It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

What does the holiday season look like in your school? Perhaps you have shows and nativity plays. Perhaps you have carol concerts and Christmas card competitions. Perhaps your class is excitedly talking about their favourite Christmas foods and films, or the presents they expect to receive. The Christmas season, for many children, is a joyous and exciting time. But for many young people dealing with serious and complex issues the school holidays, and Christmas in particular, can be a lonely and difficult time.

Thousands of young carers across England will go without support this Christmas season, and it is hard to know what we – as teachers and support workers – can do.


First and foremost, it is important to know who the young carers in your school are. One of the best things you can do to ensure the identification of your young carers is to foster an open and stigma-free environment in school:

  • Incorporate positive images of disability and caring in PSHE lessons and assemblies
  • Raise awareness of the definition of and impacts upon young carers by holding an assembly on Young Carers Awareness Day
  • Identify a young carers’ lead in school and ensure that pupils, staff, and families know who they are.

Building a network

With an identified young carers’ lead, and an accepting and non-judgemental school environment, we can help our young carers to build strong support networks to help reduce loneliness and isolation, and to improve emotional wellbeing. There are a number of ways we can do this:

  • Advocating for, and facilitating a young carer’s assessment
  • Referring to, and working with the local young carers service
  • Running an in-school young carers group, allowing young carers to meet new friends who share similar experiences.

Young carers’ rights

When a child is identified as a young carer, offering them support in school is essential, and helping them to build a support network is important, but ultimately, we want to work with the whole family to reduce that young person’s caring role. A key part of this is understanding young carers’ rights, and working with other agencies to uphold these rights.

All young carers have the right to an assessment of their need. You can find out more about the assessment and the law on our Making a Step Change website. For more young person-friendly information on rights, download the Know Your Rights pack.

If you want more information on how to identify a young carers lead in your school or on how to set up a young carer club, you can download Supporting Young Carers: A Step-by-step Guide for Leaders, Teachers and Non-teaching staff, or you can email us at Don’t wait until after Christmas to support your young carers, start today, and help them know that they are not alone over the holidays.

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