Supporting Young Carers in Schools
Gaining an Understanding About Young Carers
Resource title: Supporting young Carers in School
Published: 2022 Author: Carers Trust
It is likely that there will be many young carers at every school in England.
The 2011 Census identified over 177,000 young carers in England and Wales, although this is widely believed to be the tip of the iceberg.
Further research (University of Nottingham and BBC News, 2018) suggests there could be 800,000 young carers in England aged 11-16. That means about one in five secondary aged pupils have caring responsibilities. This figure doesn’t take into account young carers aged 17 and under 11, which means the real figure of young carers is likely to be higher.
The total figure of young carers in England is not known which means many young carers continue to remain hidden and unsupported.
Through the Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014, the Government has shown its commitment to young carers by ensuring that they are protected from inappropriate or excessive caring.
In order to ensure that the Government’s commitment is achieved, children and young people who have caring responsibilities must be identified early and supported to fulfil their potential.
The Government recognises that schools have a vital role to play and are ideally positioned to identify young carers and to initiate support. Doing so will ensure they are able to fully participate in their education and have a fair start in life.
Ofsted – While young carers are no longer specifically mentioned in the education inspection framework, schools can still report on young carers during inspections along with other groups of children and young people who may face educational disadvantage, such as children with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), or looked-after children.
School census – From spring 2023, schools will be asked to include young carers in the school census. This won’t be limited to young carers who have had a young carers needs assessment. The Young Carers in Schools programme can help your school identify the young carers and ensure they are supported in partnership with the local authority, the local NHS and the local voluntary sector e.g. young carers’ services.
Safeguarding statutory guidance – The Keeping children safe in education statutory guidance states that “all school and college and staff should be alert to the potential need of early help for a child who…is a young carer”. Additionally, the guidance states that schools should be “alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), those with relevant health conditions and young carers”.
Identifying and supporting young carers is a low cost and effective way of improving the attainment of this often low-achieving pupil group.
Young carers are frequently eligible for free school meals which enables schools to claim the Pupil Premium funding. However, as the needs of young carers mean they require different types of support to other disadvantaged pupils (see Step 6, Tool 1: Checklist of support young carers might need), it is important that schools identify pupils who have caring responsibilities in order to ensure effective use of this funding stream.
Head teachers and school governing bodies are required to publish details online each year on how they are using the Pupil Premium and the impact it is having on pupil achievement. It will be important for them to show how the school is using this funding to meet the needs of eligible young carers.
Pupil Premium funding is not ring fenced. Schools can target their use of this funding towards all young carers, regardless of eligibility, provided that the performance of the eligible pupils is demonstrably improving. Using Pupil Premium funding to support all pupils who are young carers is a low cost and effective way of improving the attainment of this often low achieving pupil group.
Sempik, J and Becker, S (2013), Young Adult Carers at School: Experiences and Perceptions of Caring and Education (Carers Trust).
UK Census 2011. Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government License v.1.0.
The Children’s Society (2013), Hidden from View.
University of Nottingham & BBC News (2018) New Research Suggests More Than One in Five Children in England Carry Out Some Care For Sick and Disabled Family Member. Available at: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2018/september/children-england-care-sick-family.aspx