Young Carers and School

Young Carers and School

Young carers are a vulnerable and disadvantaged group, who often experience difficulties in their education.

Key Points: 

  • Why do young carers need support from school?
  • Will there be young carers in all schools?
  • What support is available to schools?
I work with: 
Date Revised: 

Why do young carers need support from school?  

Young carers are a vulnerable and disadvantaged group, who often experience difficulties in their education. Without support, they can struggle to attend school and make good progress and a quarter of young carers have said they are bullied because of their caring role

Identifying and supporting young carers is an effective way of improving the attainment and attendance of this pupil group; who are specifically mentioned in Ofsted and Estyn evaluation inspection schedules and frequently eligible for free school meals and pupil premium/development grant funding.

Will there be young carers in all schools?

It is likely that there will be young carers at every school in England and Wales:

  • A survey by the BBC in 2010 estimated that about 1 in 12 secondary aged pupils have caring responsibilities.
  • The number of 5-7 year olds providing care increased by 83% between 2001 and 2011.
  • 39% of young carers have said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role (Carers Trust, 2010).
"Schools have a key role in identifying and supporting all young carers.…. Ofsted take particular interest in the experiences of more vulnerable children, including young carers, during inspections."
Edward Timpson, the Minister for Children and Families, October 2012

What support is available to schools?

In England

Young Carers in Schools is an exciting England-wide programme that equips schools to support young carers and awards effective practice. Led by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society's Young Carers in Focus partnership, this programme has been developed with teachers and school staff to make it as easy as possible for schools to support young carers and rewards good practice. It is funded by The Queen’s Trust and the Big Lottery Fund.

The programme is open to all schools in England and to sign up, schools just need to register online

By taking part, schools can show that they are meeting the needs of a particularly vulnerable group of pupils (specifically mentioned in Ofsted’s School Inspection Handbook) and access:

Supporting Young Carers in Schools: A Step-by-step Guide for Leaders, Teachers and Non-teaching Staff

Written in association with teachers and school staff, who understand the pressures that schools face to deliver the very wide range of demands placed upon them, this Step-by-step Guide helps you step-by-step and includes templates, tools and guidance.

Expert regional networks 

Bringing together schools, young carer services, and health and social care professionals for peer-to-peer learning and training. Opportunities will be available online and face-to-face to make sure everyone can get the best from these networks. 

Young Carers in Schools Award

Schools can provide evidence to showcase how they adhere to five Young Carers’ Standards created by young carers and apply online for a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. This will enable schools to gain recognition from several leading charities for their effective practice. 

Young Carers in Schools: Information for schools and those working with them

Sign up today to receive this termly enewsletter which will highlight relevant policy developments, spotlight good practice and give updates on the programme’s successes.  Additional Resources

In Wales

Young Carers in Schools Wales programme  is now available for schools in Wales and is currently being rolled out via school clusters. Use the link to find out more including what’s available, access to bilingual resources and details on how to apply.

Supporting Young Carers: A resource for schools (Archive)

PDF iconSupporting young carers: a resource for schools
An extended resource for schools. This resource was developed in 2010 in partnership with The Children’s Society: Phelps, D, Leadbitter H, Manzi, D (2010), Supporting Young Carers: A Resource for Schools (The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and The Children’s Society) (Archive)

Supporting Young Carers in Schools: An Introduction for Primary and Secondary School Staff

PDF iconsupporting young carers in schools
An introductory resource helping schools to set up systems to identify and support pupils who are young carers.

Pupil Premium: Support for Young Carers - primary school resource and secondary school resource

PDF iconpupil premium - primary school resource
Guidance showing how targeted use of the Pupil Premium can support pupils with caring responsibilities.