St Peter’s School has been recognised for its efforts in making sure students don’t miss out on education because they are young carers.
They have earned a bronze award from The Young Carers in Schools programme, which helps primary and secondary schools improve outcomes for young carers, and are now pushing to reach the silver standard.
“We are really pleased to be recognised with our Bronze award,” said Jose Cox, the safeguarding lead at St Peter’s. “We have over 50 registered young carers in school but realise that there are probably many more who support either their siblings or parents with mental health issues or physical disabilities.
“We work with the Carers Trust, who support young people in school by running fun activities in school every other Tuesday and once a month on Sundays.
“They provide much needed time for young carers to have fun and to receive support from each other. They also support older young carers with transition to post-16 education.
“I am really proud that we have students who overcome difficult circumstances every day and still manage to come to school.
“Hopefully we can now progress to our silver award and support students even further. If parents feel their children could benefit from this support they should not hesitate to contact me at the school.”
To achieve their Bronze Award St Peter’s, part of The Cam Academy Trust, demonstrated that it supports young carers in many ways, including mentoring and the opportunity to meet and discuss concerns. Vital information about young carers is made available to all school staff and their profile has been raised.
To help schools support young carers, the Young Carers in Schools 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.
Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, said: “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,” she said. “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.”
The programme is open to all schools in England and to sign up schools just need to visit www.youngcarersinschools.com
For more information on the Carers Trust (Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk) go to https://www.carerstrustcpn.org/