Alexandra Primary School has been given a Bronze award for their work to make sure students don’t miss out on an education because they are young carers.
The Young Carers in Schools programme helps primary and secondary schools improve outcomes for young carers and celebrates good practice through the Young Carers in Schools Award.
“At Alexandra Primary School we are committed to identifying and supporting Young Carers that attend our school. We recognise that these young people may need some extra support. By running a Young Carers group in school, we aim to give children protected time to explore any issues they may be having, with others in a similar situation. It also gives them some protected time to let loose and ‘be a kid’ without the additional worries that they usually have. During the group we play games together, undertake craft or cooking activities, finish homework, etc. The children also have easy access to talk quietly to a trusted adult about issues which may be worrying them.” - J Bird
“Going to the group each week is important to us because it allows us to have free time and ‘clear our brains’ of stress and worries for a little while. We get to talk to other Young Carers about what is going on for us, because all of us are Young Carers we don’t have to worry about others not understanding.” - APS Young Carers Group
Young carers are responsible for emotional, practical or physical care for a parent, sibling or other family member who has a physical disability, mental health issue or substance misuse issue. The 2011 Census statistics revealed that there are just over 166,000 young carers in England, but research reveals that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The true figure could be closer to 700,000 young carers in England, equivalent to one in 12 school children many of whom are unrecognised and unsupported.
Research carried out by Carers Trust and The Children's Society shows that, on average, young carers miss or cut short 48 school days a year and often have lower levels of self-confidence, mental wellbeing and significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level, because of their caring role. Ofsted's Common Inspection Framework states that inspectors will look at how well schools support young carers. While some schools are doing this really well, others struggle and this causes real problems for young carers.
To help schools support young carers, the programme offers a step-by-step guide for leaders, teachers and non-teaching staff, with practical tools designed to make it as easy as possible for schools. Staff can also receive training through webinars and events and the programme also features a newsletter each term highlighting relevant policy developments, spotlighting good practice and giving updates on the programme’s successes.
“To achieve their Bronze Award Alexandra Primary has demonstrated that it supports young carers in many ways, including homework clubs and drop-in sessions with a member of staff who is responsible for this vulnerable group of pupils. Vital information about how to identify young carers is made available to all school staff, and noticeboards and the school webpage let students and their families know where to go for help”. - Carers Trust
The programme is open to all schools in England and to sign up schools just need to visit www.youngcarersinschools.com
Giles Meyer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, today congratulated Award-winning schools, saying: “The Young Carers in Schools programme is helping to transform schools and support staff across England. Schools play a vital role in a young carer’s life, as many care for relatives without their teachers even knowing what they do. On average young carers will miss a day of school each month as a result of their caring role, so the steps schools take to identify and support them can have a huge impact on their learning, wellbeing and life chances.”
Helen Leadbitter, national young carers lead at The Children’s Society, is delighted that the Young Carers in Schools Programme is bringing about national change.
“Hundreds of schools across England are participating in the Young Carers in Schools programme, using the tools and resources to improve their support systems, and ensuring that no child need miss out on educational opportunities because they are a carer. 74% of schools who have achieved a Young Carers in Schools Award have noticed improved attendance among their young carers, and 94% have noticed improvements in their wellbeing and confidence.”
Carers Trust is the UK’s largest charity providing services to unpaid carers, young carers and young adult carers. We work to make sure that carers of all ages are not overlooked or deprived of services they need, and this is underpinned in our vision – a world where the role and contribution of unpaid carers is recognised, and where they have access to the quality support services they need to live their own lives. We support over 465,000 carers across the UK, including over 30,000 young carers.
Through its network of carers services, Carers Trust supports thousands of young and young adult carers.
We do this with a UK wide network of quality assured independent partners, through our unique online services and through the provision of grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives.
There are seven million carers in the UK. Please visit our website www.carers.org for further information about your nearest service.
The Children’s Society
It is a painful fact that many children and young people in Britain today are still suffering extreme hardship, abuse and neglect. Too often their problems are ignored and their voices unheard. Now it is time to listen and to act.
The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn.
We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future.