Schools has been helping to make sure young carers don’t miss out on an education.
Cowley International College, Ashurst Primary and Parish C of E Primary School are leading the way in supporting young carers in their schools.
These schools are the first in St Helens to have been awarded the Young Carers in Schools Bronze Award from The Carers Trust.
Young carers are responsible for providing emotional, practical or physical care to a parent, sibling or other family member who has a physical disability, mental health illness or an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Young carers undertake caring tasks that would normally be expected of an adult including personal care, administering medication, cooking and cleaning.
Ann-Marie Leather, Young Carer School Involvement Officer at St Helens Young Carers Centre said: “In achieving the Bronze Award, these schools have fully demonstrated that they support young carers in many ways.
“They have identified a dedicated member of staff to offer support, provided homework clubs and drop-in sessions. Vital information about how to identify young carers is also made available to all school staff. “School noticeboards and their webpage let all students and their families know where to go if they need help.”
St Helens Young Carers Centre supports both primary and secondary schools to achieve this award; the centre currently support over 550 children aged
six to 18 years.
It is predicted that there could be a further 2000 children in St Helens who are caring in silence. That’s one in 12 secondary school age children who may be unrecognised and unsupported young carers.
Mr Cameron Sheeran, Principal at Cowley International College said: “We are beyond delighted that Cowley is the first secondary school in St Helens to achieve the Young Carers in Schools Bronze Award.
“To achieve such a worthwhile award in only nine months is down to the outstanding support we have received from St Helens Young Carers Centre and The Carers Trust.”
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. Ofsted’s Common Inspection Framework states that inspectors will look at how well schools support young carers.
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.
Ashurst Primary’s Chair of Governors, Paul Murphy-Wade said: “It can be difficult for young carers to come forward for help, just as it can be difficult for staff to identify them in a busy classroom.
“So Ashurst has taken a whole school approach to raising awareness in special assemblies and classroom lessons with the St Helens Young Carers Centre. Every child with extra responsibilities at home knows how they can be supported and how to balance this with ordinary school life.”
Deputy Head teacher and Health and Wellbeing Governor for Parish Primary, Mark Thomas said: “At Parish School we very much appreciate the enormous hurdles that many of our children face in their daily lives.
“Some of our children live in domestic situations in which they need to care for an older brother, or younger sister, or even a parent. Such children carry an enormous responsibility – as without them, families may struggle to lead the normal lives that the rest of us take for granted.
“As a school, it is our duty to support such Young Carers, to give them advice and to offer a listening ear. We fully embrace the Carers Trust
Charter to all Young Carers and uphold its aims, objectives and aspirations.
“In doing so, we fully acknowledge the outstanding contribution that many of our children make to building and maintaining successful families.”