Young people with caring responsibilities often go unnoticed in their communities, yet the effects of caring can be staggering on their lives. Taking on the physical and emotional demands of supporting a family member as they battle with long term sickness, disability, mental ill health or addiction is a lot for young minds to deal with.
Over a quarter of young carers miss school or experience educational difficulties, leading to poor academic attainment and limited career opportunities for many of them. Young carers aged 16-18 years old are more than twice as likely as their peers to be out of school, employment or training. All the time that these young people spend caring for someone else means their own wellbeing and their own future can be neglected.
Schools are vital and ideally positioned to play a collaborative role in identifying young carers and initiating support for them and families.
Existing mechanisms like the Pupil Premium (in primary and secondary schools) can be targeted to support this vulnerable group who are four times more likely than their non caring peers to live in households where no adult works.
However, current provision of support for young carers within schools is patchy across the UK. Feedback from our young carers and the services that support them indicate a vast inconsistency across the country in embedding effective identification and support frameworks for young carers and their families. Some schools have established excellent practice to identify and support pupils who have caring responsibilities, where many others do not have anything in place.
Senior Policy Manager for Young and Young Adult Carers, Anna Morris, comments:
“Children with caring responsibilities have a right to fully benefit from their schooling, their friendships and the opportunities life has to offer. We hope this resource will highlight the importance of supporting young carers and provide the practical starting point to ensure that schools embed a clear framework for the identification and support of young carers and their families, which is reflected in the schools policies, practice, training and communication with parents.”