About Naswe

Supporting attendance since 1884

Who are we?

Leaders in school attendance

NASWE is a national body of attendance professionals from a variety of educational settings across the UK, all coming together to support those, like you, who work hard to keep children in education.

Every one of our members brings something different from their role. We all help each other by sharing knowledge, ideas, and support, creating change for staff and students.  

What do we do?

Provide support for all school attendance practitioners

We connect attendance professionals, like you, from all over the country, and provide a place for conversation, resource sharing, and training.

Our collective strength gives us the power to influence big changes at government level. So whether you want to find answers or make your voice heard, NASWE is the place for you. 

What do we stand for?

Our values


We believe every child has a right to educational inclusion, no matter their background. And we support you in helping every one of them get just that, no matter your setting.


We’re not here to overwhelm you or make you feel bad. We’re here to help you feel confident in your abilities, through training, discussions, and providing resources.


We create long-term change through building relationships – with other attendance practitioners, parents, and policymakers. We’re stronger together.


Purpose, not profit

We’re here to use our collective skills and experience to keep children attending school, not to make money.


As education changes, we respond to the changing support needs of our members. And we look to the future – leading policy development as the needs of children change.

What’s our story?

Our history

  • NASWE began in 1884 to support school attendance workers – around the time education became compulsory.


  • Our name has changed a few times since then. We’ve been known as SAONA (School Attendance Officers National Association) and EWONA (Education Welfare Officers National Association). But NASWE has long become synonymous with attendance expertise and is therefore well recognised in government circles – so it’s stuck.


  • Like our name, education and attendance policy have evolved in the last 138 years, and we’ve adapted to the change. But what keeps us strong is that through it all our core purpose has remained the same: to use our expertise to help you help children attend school.

Where we are today

  • As a result, we’ve built a loyal membership of attendance practitioners spanning many sectors – all ready to offer support and share their experience to help other members.
  • We’re led by a team of the country’s greatest attendance experts, creating resources for our members to use and leading training sessions to share their wealth of knowledge.

  • Thanks to this collective knowledge and strength, we’re regularly invited to consult on education policy for the Department of Education and the House of Lords, representing the views of our members. 

Our future plans

  • To keep growing our membership so we can represent an even wider range of attendance practitioners from different settings at government level.

  • To build area-specific support networks for better lobbying power at local government level.

  • To create a professional accreditation for attendance professionals, so practitioners can feel confident in doing the right thing, benefitting children as a result.

  • To support our members through the rapid change in attendance policy following the pandemic.

We’re stronger together – join us FREE today!

Want to see what we have on offer?

Meet the Leadership team

NASWE is run by some of the leading experts in attendance and welfare. But not only do they hold influential positions advising on attendance educational policy; like you, they’re also on the ground working hard in schools to increase attendance. So, they know the challenges you face first hand.

Tracy McLennan

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 and set up her own independent Education Welfare Support agency. She sits on a group for Attendance Leads supporting a shared approach to attendance across England and also sits as a School Governor.

Karen Stewart

Karen was inspired by her own experiences to help children reach their potential, and change the cultural values of educational settings to allow that to happen. For her, this means working to better understand others’ perspectives – both those of schools and families, but also professionals from other sectors like social care and medical care. With this 360 degree view, she can provide better support through ideas and strategies that will work in those settings, and break down the barriers to working together for the interest of the children.

As a result, Karen has been instrumental in increasing schools’ attendance to above 95% as part of her work with Educo Advisory, has developed attendance policy, stood as a representative on Governance boards and working-party committees, and spoken at the Attendance Administrators National Conference in 2017.

Nigel Shaddick

Nigel attended 22 different schools growing up, while his family travelled all over the world. As a result, he saw first-hand the life-changing chances education gives children. With this passion for the importance of learning, he began a 20-year career in the education sector. 

His work has spanned primary and secondary education, family work, safeguarding training, and mental health. He’s worked for local authorities and academy trusts, written reports for the government on attendance matters and developed his own online platform for recording safeguarding concerns, called My Concern. 

As a Prosecutor in school attendance matters for Suffolk Magistrates courts, he increased county attendance from 90% to 93.4%, and he led the development of the Children Missing Education policy (CME) within his local authority.