A young carer is someone under the age of 18, or who is 18 but still attending school who provides, or intends to provide care to a person or relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem. A young carer may do extra jobs in and around the home, such as cooking, cleaning or helping someone get dressed and move around. They may also give a lot of physical help to a relative who is disabled or ill. Along with doing practical things to help, young carers may be giving emotional support too. Some children start caring for their relative at a very young age and do not realise they are carers, whereas other young people become carers overnight (Source).
Action for Children published the results of a survey of 104 young carers, and published recommendations in Young Carers in Education Report 2023
The young carers who participated in the survey identified the following recommendations based on the experiences of young carers.
- School Admission: having a system to identify young carers on admission so staff can put the necessary support in place.
- Teacher training and understanding: Supporting teachers to understand how to effectively support a young carer, and signpost them to the relevant services and agencies. They also recommend supporting teachers through providing training opportunities so that teachers and school staff know where to signpost children and young people in need
- Communication: between schools and the other services supporting young carers.
- Flexibility: the young carers identified that schools being flexible about homework and attendance improved relationships in the education setting. an example of this would be having the opportunity to complete homework within the school day or receiving extended time to complete their homework
The BBC have 'A day in the life of a young carer' videos available on YouTube
The Carers Trust have produced a step-by-step guide that was developed with teachers and school staff to help make the identification and support of young carers in schools as easy as possible.
The Carers Trust also have an introduction to supporting young carers in school
The Young Carers in Schools (YCiS) initiative is run jointly by Carers Trust and The Children's Society, to share good practice and develop relevant, accessible tools and training. Schools who take part in this initiative can show they are meeting the needs of young carers and receive the 'Young Carers in School Award'
Find your local young carers support via The Childrens Trust
This NHS page has information on the rights of being a young carer
Last Updated 24-04-2023