At Orchard Primary School we believe that all children and young people have the right to learn, enjoy and achieve. We have developed our practice to identify how we support pupils who help to look after someone at home. We are committed to supporting young carers’ emotional, educational and personal development.
Who are Young Carers?
A child or young person who:
- provides practical, social and/or emotional support to a relative
- takes on additional responsibilities to those appropriate to their age and development
- provides the main care, or shares responsibilities with another family member, this could include support for someone living at home, or outside of the home. The person they care for may be a parent, sibling, or grandparent and have one or more of the following: alcohol and/or substance misuse, learning difficulties or disabilities, chronic illness, mental health issues or physical disability (including sensory disability)
Some of the responsibilities a Young Carer may have could include:
- Emotional care – being compliant, monitoring the emotional state of the person cared for, listening, consoling
- Domestic care – undertaking housework, cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry etc
- Nursing care – giving medication, injections, changing dressings, assisting with mobility etc
- Personal intimate care – washing, dressing, feeding and helping with toilet requirements
- Financial care – running the household, bill paying, benefit collection etc
- Child care – taking responsibility for younger siblings in addition to their other caring responsibilities
Because of their responsibilities at home, a young carer might experience:
- Being late or absent due to responsibilities at home
- Concentration problems, anxiety or worry in school
- Emotional distress
- Tiredness in school
- Lack of time for homework
- Poor attainment
- Physical problems such as back pain from lifting
- False signs of maturity, because of assuming adult roles
- Behavioural problems (taking out their anger or frustration)
- Lack of time for extra-curricular activities
- Isolation, embarrassed to take friends home
- Limited social skills
- Feeling that no one understands and that no support is available
- Low self esteem
It also might be difficult to engage their parents (due to fears of external agency support, fear of conditions being misunderstood or their parenting skills being called into question).
At Orchard Primary School, we will:
- acknowledge and respect the young person’s caring role
- provide young carers with social and emotional support
- engage with external agencies in facilitating family support
- follow child protection procedures regarding any young carer at risk of harm
- promote discussion and learning in all areas of the curriculum to facilitate fuller understanding of, acceptance of and respect for, the issues surrounding illness, disability and caring
- make appropriate staff aware that they have additional responsibilities that could affect their school life.
- seek feedback from pupils and families to shape and improve the support we provide
- use Pupil Premium funding to minimise any barriers to education and learning experienced by young carers
The designated link teacher for young carers is Mrs Emily Douglas (Inclusion Deputy Headteacher).