What is a Young Carer?
A Young Carer is someone under the age of 18 who has caring responsibilities for a family member at home.
The family member may have:
- A serious or long-term illness.
- A physical disability.
- A mental health problem.
- Problems with drugs or alcohol.
- A learning disability.
- Difficulties in coping with being a parent or carer.
Young Carers may carry out tasks and household jobs like:
- Preparing and cooking food.
- Helping with personal care and hygiene.
- Giving medication.
- Communicating on someone’s behalf.
- Ensuring someone’s safety.
- Providing emotional support.
- Paying bills.
For a Young Carer doing some of these tasks might make it hard for them to come to school or affect their ability to focus and concentrate to the best of their ability when they are here.
- Be regularly late for school or have poor attendance.
- Often seem tired, withdrawn or preoccupied.
- Have difficulty in joining in activities outside of school hours (e.g. after school clubs or residential visits).
- Be a victim of bullying or have difficulties forming friendships.
- Be under-achieving academically.
- Not hand in homework.
- Appear anxious and worried.
- Display emotional or behavioural problems.
- Have physical problems such as back pain from lifting adults.
As a Young Carer, they might also:
- Find it difficult to go out with friends.
- Be confused or angry about the situation at home.
- Have problems at school because of reponsibilities at home.
- Feel alone and unable to talk to anyone about the situation.
- Need help with the caring.
Identifying Young Carers
During the school enrolment process for new pupils, the school will:
• Identify parents or family members who have disabilities or other long-term physical/mental health conditions.
• Clarify whether the pupil has caring responsibilities. Identify whether the young carer has any additional needs that need to be supported.
• Establish individual pupil plans to recognise the child’s specific needs as a young carer. Where appropriate, a young carer may be referred to the LA or other support agencies for a needs assessment.
Young Carers in School
At Reigate Priory, we want to ensure all Young Carers are offered support.
We seek to raise awareness of this issue so that any child acting as Young Carers can be identified and supported. Pupils already identified as Young Carers know that they can speak to any member of staff if they feel they need extra support.
The Young Carer lead, Miss Berenson, is the main point of contact for Young Carers in the school. This appointed person is responsible for:
• Ensuring that young carers have the same access to a full education and career choices as their peers.
• Promoting and coordinating the support young carers need.
• Liaising with other agencies as appropriate, including adult services.
For more information, advice or further support, either as a Young Carer or parent of a Young Carer, please visit the following website: https://www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/coping-with-life/young-carers/
You’re not alone if you experience any of these feelings. Young carers miss an average of 48 days of school because of their role and 68% have been bullied at some point directly because of having to care for someone.