This week’s network hub: The National Association of Social Workers in Education (Naswe)
History: Naswe was founded in 1884 and is one of the oldest professional associations in the UK. The association acts as the voice for those working to promote school attendance and social inclusion in education across the UK. Naswe’s primary function is to be the professional voice on school attendance and inclusion in education and social care policy development.
One reason for its longevity has been both the profession’s and the association’s ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment while maintaining its core values. Its mission statement, “for every child a chance”, was adopted long before the Every Child Matters agenda came in to being.
Members: Naswe is a membership organisation run by members for members. This ensures those professionals who are directly affected and have working knowledge on issues of school attendance and social inclusion lead it.
Its membership of around 500 is predominately made up of education welfare officers and education social workers, but it is open to anyone who considers themselves to be working on these issues.
Stephen Mason, a senior education officer for attendance and exclusions for Cumbria Council, is president of the association.
Naswe has 11 regional co-ordinators across the UK who liaise with members.
Activities: Much of the association’s work concerns the promotion of education inclusion for all children. It has also worked on establishing national occupational standards in practice, and on recruitment and training and professional development of staff at all levels.
Its members represent Naswe on government consultations; they are involved in ongoing dialogue with different government
departments, sit on a range of steering and reference groups and work co-operatively with other professional associations and
Naswe is also a member of the Children’s Services’ Professional Network, which published United Minds, United Purposes: A charter for modern professionalism in children’s services earlier this year. Naswe also undertakes projects on specific issues.
One recently completed project, funded by Children’s Workforce Development Council, included a survey of existing qualifications of education welfare officers and education social workers and the development of a qualification framework.
This work is consistent with the push for an integrated qualification framework.
A new project starting shortly will shed light on the range and breadth of casework currently being undertaken by education
welfare officers, education social workers and those in related fields to help Naswe identify gaps in services as well as quantifying the significant contribution that these workers make to supporting children and families.
Events: Naswe runs a national training conference every year as well as providing regional events, regular newsletters and
The association provides networking opportunities for people working in the field through e-mail, conferences, discussion
forums and news on its website.
➔ United Minds, United Purposes: A charter for modern professionalism in children’s services