About Peninsula Education
Education Welfare Officers that care
At Peninsula Education, we help schools and academies across the whole of Devon, Cornwall, and the South West increase their attendance and reduce persistent absence.
It all started with wanting to create a more flexible and personal Education Welfare Service for schools.
Having worked for 20 years as a teacher, SENCO, Assistant Headteacher, and also as the Principal Education Welfare Officer for Cornwall, I understood the challenges faced by both sides in increasing attendance.
But when my daughter became extremely ill, I also learned first-hand what it was like to be a parent of a child with significant medical needs who was facing an extended absence.
I decided to resign from my position to care for her full time. As she recovered, I knew I wanted to use my combined knowledge as a teacher, Education Welfare Officer, and parent of a child with special attendance needs to help schools and parents with an all-round approach that would raise attendance rates and keep them there through sustained support and training.
Then an ex-colleague working with a school struggling with low attendance asked me to come in and help them as a consultant.
After reviewing their current processes, I put new strategies in place and supported the school in upholding them by meeting parents, holding attendance clinics, conducting home visits, training staff, and where necessary issuing warning letters. Thanks to this all-round approach attendance levels increased, along with attainment and progress.
The Headteacher was so impressed that she recommended me to the other schools in the Multi-Academy Trust. A few months later I was working with all seven primary schools, and Peninsula Education was born.
From that one request, we now support a whole range of settings across the South West, from primary schools to secondary schools and APA’s (Alternative Provision Academy). We’ve grown to include a whole team of experienced staff, all with a passion for using their experience to support the education and welfare of children. And schools continue to refer to us through word of mouth – making us proud that they value the work we do and want to share that with colleagues.
We’re excited to see how we can support you, both remotely and in-person, to successfully improve your attendance. And we look forward to meeting you on our training courses both in-person across the South West and online wherever you are in the country.
Have a look around our Support and Training pages and get in touch to see how we can help you.
We’d love to hear from you.
The Peninsula Education Team
Tracy McLennan, Director
Tracy has worked in education for over 20 years, beginning in the classroom as a science teacher for nine years and then working with the Local Authority as an Education Welfare Officer. Passionate about supporting the needs and welfare of children, she is a qualified Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENDCO) and was an Assistant Headteacher and experienced Senior Leader in secondary schools, supporting learners with SEND. Tracy was working as Principal Education Welfare Lead within her Local Authority when she was inspired to develop a more flexible support model for schools. She sits on a group for Attendance Leads supporting a shared approach to attendance across England, and also sits as a School Governor.
Fran Pender, Education Welfare Officer
Fran joined the Peninsula Education team in 2019 with over 30 years of experience working in Education Welfare. Originally working for the Local Authority, Fran looked after schools across Cornwall as an Education Welfare Officer whilst also taking on the role of Family Group Conference Coordinator and working in Conflict Resolution and Family Therapy. Passionate about improving the welfare of vulnerable people across all areas of life, Fran has volunteered with Women’s Aid and community kitchens in Penzance. She is also an experienced School Governor.
Clare Martin, Education Welfare Officer
Clare has worked in the education sector since graduating from the University of Leeds in 2015 and was thrilled to join the Peninsula Education team in 2020. As an experienced teacher of English as a Second Language, she has taught in schools and colleges all over the world, from Europe to China, New Zealand, and Australia. As a result, she is a specialist in working with students with English as an Additional Language (EAL) – supporting them and their teachers in developing English skills so they feel comfortable and excited coming to school.
Rachel Jarman, Education Welfare Officer
Rachel has worked as an Education Welfare Officer for 16 years, bringing a wealth of experience from her previous career running sports clubs for disadvantaged children to change the lives of hard-to-reach pupils. With a joyful and positive attitude, she is highly skilled at both connecting with and motivating children and caregivers. And she uses her dedicated and passionate approach, her knowledge of educational issues, and her innovative toolkit to engage young people to attend school and achieve their potential. Committed to inclusion in education, Rachel also held the EWO role for the Cornwall Equality and Diversity Service for 12 years, and is a specialist in Gypsy, Roma and Travellers’ education.
Debbie Berryman, Education Welfare Officer
Debbie brings a valuable set of skills to the Peninsula Education team from her 20-year career in pastoral care. Having worked closely with other Education Welfare Officers in previous roles as both a Pastoral Lead and an Attendance Officer, Debbie knows exactly what’s required by the attendance practitioners we work with. Passionate about exploring the wider issues that create barriers to education for children, she fosters excellent working relationships with students and their families, building trust with her fair and non-judgemental approach. And with particular experience in schools in remote locations, she understands the unique challenges faced by these schools in getting young people to attend regularly and go on to achieve their full potential.
Sally Caslake, Education Welfare Officer
Sally recently joined Peninsula Education after 15 years in classrooms as a Science and Maths Teacher and eight years in leadership roles, including a period as Head of Year. It was during these years she saw what her students could achieve when in a happy, safe, and secure environment and was inspired to bring her extensive set of skills to pastoral care. Her on-the-ground knowledge of SEND and issues such as bullying and exclusion are invaluable both to the team at Peninsula Education and her work in education welfare, and with her personable, caring and empathetic approach, she’s built a number of successful cases across the county.
What to look for when employing an Education Welfare Company
Tip 1: Be clear on what services the Local Authority will provide as part of its statutory and/or core offer. All Local Authorities will
Working together to improve school attendance – School Attendance Policies
The new Schools Bill which was introduced in May 2022 is one of the most significant updates seen in the Education Sector in recent years.