Parent support adviser

Parent support advisers (sometimes known as education welfare officers or family support advisers) work with schools, pupils and families to resolve issues of poor attendance. They overcome barriers to learning to help parents support their children’s learning. Closely linked to this job is schools attendance officer.

What's involved

Responsibilities may include:

  • meeting with school staff, pupils and parents to identify problems and possible solutions
  • advising parents and carers about their legal responsibility to ensure their children receive an education up to the age of 16, and taking action through the magistrates court if necessary
  • helping families to receive all the benefits and help they are entitled to, for example financial help with school meals, transport and clothing
  • making referrals to other agencies, such as social services, educational psychologists, health professionals or the careers service
  • making home visits or meeting pupils and parents in school to provide ongoing support
  • encouraging parents to make good relationships with the school
  • helping arrange alternative education for pupils who are excluded from school
  • doing administrative tasks such as writing up case notes, sending letters to parents and preparing court reports
  • advising on child protection issues and preparing reports on pupils with special educational needs

Skills and experience you'll need

  • good listening skills and an understanding of common family problems
  • the ability to deal with private information and sensitive issues
  • a calm and confident approach in difficult situations
  • the ability to work well with pupils, parents, teachers and other professionals
  • an understanding of the law about education and keeping children safe
  • teamwork and networking skills to work with a range of other agencies

Entry requirements

Entry requirements vary. Most schools would require experience working with families and young people. Some schools may require a relevant qualification in teaching, youth worth, social work or a similar discipline, so check locally what the expectations are.

Training and development

Parent Support Advisers can expand their knowledge by taking qualifications such as:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Work with Parents
  • Level 2 and 3 Diplomas in Health and Social Care
  • Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce
  • Advanced diploma in counselling
  • Foundation degree/HND in family support work
  • Degree in social work, childhood studies or working with families and children

Postgraduate awards in child and family studies are also available for experienced staff who have a degree.

If you need more help speak to the person responsible for your career development or your Union Learning Representative.

Useful links

Have a look at the school attendance and family support role profiles under the pupil support and welfare job family to find out more about the different levels you could work at.

Job profile of an education welfare officer - National Careers Website

For more information in Scotland, contact Skills Development Scotland

In Northern Ireland contact Careers Service Northern Ireland  

In Wales / Cymru contact Careers Wales