Tens of thousands of children 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 - because of a far-reaching new schools programme.
The Children’s Society and Carers Trust worked alongside other charities to launch the Young Carers in Schools Programme, providing education staff with resources and training to make sure 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 the 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 reveals that young carers are lagging behind in school and missing out on their childhoods because of the demands placed on them. This includes:
Around one in 20 young carers miss school because of the amount of support they have to provide at home₁.
Young carers also have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level - the equivalent to nine grades lower overall than their peers₂.
A quarter (26%) of young carers were bullied because of their caring role.
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.”
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.”
Schools can apply for a bronze, silver and gold Young Carers in Schools Award, as part of the programme.
Schools and local authorities interested in taking part in the Young Carers in Schools Programme should visit youngcarer.com/ycinschools