Young carers and their education

Young carers and their education

Young carers are a particularly vulnerable group of pupils, specifically mentioned in Ofsted’s evaluation inspection schedule.

Open book and pen.

Young Carers’ experiences in education

Young carers are a particularly vulnerable group of pupils, specifically mentioned in Ofsted’s evaluation inspection schedule.  Often, these children are caring for relatives without their teachers’ knowledge, yet if unidentified and unsupported, their caring roles can seriously affect their future wellbeing, life chances and levels of aspiration. 

Research shows that:

  • Around one in 20 young carers miss school because of their caring responsibilities, affecting not just their education but their chances of longer term employment.
  • They have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level, the equivalent to nine grades lower overall than their peers (i.e. the difference between nine B’s and nine C’s).
  • They are more likely than the national average not to be in education, employment or training (NEET) between the ages of 16 and 19, which reduces their future life chances.
  • Although young carers need extra support, they are no more likely find it from statutory agencies than other children.
  • A quarter of young carers said they were bullied at school because of their caring role. Only half had received additional support from a member of school staff.

Source: 1-4 Hidden from View: the experiences of young carers in England (The Children’s Society 2013) / 5 Young Adult Carers at School: Experiences and Perceptions of Caring and Education (Carers Trust 2013).

Young Adult Carers at transition

Transitions from school are particularly complex and challenging for young adult carers.  Research shows that:

  • Around 1 in 5 young adult carers become NEET when they leave school.
  • Over half of young adult carers at college or university said they experienced difficulties because of their caring role and 16% were concerned they might have to drop out.
  • Less than half of young adult carers thought they had received good careers advice and only 19% though that it took their caring role into account.
  • Over three quarters of young adult carers at college or university had communicated their caring role to their college or university but nearly half still felt there was no one there who recognised them as a carer and helped them.

Source: 1 Young Adult Carers and Employment (Carers Trust 2014) / 2 & 4 Young Adult Carers at College and University (Carers Trust 2014) / 3 Young Adult Carers at School: Experiences and Perceptions of Caring and Education (Carers Trust 2013).