1 Oct 2015

A national award which recognises schools’ support for children and young people with caring responsibilities is gaining momentum across the country.
 
The Young Carers in School Award has now been given to 23 more schools in recognition of their support for young carers who face the challenge of juggling caring responsibilities alongside their education.
 
Led by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society, the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards are part of the Young Carers in Schools programme, which recognises good practice.

The programme provides schools with step-by-step guidance, practical tools, webinars, professional development events and a termly e-Newsletter to make it as easy as possible for schools to support pupils with caring responsibilities.
 
Launched in April 2015, the Young Carers in School Award was initially awarded to 15 schools for their work with young carers. Recent research by Carers Trust and The Children's Society revealed that young carers miss or cut short an average of 48 school days a year. They also often have lower levels of self-confidence, mental wellbeing, and significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level than children who are not young carers.
 
Craig Thomas, Operational Headteacher of Bartholomew School in Eynsham, which received a Gold Young Carer in School Award, said: “We are very proud to have become the first school in Oxfordshire to be recognised nationally for our work with young carers.
 
“We recognise that being a young carer can have a significant impact on young people’s lives academically, socially and emotionally. At Bartholomew School we work hard to identify young carers, ensure they feel valued and supported, and improve the support they receive, both in school and in the community, to enable them to be safe, secure and successful.”
 
Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to honour these schools, which have done so much to help young carers.
 
“Schools play a vital role in a young carer’s life, but many care for relatives without their teachers even knowing what they do. On average young carers will miss half a day of school each fortnight 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.”
 
Jenny Frank, Young Carer Programme director at The Children’s Society, said: “It is great news that 23 new schools have achieved the Young Carers in School Standard award through their committed support of young carers. It shows that more and more schools are taking their responsibility to support young carers seriously and providing them with chances to learn and achieve alongside their peers.”
 
The Young Carers in Schools programme is open to all schools in England. To sign up, schools need to register at http://youngcarersinschools.com
 
Media enquiries
 
For more information please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.
 
Notes for Editors

• 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 problems.
• The 2011 Census revealed there just over 166,000 young carers in England. 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.
• The Young Carers in Schools programme has been developed by teachers and school staff and is funded by The Queen’s Trust and Big Lottery Fund.
• Carers Trust is the UK’s largest charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. We do this with our Network Partners - a unique network of independent carers’ services. Together we work as one organisation united by a shared vision for carers - to make sure that information, advice and practical support are available to all carers across the UK.There are seven million carers in the UK. Please visit www.carers.org for further information about your nearest service.
• 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. Our supporters around the country fund our services and join our campaigns to show children and young people they are on their side.www.childrenssociety.org.uk
• The Young Carers in Focus (YCiF) programme, led by The Children’s Society, brings partners together from YMCA Fairthorne Manor, DigitalMe, Rethink Mental Illness and The Fatherhood Institute. The four-year programme, running until 2016, is funded by the Big Lottery Fund. YCiF aims to give young carers a voice so they can share their experiences and improve public understanding about the issues they face. More than 200 children are being recruited as “champions” to help raise awareness. Messages from YCiF will reach 450,000 young people in over 9,000 schools over four years, through the www.makewav.es/ycif site.
• The Fatherhood Institute is the UK's fatherhood ‘think-and-do’ tank (charity reg. no. 1075104). Our vision is for a society that gives all children a strong and positive relationship with their father and any father-figures; supports both mothers and fathers as earners and carers; and prepares boys and girls for a future shared role in caring for children.
• Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness. For 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness. We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone. We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.
• YMCA Fairthorne Group is committed to ‘championing and adding value to young lives by providing experiences that challenge, enable and develop the individual'. In 2000 the Young carers Festival (YCF) was created by YMCA Fairthorne Group in partnership with The Children’s Society. The annual event brings together up to 1,500young carers from across the UK for a weekend of fun, relaxation and consultation.
• DigitalMe runs a series of projects and programmes that put the power of social media in the hands of young people; the impact on the young people involved can be life-changing. Many participants, and the people who support them, have demonstrated enormous improvements in confidence, aspiration, and attitude to learning and life skills that will last them a lifetime. Messages from YCiF will reach 450,000 young people in over 9,000 schools over four years, through the www.makewav.es site.
• The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invests over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 it has have awarded over £6.5billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £33 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.
• The Queen's Trust formed on the occasion of The Queen's Silver Jubilee, The Queen's Trust supports disadvantaged young people, with a focus on the United Kingdom. It funds a small group of charities that help young people overcome major obstacles to long-term success and has a particular interest in education, personal development, volunteering and supporting vulnerable families. It will spend out and close by 2019.