Compass Primary’s EWO goes ‘above and beyond’ for the school community
Compass Primary Academy’s Education Welfare Officer Fran Dunn goes ‘above and beyond’ to support students and families at the school.
Fran and her colleagues have introduced many initiatives to help families, whether they are new to the country, the school, or simply struggling to get their children to lessons on time with the equipment and uniform they need. Fran is on a mission to help students and parents as she knows at first-hand how crucial school support can be:
‘I was a pupil premium child from a single parent family in a deprived area so I don’t believe that there should be reasons for children not to be successful. Whatever the barriers are, none of that should dictate where they should go in the future.
‘When a child arrives from a different school, or is going through a difficult situation and becomes disengaged, the satisfaction of building a positive relationship to get them back on track and achieving is immense. It is about building ambition in our children.’
Fran and Compass Primary provide a range of support, including helping parents with literacy, inviting them in to share activities with their children and even supplying uniforms and food for those in need.
‘We have a growing number of families using foodbanks and some have only eaten because Compass has provided for them and their children. Staff bring in donations and we supply clothes, food and emergency supplies for families in crisis.’
At Christmas Fran made a list of essentials and staff bought, wrapped and donated nearly 180 gifts which were hugely appreciated by the recipients. ‘The hampers were so well received. The parents were so emotional as they felt like they were not on their own anymore. We are never going to be a school that says “it is not our job to supply that” because these are our children.’
Fran first started at Compass as a midday supervisor, then became a teaching assistant before taking on her current role. ‘This is my sixth year here and I feel supported by the school and Trust as I have been on lots of professional development courses. I am also currently studying part time for a degree as well.
‘I would just like to spread the message that we are approachable. Whatever the issue we are not going to judge parents, but help them. We want them to succeed so that their children, in turn, can succeed.’
Personal development, behaviour and welfare at the school were judged as Good by Ofsted in its most recent report. They noted: ‘There is a culture of care that is evident in pupils of all ages and is supported by the positive role models provided by leaders and staff … Relationships are very positive.’
Vice Principal Nicole Andrews said: ‘After another external review we have had glowing reports about our pastoral and nurture provision and our relentless and determined approach to supporting families and children. They have been blown away with how we support our school community. Fran goes above and beyond for our families every single day and she has been called a “professional friend” by those who have benefited from her expertise and dedication.’