We are aware that some pupils in our school may well have caring roles at home and believe that all children and young people should have equal access to education, regardless of their circumstances at home and that whilst some children have to take on inappropriate or excessive levels of caring responsibilities we need to make sure that their educational needs are addressed.
We will designate two members of staff with specific responsibility for young carers, one in Primary and one in Secondary. The current young carer leads are Maddi Jenkins (Secondary) and Russ Williams (Primary).
Who is a Young Carer?
According to Devon Young Carers, a young carer is a child or young person under the age of 18 who carries out significant caring tasks and assumes a level of responsibility for another person which would normally be taken by an adult. This can be caring for a family member or friend of the family who is physically or mentally ill, frail elderly, disabled or misuses alcohol or substances.
- 55% of young carers are caring for a parent.
- 25% of young carers are caring for a sibling.
- 57% of young carers are providing emotional care.
- 78% of young carers are undertaking practical tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
Identifying a young carer
We aim to identify young carers in the first instance by raising awareness of what young caring is through sending out a questionnaire to parents and carers and sharing information with pupils in school. However, unless the school is advised about a pupil’s home circumstances, a young carer may be hidden. In this instance other factors may be considered. For example, some young carers may worry about appearing different to their peers due to bullying or interference in their family life and may seek support to conceal their role from their peers and from teachers. If we believe that a pupil is a young carer we will be sensitive when we approach them about this, as we appreciate they may not want their peers to know. We will ensure that as part of our enrolment process, the opportunity to signpost what a young carer is will be sent to new families.
Some of the signs that a pupil is in a caring role are:
- Regular lateness, or unauthorised absence, possibly increasing periodically.
- Tiredness during the school day.
- Lack of homework completed or poor quality.
- Lack of concentration, anxiety or worry.
- Under-achievement for potential capability.
- Behavioural problems.
- Lack of engagement in extra-curricular activities, especially after school.
- Delays in parental response, non-attendance to parents evenings/information evenings.
- Poor hygiene/physical appearance.
- Being the victim of bullying.
We aim to support young carers through a whole-school approach and recognise that each young carer is an individual and therefore they require access to an array of support.
The campus will:
- Ensure the campus is accessible to parents with disabilities and/or illness, offering additional support to enable them to attend parents’ evenings or other events. Home visits will be considered where appropriate.
- Provide information about support available for young carers and how to access it to both pupils and families.
- Use the PSHE curriculum to promote a full understanding, acceptance of, and respect for, issues such as caring, disability and impairment.
- Allow young carers to use a telephone to call home during breaks and lunchtimes so as to reduce any worry they may have about a family member.
- Offer additional support to remove any communication barriers with parents, so that parents are able to be fully engaged with the education of their child.
- Identify those young carers at risk of falling into the ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training' (NEET) category and take appropriate actions to address this.
The young carer leads will:
- Ensure all stakeholders are aware of the names of the young carer leads.
- Work towards achieving the Bronze Young Carer Award.
- Offer the opportunity for young carers to become ambassadors in the school with agreement with parents/carers.
- Respect the privacy of young carers and where possible, speak to young carers in private or with a family member/friend present.
- Undertake annual surveys to pupils and parents to identify unknown young carers.
- Liaise with parents/carers of those who may be young carers and, where appropriate, offer support in sending a referral to Devon Young Carers.
- Organise and run a termly meet up (hang out) with registered young carers.
- Regularly liaise with DYC schools contact to ensure the school register is up to date.
- Provide a visual board displaying leaflets, posters, information, events, and newsletters.
- Raise the profile of young carers through assemblies, staff CPD and Young Carers Day.
- Consider communication with home at times of stress or worry e.g. the opportunity to call home during breaks and lunchtimes.
- Involve young carers in decision making around support groups in school.
- Liaise with subject teachers to make reasonable adjustments at times of need or assessment.
- Keep the YC page on the schools website up to date.
- Use and evaluate data effectively to identify and monitor the progress made by registered young carers through the creation of a virtual classroom.
- Ensure virtual parents evening appointments are made available for those who are unable to attend school.
- Participate in awareness raising CPD sessions.
- Refer pupils to the young carer leads where appropriate.
- Engage in a yearly celebration of young carer awareness day.
- Be able to identify the staff and pupil facing noticeboards.
Devon County Council commissions Devon Carers to assess and support the needs of young carers aged up to 18 years old in Devon. Contact and/or a referral can be made to the service directly or where consent has been given another professional or practitioner can make a referral to the service on behalf of a young person and their family. Devon Carers will then undertake an assessment of a young carer’s needs and the support available to meet their needs. The support offered aims to help young carers to have the same life opportunities as their peers, feel supported at school/college, have good physical and emotional health, access and achieve their potential in education and training, have their voices heard and be prepared for adulthood and independence.
You can contact Devon Carers Young Carers service via their website or by telephone 03456 434 435. There’s also lots of information on their website https://www.westbank.org.uk/Pages/Category/young-carers
A copy of the referral form can be found below