From education to employment

More help needed to identify and support young carers says NAHT

Young carer helping someone in a wheelchair

Responding to the first report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers, Margaret Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“This report lays bare the difficulties faced by young carers. Schools do everything they can to support all of their pupils but it’s clear that there is more work to do and we support calls for a National Carers Strategy. Additional training for staff working in education would also be welcome, provided it is backed with necessary funding.

“It is concerning that demand from young carers for external support is outstripping capacity. This mirrors the problems faced by other children’s support services such as CAMHS and adds to a worrying pattern of many young people being unable access the specialist help they require in order to attend school on a regular basis. There needs to be better access to a dedicated range of support across the whole country for young carers and young people in general. Without this support being in place for those who need it, it is very difficult to see how persistent absence rates, which this report shows are particularly high among young people with caring responsibilities, can be substantially brought down.”  

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, the association which represents leaders in the majority of schools, said:

“Being a young carer can have a huge impact upon children’s education and wellbeing, affecting their learning, school attendance and mental health.

“It’s vital that these children are identified and get the support they need, but sometimes they are hidden from view and may not feel able to seek help.

“Many schools play a key role in identifying and supporting young people who are caring for loved ones, and they are often the first line of support for young carers.

“This help must extend beyond schools, but all services need better government support in improving early identification of young carers, and the resources required to then offer practical support.

“A cross-government national carers strategy – including a properly-resourced action plan for young carers and young adult carers – is long overdue and would be very welcome.”

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