A Young Carer is a young person under the age of 18 who is caring unpaid for a family member who has a physical illness, has a physical disability, a mental health condition, or misuses substances. This can be a parent, sibling, grandparent, in fact any member of their family.
A Young Carer quite often takes on responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. Research suggests in the UK there are as many as 1 in 6 children in high school who are Young Carers. Many do not realise they are a Young Carer. No matter how big or small their caring role, many Young Carers say that it has an impact on their wellbeing as they spend a lot of time worrying about their loved ones when they are not with them.
For many Young Carers, caring can have positive and rewarding aspects, however we know that many Young Carers may need extra support to enjoy, achieve and reach their full potential in schooll. This can only happen if they are supported effectively. In order to do this we are working closely with Sutton Young Carers Service based at Sutton Carers Centre to achieve the Young Carers in School Award. This will include the option of 1:1 sessions and peer group support in our school.
At Devonshire Primary School, we are committed to ensuring that all students who are Young Carers are identified.
We aim to do this by –
- On entry to the school – Young Carers are identified on the application form.
- Having open honest relationships with our students and their families, doing all we can to know them well.
- Following up information shared by other schools.
- Following up information shared by other agencies.
- Awareness raising assemblies and items in newsletters e.g. during Young Carers’ Week.
- Having once a month Peer Support Groups that Young Carers can identify themselves and attend.
Ensuring our staff are trained and able to identify Young Carers in the school.
We aim to do this by ensuring our staff know -
- How to identify Young Carers
- How their caring roles can impact on their ability to participate fully in school. (Lateness or poor attendance, problems with concentration, under-achievement, tiredness , anxiety, inability to attend extra-curricular activities)
- The potential for social isolation or bullying.
- Making reasonable and supportive adaptations.
- Difficulties in engaging parents such as parent evenings.
- Staff are aware of the co-ordinator’s roles for Young Carers and the ways in which they can signpost support as required.
- Staff will be regularly updated on how to support Young Carers on a regular basis.
- How to refer Young Carers to the appropriate Young Carers Service.
We value the importance of working together in partnership with other agencies e.g. Sutton Young Carers to ensure that a personalised support for Young Carers and their families is achieved throughout the school community.
If you would like more information, please contact Michaela Carter-Hodge Family Support Worker who will be happy to answer any of your queries.