At Wodensborough Ormiston Academy, we have a number of young carers and as an academy we work with those individuals and families to ensure they are fully supported.
What is a young carer?
A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who helps look after a family member or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol. There are about 700,000 young carers in the UK, that's about one in 12 secondary aged pupils. There are likely to be young carers in every school and college.
What might a young carer do?
Practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping.
Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed.
Emotional support, such as talking to someone who is distressed.
Personal care, such as helping someone get dressed.
Managing the family budget and collecting prescriptions.
Helping to give medicine.
Helping someone communicate.
Looking after brothers and sisters.
Being a young carer can have a big impact on the things that are important to growing up, but young people can learn lots of useful skills by being a young carer.
It can affect a young person’s health, social life and self-confidence.
Many young carers struggle to juggle their education and caring which can cause pressure and stress.
In a survey, 39% said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role.
26% have been bullied at school because of their caring role.
1 in 20 miss school because of their caring role.
How can WOA help?
Make it everybody’s business
Provide training on young carers to all relevant school staff.
Publicise information about available support.
Raise awareness of the issues faced by young carers to students and staff.
Develop a secure and safe environment where students have the confidence to let staff know that they are a young carer.
Ensure there is a designated person for young carers to talk to.
Promote positive images of disability, illness, mental ill health and caring throughout the school curriculum and environment.
Develop policies and practice to prevent bullying and stigma and to raise the self-esteem of children who are young carers.
Provide appropriate opportunities for students to self-identify.
Publicise how students can access support effectively.
Provide opportunities for identification following assemblies and personal, social, health and economics education lessons (PSHE education).
Provide non face-to-face communication opportunities, eg. The Sharp System online.
Create an environment where families have the confidence to inform your school that their child has caring responsibilities.
Develop good partnership working with your local young carers service.
Support the carers service awareness-raising as an opportunity to identify young carers.
Engage with your students with caring responsibilities who have been identified by the young carers service but not to your school.
Who can help me?
Mrs Salma Khan is the Safeguarding Lead for Young Carers. She teaches in the maths department and can be contacted on [email protected].