At the Tudor Grange Samworth Academy, we believe that all children and young people have the right to an education, regardless of their home circumstances. We acknowledge that there are likely to be carers amongst our students, and that being a Young Carer can have an adverse effect on a young person’s education.
Last week the academy observed National Carers Week (week commencing 12th June 2017). All secondary students received presentations during tutor time focusing on what a young carer looks like and offering advice and support to those affected. We also enhanced our dedicated Young Carer’s display board offering news and further advice, which included Celebrity Stories from Tulisa Contostavlos (N-Dubz) and Ortise Williams (JLS), who were themselves Young Carers.
Definition of a Young Carer
Any person under the age of 18 whose life is affected by looking after someone else. This involves carrying out a variety of tasks and responsibilities, which are additional to those appropriate for their age. The person/people that they care for may have one or more of the following:
- Physical disability or illness
- Mental health issues
- Learning difficulties
- Addiction issues
The person they care for may be a parent, relative or guardian and this care may be both physical and/or emotional. Caring responsibilities may include:
- Personal Care (e.g. bathing, dressing, feeding)
- Collecting, prompting and administering medications
- Household shopping
- Budgeting and paying bills
- Looking after siblings and other family members
- Providing excessive emotional support
Known impact of being a Young Carer
There are estimated to be in excess of 700,000 under 18’s who have caring responsibilities in the UK.
- This is known to affect a young person’s health, social life and self confidence
- Many struggle to juggle education and caring creating additional stress and pressure
- In approximately 40% of cases, school were not aware of a young person’s role as a carer
- 1 in 20 students miss school as a result of caring for somebody else
- 26% of young carers have experiencing bullying in school, associated with their caring responsibilities.
- Being a carer can also develop a young person’s life skills and promote maturity, if the correct support and guidance is in place.
What are we doing about this issue?
We are currently working towards being able to relieve some of the worries that Young Carers may have about their home school life, to demonstrate our belief that their education is also a priority. We are being supported by the NHS and Barnardo’s and now have appointed Young Carers Champions amongst our staff team (Miss Mann, Miss Perkins and Miss Pantling).
We are hoping to ensure that Young Carers and their parents can be honest about caring responsibilities, so that we can offer assistance where it is needed. This initiative is not about prying, blaming or reporting concerns to Social Services. It is about identifying our young carers and ensuring that they are supported to thrive academically and enjoy childhood whilst meeting their various responsibilities.
We launched a student resource board in January 2017 which is dedicated to this cause. We have also devised a pattern of care form, so that we can understand what care looks life for each individual. An academy policy has been drafted and we hope to embed an approach to this issue going forwards in consultation with the National Carers Trust. We will also be providing regular updates of our progress.
If your child is a young carer (see definition) please speak to a member of staff, so that we can assess if they require any additional support in school.
We may also be able to facilitate additional support for the person being cared for. Nothing is done or agreed without parental consent. Let us try and help, what have you got to lose?
(Young Carers Champion, Deputy Safeguarding and LAC Lead)