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Carers Week: young at risk of leaving education

Unsupported young carers risk failing or dropping out of education, warn charity

Posted by Stephanie Broad | June 10, 2016 | Health & wellbeing

Failure to support young carers will result in lower grades and increased drop outs, schools and colleges were warned this Carers Week. 

Research for Carers Week 2016 found that whilst many carers felt supported, a significant number of children with caring responsibilities face barriers that result in poorer grades, reduced career prospects and increased mental health problems, says Carers Trust. 

Further research by Carers Trust showed that 45% struggle to get their homework done on time and a quarter of young carers are bullied because of their caring role. 

The Young Carers in Schools programme helps schools identify and support young carers and has identified more than 500 hidden young carers in just 35 schools – an average of 15 young carers per school. 

Gail Scott-Spicer, CEO of Carers Trust said: “The figures are quite shocking. These are children who are struggling to do their schoolwork during the day time and then heading home to look after their own mum, dad, brother or sister, in the evening. 

“The Young Carers in Schools programme has highlighted how many young carers remain hidden. It has been a great success helping schools to take action and support pupils whose reasons for struggling at school hadn’t been identified or understood. Ninety-one percent of the schools surveyed as part of the programme said that the support they now provide has had a positive impact on young carers’ achievements in their schools.

 “Young carers are vulnerable pupils. If they are not supported, the help they provide to their families can become too much and put their own life chances at risk. Schools, colleges and universities have a vital role to play in ensuring young carers are identified and supported. Understanding their caring responsibilities, making sure the family has the right support and offering some flexibility can be the difference between a young person dropping out or completing their course.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Failing to support young carers is simply failing them. Schools can play a vital role in identifying and supporting young carers, and in helping these exceptional young people to succeed. NAHT welcomes the comprehensive package of support provided to school leaders, teachers and staff that makes it as easy as possible for schools to find out who young carers are and what can be done to support them.” 

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