Young carers to get more support from schools
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Young people who care for a relative are set to receive more support from their schools as part of a major initiative being launched nationwide.
As part of a project jointly managed by the Carers Trust and The Children's Society, called the Young Carers in Schools Programme, schools will be able to sign up to receive guidance and tips on how to support young carers.
Regional networks of schools will also be established in order to share innovative work and training.
It is expected that hundreds of schools will sign up for the programme in the first wave.
The nationwide launch follows a pilot phase that was run in 16 areas.
Schools will be able to achieve bronze, silver or gold status dependent on the quality of support they offer.
Jenny Frank, young carer programme director at The Children’s Society, said: “We are not just telling schools to improve, we are giving them a clear set of steps to help them improve their support systems, and then recognising the work they do with young carers.”
A key part of guidance being offered to schools is on identifying young carers, who are often caring for relatives without their schools knowing.
Carers Trust chief executive Gail Scott-Spicer said: “Schools are vital part of a young carer’s life, but many care for relatives without their teachers even knowing what they do.”
Scott-Spicer adds that latest research shows that on average young carers will miss half a day of school every two weeks due to their caring role.
“How schools treat them can have a huge effect on their learning, wellbeing and life chances,” she said.
Latest figures from the 2011 Census show there were around 166,000 young carers, but it is believed the true figure could be around 700,000.
Research by the Carers Trust and The Children’s Society has found that young carers are more likely to have lower grades, suffer from mental illness and have low self-esteem.