Welfare Call is an organisation based in Barnsley, set up to monitor the school attendance of children in care. They currently have 70 local authorities as customers - monitoring over 16,000 children and young people. The Virtual School have worked with Welfare Call for three years now, commissioning them to check on the attendance of every pupil in the care of Surrey, each day. Their trained staff contact the many schools around the country who have our children on roll, to find out and record all attendance and provide daily reports to Assistant Headteachers in the Virtual School on any pupil not in school on that day.
This service has enabled the Virtual School to better understand the levels of absence and the reasons for this. As a result we are able to work with social care and other education staff in schools and across local authorities, where necessary, to review these situations and we have seen improvements in overall attendance rates. A significant proportion of absence in previous years has been attributed to exclusions - this is no longer the case - as we are able to make sure schools are contacted immediately on the report of an exclusion and work to support both the pupil and the school to minimise any further disruption in education.