Research shows that young adult carers miss an average of 48 school days a year because of their caring role, and that they are four times more likely to drop out of college or university than a young person who isn’t a carer.
Young adult carers are likely to achieve a grade less at GCSE than their peers, and 35% had not informed their school that they were a carer — while 25% hadn’t told their college or university.
The six charities behind Carers Week 2015 are calling on teaching professionals to take note of the vast army of young carers and young adult carers who are providing practical and emotional support to their sick or disabled family members, and to demonstrate how they are building carer-friendly communities by ensuring they receive the support they need.
Carers Trust’s On the Map campaign is contacting every local authority in the UK to ask them what they are doing to support young adult carers, while primary and secondary schools are being urged to join the Young Carers in Schools Awards.
Gail Scott-Spicer, CEO of Carers Trust, said: “The life of a young carer is very stressful as they are constantly juggling their school and college work with caring for a parent or sibling, and when exam time comes around the pressure can sometimes be unbearable. That is why we want teaching professionals and anyone working with young people to consider whether they could be a young carer and help give them the support they need.
“They may be late for school or university, miss classes, fall asleep in the class, not quite make the grade because they haven’t had a chance to study or lack concentration in class because they are thinking about the person they care for. Staff can empathise and help them to work out a programme which helps them to reduce the stress in an already busy and complicated lifestyle.”
Nineteen-year-old student and carer Becky, said: “I strongly believe that young carers should have further support throughout education, in particular in colleges and university. Studying at university is hard enough but with added extras going on at home it can be a very stressful time. If more support was available at this level more carers would feel they can achieve their goals to get the career they wish to pursue.”
Carers Trust response to new BBC young carer survey data
Giles Meyer, CEO of Carers Trust, said:
“This new data blows all previous figures out of the water, revealing a generation of young carers who are being neglected by society."