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Neale-Wade Academy wins award for young carer support

The Academy has been given a Silver award for its work to make sure students don’t miss out on an education because they are young carers.

The Young Carers in Schools programme helps primary and secondary schools improve outcomes for young carers and celebrates good practice through the Young Carers in Schools Award.

Mrs Hitch, Director of Safeguarding and Welfare said, ‘I am delighted that the Academy has received the silver award in recognition of our continuing commitment to meeting the needs of our young carers’.

Young carers are responsible for emotional, practical or physical care for a parent, sibling or other family member who has a physical disability, mental health issue or substance misuse issue.  The 2011 Census statistics revealed that there are just over 166,000 young carers in England, but research reveals that this is just the tip of the iceberg.  The true figure could be closer to 700,000 young carers in England, equivalent to one in 12 school children many of whom are unrecognised and unsupported.

Recent research carried out by Carers Trust and The Children's Society shows that, on average, young carers miss or cut short 48 school days a year and often have lower levels of self-confidence, mental wellbeing and significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level, because of their caring role.  Ofsted's Common Inspection Framework states that inspectors will look at how well schools support young carers.  While some schools are doing this really well, others struggle and this causes real problems for young carers.

To help schools support young carers, the programme offers a step-by-step guide for leaders, teachers and non-teaching staff, with practical tools designed to make it as easy as possible for schools.  Staff can also receive training through webinars and events and the programme also features a newsletter each term highlighting relevant policy developments, spotlighting good practice and giving updates on the programme’s successes.

“To achieve their Silver Award Neale-Wade Academy has demonstrated that it supports young carers in many ways, including homework clubs and drop-in sessions with a member of staff who is responsible for this vulnerable group of pupils.  Vital information about how to identify young carers is made available to all school staff, and noticeboards and the school webpage let students and their families know where to go for help”.

The programme is open to all schools in England and to sign up schools just need to visit www.youngcarersinschools.com

Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, says: “Schools play a vital role in a young carer’s life, but many care for relatives without their teachers even knowing what they do.  On average young carers will miss half a day of school each fortnight as a result of their caring role, so the steps schools take to identify and support them can have a huge impact on their learning, wellbeing and life chances.”

Jenny Frank, young carer programme director at The Children’s Society, is confident that the Young Carers in Schools Programme will bring about national change.  “This is a giant leap forward in the way schools can make sure no child misses out on an education because they are a carer.  Importantly, we are not just telling schools to improve, we are giving them a clear set of steps to help them improve their support systems, and then recognising the work they do with young carers."