Meet the Education Welfare Team

The Education Welfare Team are a highly qualified team of Education Investigation Officers, Education Welfare Support Officers and Child Employment and Entertainment Officers with experience of registers, enforcement action, school attendance policies, legal responsibilities and strategies for re-engaging students with school.

Donna Parker - Education Welfare & School Attendance Team Lead

Michelle Fowler - Senior Education Welfare Officer

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • BA (Hons) QTS
  • NNEB
  • CMI Level 5 Management Diploma
  • Association for Education Welfare Management member
Experience/ area of expertise

Michelle has worked in the education sector within the West Midlands and Worcestershire areas for 23 years.

Within this time she has worked as a primary school class teacher, education welfare officer, teenage pregnancy advisor, senior education investigation officer and primary attendance lead.

Michelle has successfully supported numerous schools and settings to improve attendance, attainment and outcomes for children.

Her expert knowledge of attendance related legislation and required evidence based practice has enabled her to be privileged to be part of many schools improvement pathways.

Michelle is a senior practitioner and currently provides casework support, guidance and supervision to a team of education welfare officers.

She continues to promote the link between good attendance and good attainment and facilitates schools to work with the most hard to reach parents.


In setting up the primary attendance project Michelle successfully supported numerous primary schools across Worcestershire to improve pupil attendance and address persistent absence.

She has contributed to a number of publications and training programs targeting early intervention and parental engagement.

Training Michelle can deliver

Michelle leads on a range of Babcock courses and delivers various regional attendance workshops as well as bespoke school improvement training.


Melissa Matthews - Education Welfare Officer

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • Award in Education & Training (Level 3) Accredited qualified teacher status for the further education & skills sector
Experience/ area of expertise

Melissa is a long standing member of the team and has nearly 20 years’ experience of supporting all age ranges of children with a wide range of non-attendance issues.

Melissa has specialist in-depth knowledge of education legislation and safeguarding, offering schools guidance and advice on attendance matters, good practice, policies and procedures.

Currently Melissa is working both as a traded officer to a variety of settings as well as supporting Children Missing Education.


Melissa has been successful in raising awareness of good attendance practices within schools and settings and the impact upon attainment this can have.

She has successfully enabled schools to increase their overall school attendance, whilst supporting children and families with tacking barriers to learning.

Training Melissa can deliver

Safeguarding for Administrators


Gail Benkins - Education Welfare Officer

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • BSc Hons Psychology
  • Certificate in Social Studies
  • Specialist Lead in Behaviour and Attendance
Experience/ area of expertise

Gail has worked in Worcestershire’s Education Welfare Service sector since 2007.

Gail has supported a number of schools in raising attendance, offering a whole host of strategies and guidance to improve overall attendance and to reduce persistent absence.

Part of her role includes working with children missing education and their families to ensure that all children are able to access the education they are entitled.

She has also worked as an Education Investigation Officer and has a firm knowledge of the legislation regarding school attendance and the evidence based processes that are required.


Gail has successfully supported a number of maintained and academy schools in streamlining their processes to target resources thus substantially improving overall attendance and persistent absentee levels.

Her proactive approach in early years/reception intakes and training work to encourage a whole school approach involving governors, school staff, parents and the wider community has enabled her substantial successes in working with the most ‘hard to reach’ families.

Training Gail can deliver
  • Attendance Awareness Seminar – the law and good practice
  • Attendance in the Early Years Seminar -education for families through school entry
  • Attendance Workshops – good practice and processes


Carol Skinner - Education Welfare Officer

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • Certificate in Counselling Skills

  • Safeguarding Training

Experience/ area of expertise

Carol has been an Education Welfare Officer for over 10 years and has worked in education in a wider sense for almost 30 years including being the chair of a pre-school group and a school governor. Since joining Education Welfare in early 2008 she has worked closely with schools, parents, students, agencies and partners to identify, support and address school attendance issues. She works to problem solve matters affecting attendance and engagement with education and also supports schools to fulfil their attendance responsibilities and record keeping.

Carol has knowledge and understanding of legal matters relating to attendance including the prosecution of parents who fail to ensure their child receives an education.

Carol has also delivered Safeguarding Audits in schools to facilitate evaluation and improving practice in respect of safeguarding responsibilities.


Carol has substantial knowledge and experience in her field and has successfully addressed obstacles to reduce children’s days lost to education.

Training Carol can deliver



Karen Taylor - Education Welfare Officer

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • Diploma in Community Education (Youth and Community Work)
  • Level 3 Award in Education & Training.  Accredited qualified teacher status for the further education and skills sector
  • Level 2 Award in Basic Counselling Skills
  • Certificate in Solution Focused Therapy
  • Certificate in Motivational Interviewing
  • Certified Triple P Positive Parenting Programme Trainer
Experience/ area of expertise

Karen is a qualified Youth and Community Worker with 30 years’ experience of working in educational and community settings with children, young people and families.

