Step 3

Supporting Young Carers in Schools

Step 3

Securing Commitment of School Leaders

Resource title: Supporting young Carers in School
Published: 2022 Author: Carers Trust

Effective identification and support of young carers in schools requires the development of a whole school approach where young carers and their families feel safe and confident to access support. It is therefore vital that your senior leadership team (SLT) and governing body understand young carers’ issues and are committed to meeting their needs.

This step is crucial not only to the development of provision that meets young carers’ needs but also to ensuring that the SLT and governing body have the information and resources they need to fulfil their wider roles.

Introducing a Young Carers Senior Leadership Team Lead, and ensuring information is available to governors about young carers will help schools achieve the Bronze level of the Young Carers in Schools Award.
Having a named Young Carers Lead Governor in place who raises awareness and ensures policies and practices are inclusive of young carers will help schools achieve the Gold level of the Award.

The SLT and governing body are accountable for ensuring the school provides a highly cohesive learning environment which fosters equal opportunities and meets the diverse needs of the pupils at the school.

To fulfil this role effectively, the SLT and governing body should be aware that many pupils attending their school will have caring responsibilities.

It is crucial that the development and implementation of the school’s provision for young carers is led at an SLT and governing body level so that:

  • Young carers’ needs are reflected in whole school planning and, where appropriate, the whole school improvement plan.
  • The school has an inclusive environment where young carers and their families feel comfortable and safe to tell staff about their caring role and access support (stigma is a commonly cited reason for young carers keeping their caring role hidden).
  • There is appropriate timetabling of staff training and curriculum planning.
  • Use of school resources such as the Pupil Premium funding to target young carers.
  • All school staff know how to identify young carers, for example, office staff can identify a young carer when registering a late pupil, the School Attendance Officer can recognise potential young carers when discussing attendance issues with pupils and/or teachers notice signs that a pupil is a young carer
    (see Step 7).
  • All staff know what action they can take within their everyday practice to support pupils with caring responsibilities, for example office staff pass on messages to pupils from a family member, when appropriate; and teaching staff are flexible, for instance, around negotiating homework deadlines (see Step 6, Tool 1).
  • There are appropriate protocols for sharing information between staff so the young carer does not have to repeat their story.
  • Links are made with wider school policy to ensure alignment with the school’s approach to meeting the needs of young carers and their families (see Step 5, Tool 3).

Don’t forget

Research finds that child poverty rates were higher amongst young carers than other children (Vizard, Obolenskaya & Burchardt, 2019). This highlights the significant number of young carers eligible for free school meals who would benefit from targeted support funded through the Pupil Premium.

Head teachers and school governing bodies are required to publish details online each year of 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.


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:

Vizard, P., Obolenskaya, P. & Burchardt, T. (2019). Child Poverty Amongst Young Carers in the UK: Prevalence and Trends in the Wake of the Financial Crisis, Economic Downturn and Onset of Austerity. Child Indicators Research, 12. pp 1831–1854.