Posted: 09 August 2017

Supporting young carers in schools

Incredibly, it’s August already and the school holidays are in full swing. A six-week chance to recoup, regroup and enjoy a well-deserved break.

But while many take this time to rest, others take the opportunity to plan ahead for the children and young people who will be coming in to their care. A new class in September will undoubtedly bring a fresh set of faces, personalities and, importantly, a set of new student circumstances that will need to be accounted for.

New faces, new circumstances

Many young people returning to school in September will have caring responsibilities at home – for a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend or other family member.

There are just over 166,000 young carers in England - but additional research suggests 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.

Ofsted’s Common Inspection Framework specifically identifies this group as vulnerable and in need of extra support in school.

The impact of caring

Research - that we carried out alongside Carers Trust - shows that on average, young carers miss or cut short 48 school days a year. They often have lower levels of self-confidence, mental well-being and significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level.

To help schools and colleges support young carers, we work in in partnership with The Carer’s Trust to bridge this gap and deliver the Young Carers in Schools programme.

What is the Young Carers in Schools programme?

The programme is made up of:

  • A series of online tools and resources, 
  • Awareness raising and professional development events
  • A termly e-newsletter
  • The nationally recognised Young Carers in Schools award.

A review of the programme has seen 72 participating schools providing key data.

Well-being and confidence

A huge 94% of schools said they have noticed improvements in the well-being and confidence of young carers and 97% said they had a better understanding about the type of support young carers may need.

Positive impacts in school

The review also shows that 89% of schools had identified more young carers in their schools and 60% had seen a positive impact in their achievement of young carers in school.

74% of schools had noticed an improved attendance among young carers

78% identified that young carers were better connected or supported by other organisations

61% reported that young carers were more able to engage in extracurricular activities

100% would recommend Young Carers in Schools to other schools

Improving well-being, confidence and support

Unidentified and unsupported, the responsibilities of young carers can seriously affect their attainment, attendance, personal development and welfare.

But as our Young Carers in Schools programme shows, recognising and supporting young carers could be key to minimising the damage.

It is vital that schools include it in their timetable at the start of the new academic year.

Find out more about the programme


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