UNISON City of Edinburgh is deeply concerned by the decision made by City of Edinburgh Council to delete the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) Service from its books. This being despite our warnings that the removal of these posts will be detrimental to the children of Edinburgh who need additional support. EWO’s play a crucial role, working with our schools and the children’s families to address the issue of repeated absenteeism. They offer direct support to struggling households providing answers and solutions to the problems that vex many of our children.
At its November meeting, City of Edinburgh Council voted against reversing the removal of these posts. This happened despite a joint proposal put forward by the SNP and Greens which aimed to reverse the £600k cut to the EWO Service. The decision to remove these posts was supported by the Labour Group with the complete support of all Lib Dem and Conservative Councillors.
Graham Neal, from the UNISON City of Edinburgh branch, spoke on behalf of the EWO’s and asked why the Council was prepared to lose such an important and vital service, questioning the understanding behind such a decision. Emphasis was also made in regard to the adverse effect this cut would have on the city’s most vulnerable children and families as well as the significant impact on the Council’s ability to fulfil its statutory commitments.
Graham went on to add that the fateful decision taken by the Labour Administration and their partners not to support the SNP/Green proposal to protect Education Welfare Officer posts sends a concerning message about their commitment to safeguarding the future of our city’s children. It is deeply disappointing that regardless of the genuine concerns raised by school staff, parents and UNISON the Labour Administration appear more interested in balancing the books than protecting the well-being and future of our city’s children and families.