New resources to help schools identify and support young carers

Today (24 November), charities Carers Trust and The Children’s Society have released an updated guide to help teachers and school staff identify and support young carers as easily as possible.

The refreshed guide has been released ahead of January 2023, when schools are being asked to include young carers in the school census.

The launch also coincides with Carers Rights Day. 

This year, the annual event has the theme ‘Caring costs and aims’ to ensure:

– Carers are aware of their rights

– Help carers find out where to get support

– Raise awareness of the pressures unpaid carers are facing and the support they need

‘The Young Carers in Schools Step-by step Guide for Leaders, Teaches and Non-teaching staff’ is designed for use in primary and secondary schools.

It has been updated following feedback to ensure it is as up-to-date and relevant as possible.

A Welsh language edition will also be created in the coming months.

The guide is part of the ‘Young Carers in Schools’ programme which provides resources to help identify young carers and embed support for them in schools. The program is jointly run by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society.

The Young Carers in Schools (YCiS) website has now been updated to make it more accessible and user friendly than ever. The site includes information about the programme with resources and the award schools can apply for.

On 10 January from 11am to 11:45am, there will be an online YCiS Overview and Question and Answer (Q&A) session where people can find out more about the programme.

If you are interested in taking part, click here.

Research by both charities show: 

-Young carers on average achieved one grade lower per subject in GCSEs than their peers without caring responsibilities – the difference between nine Cs and nine Ds (The Children’s Society, 2013). 

–  Just 34% of young carers say their school or college “always” or “usually’” understands about them being a young carer – this means around two-thirds of young carers spend their days in environments where they don’t feel fully understood (Carers Trust, 2022).

– As many as one in five secondary aged pupils have caring responsibilities. The total figure of young carers in England is not known which means many young carers continue to remain hidden and unsupported.

The charities said that schools previously involved in the YCiS programme have seen a positive impact on young carers’ wellbeing, confidence and academic attainment.

The programme has also better equipped schools around awareness, identification and support. Figures show:

–   83% of young carers demonstrated an increase in confidence

–   63% reported improvements in young carers’ achievements

–  94% of schools said staff were more likely to know what to do if they identified a young carer

 –  94% had a better understanding of the support required for young carers

Vicky Morgan, Head of Young Carers and Young Adult Carers at Carers Trust, said: “Young carers have the extra pressure of juggling their school work with caring responsibilities at home but support from teachers and school teachers can make a big difference to their lives, helping them feel better understood and able to prioritise.

“We know from talking to teachers and pupils about the strides in academic achievement and self-confidence that can be made once schools understand a young carer’s role. 

“That’s why the Young Carers in School guide and programme has been developed, helping to identify young carers in the school community and make sure they are supported to achieve their full potential.”

Luella Goold, Service Manager at The Children’s Society’s Include programme, which runs the Young Carers in Schools (YCiS) programme with Carers Trust, said:  “Through our work with young carers, we hear time and time again that a lack of understanding and support in school is the issue they face the most.

“Young carers tell us that if they have help in school they feel better able to cope with the challenges that arise. The Young Carers in Schools programme plays a vital role in equipping school staff to identify young carers, understand the issues they experience, and offer support, so we are delighted to share these updated resources alongside Carers Trust.”

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