She has a sound knowledge of the workings of the education system, is conversant with the legislation and regulations that govern school attendance and education enforcement and is experienced in supporting and challenging schools to address the barriers to education, improve school attendance and safeguard the welfare of their pupils.


Karen has recently qualified in Post 16 education enabling her to develop, deliver and evaluate a wide range of training programmes.

Karen has worked with a range of traded schools, both maintained and academy, to support them in addressing the barriers to education and improve their attendance.

Karen has developed and implemented an Attendance Week package which schools can use to raise the profile of good attendance throughout the school community.

Training Karen can deliver

Safeguarding training and audits

Jane Devereux - Education Welfare Officer

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • Higher National Certificate in Social Care Practice
  • Certificate of achievement in counselling skills
  • Certificate of achievement in teaching basic skills
Experience/ area of expertise

Jane has been an Education Welfare Officer for 14 years.

She has worked in various roles within the education service and in response to changing priorities and demand has also worked as an Education Investigation Officer undertaking legal work on behalf of Worcestershire County Council. She has an extensive knowledge of legal matters relating to school attendance.

Previous to this Jane worked in schools as a Teaching Assistant for children with additional needs and as a placement / liaison officer supporting young people in college and work placements.

Most recently, for the last two years Jane has been the Education Welfare Officer supporting children in the looked-after system.


Jane has been instrumental in developing the current role of the Education Welfare Officer for Worcestershire Children who are looked-after, and ensuring that vulnerable young people are able to access appropriate education.

Jane has a wealth of experience and training in safe-guarding and child protection.

Training Jane can deliver

School attendance training for carers.


Robert Webber - Education Welfare Officer

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • CSS – ICSC – Dip Education Welfare
  • ECDL
  • NVQ assessor D32 D3
  • Award in Education & Training (Level 3) Accredited qualified teacher status for the further education & skills sector
Experience/ area of expertise

Robert has worked within Education Welfare for more than 20 years. He is particularly focused on school attendance monitoring and enforcement as well as supporting children who are missing from education. Robert also delivers safeguarding children training to schools.


Robert has achieved a high level of experience and knowledge in his field and has successfully worked with traded schools to increase their overall attendance and address specific attendance related issues. He has successfully worked with children and families to overcome obstacles to regular attendance.

Training Robert can deliver

Safeguarding Children


Hilary Maxwell - Education Welfare Officer

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • BTEC National Diploma Childhood Studies
  • NCFE- Certificate in Counselling
  • AQA-Certificate in Counselling theory
  • Oplex Careers- Level 4 Anger management Counselling.
  • Oplex Careers- Level 3 Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness
Experience/ area of expertise

Hilary has worked in the Education Sector for the past 18 years, first working as a Teaching Assistant supporting students with a range of needs and abilities. Hilary then took up the role of Education Welfare Officer, working closely with schools, parents and students in the supporting capacity, assisting and equipping them with the knowledge of how to manage and maintain good school attendance and the benefits of doing so.

Hilary’s knowledge and expertise in education and welfare of students enable her to successfully work with parents, children and schools to identify needs and support or sign post as appropriate.


Hilary has assisted schools in setting up and putting attendance strategies and policies in place as part of the drive to improve educational outcomes. Hilary has also been key in raising the awareness not only in her schools but in the wider communities, that working together will result in the best outcomes and rewards for both schools and pupils.

Training Hilary can deliver

Attendance workshops to parents in schools


Clare Hubbard - Education Welfare Officer

Professional qualifications/accreditations
  • BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies
Experience/ area of expertise

Over the last 17 years Clare has worked in various roles that support children, young people and their families.

Having worked for the Children’s Duty and Assessment Team in social care for 3 years Clare gained experience of working with families in need of support as well as responding to child protection matters.

Becoming an Education Welfare Officer in 2004 Clare has developed her experience and expertise in dealing with attendance matters over the last 14 years. By successfully addressing persistent absence and ensuring a sound knowledge of legislation Clare has successfully supported many schools and families to improve attendance.

Having also spent a period of time working within the Early Help Team Clare has a sound overall understanding of the wider impacts of poor attendance and the need for early intervention.


Clares work in supporting Worcestershire primary schools has been featured in various publications. Her work has been recognised and celebrated as achieving improvements for individual and whole school attendance and in particular ‘Pupil Premium’ attendance.

Training Clare can deliver

Clare is able to offer support to schools with new intake evenings and parent’s evenings.


Gethin Howells - Children Missing Education Officer Exclusions and Hard to Place

Hayley Corbett - Elective Home Education Officer

Ben Westwood - Child Employment & Entertainment Officer

Contact the Education Welfare team:

01905 678138

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