Tens of thousands of children who are providing unpaid care for parents, siblings and family members will be prevented from slipping under the radar of teachers in classrooms up and down the country, thanks to a far-reaching new initiative.
The Young Carers in Schools Programme aims to provide education professionals with resources and training to ensure young carers get vital support. A staggering 166,363 children in England are caring for their parents, siblings and family members according to the latest Census data.
The organisations behind this initiative - Carers Trust and Young Carers in Focus led by The Children’s Society - believe this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Recent analysis has revealed that young carers are lagging behind in school and risk missing out on their childhoods due to the demands placed on them by their caring role.
Around one in 20 young carers miss school because of the amount of support they have to provide at home
Young carers also have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level - the equivalent to nine grades lower overall than their peers
A quarter (26%) of young carers were bullied because of their caring role
To coincide with the launch, statistics released today show the extent of young carers in every part of the country.
Thea Stein, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, said: “This programme will help schools to stop and think about how taking on the responsibilities of caring impacts on every aspect of a young carer’s life. We will be working closely with schools to ensure they have the guidance, resources and training they need to support young carers and ensure they can achieve their potential.”
The Children’s Society Chief Executive Matthew Reed said: “An alarming amount of young carers are having their lives turned upside down, juggling school work and looking after their loved ones.
“We care passionately about their welfare and exposing the scale of the issue is simply not enough. That is why we are working with schools to improve the support these young carers get so that it is consistent across the country. One young carer slipping under the radar is one young carer too many.”
Schools and local authorities interested in taking part in can visit youngcarer.com/ycinschools. As part of the programme, schools can apply for a bronze, silver and gold award.