Schools urged to recognise toll of being a young carer


Young adult carers miss an average of 48 school days a year because of their role and are four times more likely to drop-out of college or university than their peers.

It is thought that as many as one in 12 young people at school are young carers, but 35 per cent have not told anyone about their duties.

As part of Carers Week 2015, which took place last week, schools and school staff have been warned about the toll that being a young carer can take on their students and the support they need.

The lack of identification of young carers is a key issue that the six charities behind Carers Week want to see tackled. 

Among the charities is the Carers Trust, which runs the Young Carers in Schools programme offering advice for school staff to help them effectively identify and support young carers.

It also runs the Young Carers in Schools Awards, with 15 schools recently being recognised for their work to support young carers.

Gail Scott-Spicer, CEO of the Carers Trust, said: “The life of a young carer is very stressful as they are constantly juggling their school and college work with caring for a parent or sibling, and when exam time comes around the pressure can sometimes be unbearable. 

“That is why we want teaching professionals and anyone working with young people to consider whether they could be a young carer and help give them the support they need.

“They may be late for school or university, miss classes, fall asleep in the class, not quite make the grade because they haven’t had a chance to study or lack concentration in class because they are thinking about the person they care for. 

“Staff can empathise and help them to work out a programme which helps them to reduce the stress in an already busy and complicated lifestyle.”

Recent research from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found that 

51 per cent of their members who responded said they have a young carer in their school or college. However, only 30 per cent work in a school or college that provides special support for young carers.

As a result of this, the ATL has featured the Young Carers in Schools project as a campaign of the month on its Safer Schools website. 

For more on Carers Week, visit and for the Young Carers in Schools programme, see

For ATL’s Safer Schools site, go to


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