multi-agency use.