Evie Davies, SSAT’s Student Consultant, writes…
I recently attended a meeting held by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society to discuss the current situation for young carers in light of the updated Children and families act and Care act.
The changes outlined in the acts give young carers more support by granting them a right to have someone who knows them well to be present during their assessment, and for their needs to be considered as a child not a carer.
It was recognised that one of the main barriers for young carers is a damaging mixture of prejudice and lack of awareness. This is what the Young Carers in Schools initiative is hoping to change.
Research* shows that:
- 27% of young carers (aged 11–15) miss school or experience educational difficulties (40% where children care for a relative with drug or alcohol problems) (Dearden, C, Becker, S, 2004)
- They have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level – the difference between 9 Bs and 9 Cs (The Children’s Society, 2013)
- The proportion who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) between 16 and 19 is greater than the national average (The Children’s Society, 2013)
- A quarter of young carers said they were bullied at school because of their caring role (Carers Trust, 2013).
Better support and provision for young carers will provide them with the same chances as other students. Through the Young Carers in Schools Programme, leaders, teachers and non-teaching staff will have access to a step-by-step guide that contains templates, tools and guidance notes to help identify and support young carers.
Another benefit of the programme is the access it provides to networks of schools that share good practice and have connections with young carer services, and health and social care professionals.
This provision is sorely needed and will help to make the necessary changes we require if we are to create a successful learning atmosphere for young carers.
By empowering leaders, staff and students with this programme we can break the cycle of prejudice and lack of awareness, allowing for a truly beneficial educational system that accurately and effectively supports those who need it.
Find out more about the Young Carers in Schools Programme here.
*Research sourced from Young Carers in School