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Drake Primary School and Little Pirates Child Care

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Young Carers

Young Carers at Drake Primary School

 

Operational Leads: Sam Chapman/ Deirdre Kane

Senior Leadership Lead: Sonia Hall

 

There are young carers in every school. Some are easy to identify and support and others are often hidden.

‘As a young carer you often have many worries which can limit concentration. Young carers should have someone there within school to talk to about their caring roles with confidence and trust.’ Young carer

At Drake Primary School we are committed to identifying, supporting and meeting the needs of Young Carers so that they attend and enjoy school in the same way as their peers.  We are currently setting up:

  • Weekly drop in sessions for children to come and talk with the Operation Lead or another member of the Pastoral Team
  • Drop box where children can drop a piece of paper with their name on it and a member of the team will pop in and see them to listen to their concerns
  • Drop box for parents – parents can email into the Operation Lead any concerns, questions or information they feel they need to share
  • Notice boards within the building, offering information and advice for the children signposting who to speak to for more advice, this information will also be updated on the Young Carers area of the school website
  • Links to carers trust

 

Who are young carers?

A young carer is a person under the age of 18 who provides or intends to provide care for another person who is ill, disabled, has a mental health condition, or addiction problem.

 

What activities might their caring role involve?

 

The tasks and level of caring undertaken by young carers can vary according to the nature of the illness or disability, the level and frequency of need for care, and the structure of the family as a whole.

Young carers often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. These can include:

  • Practical tasks – cooking, housework and shopping. 
  • Physical care – lifting or helping someone use the stairs.
  • Personal care – dressing, washing, helping with toileting needs.
  • Emotional support – listening, calming, being present.
  • Managing the family budget, collecting benefits and prescriptions.
  • Medication management.
  • Looking after younger siblings.
  • Helping someone communicate.

Young Carers often support family with illness such as:

  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Mental Illness
  • Physical disability
  • Learning disability

We are aware that Young Carers looking after someone also gain valuable skills in that role such as:

  • Maturity
  • A caring and nurturing personality
  • Close relationship with family
  • Pride

We help to ensure that the responsibility for the child doesn’t become too great and that the support the family are entitled to is being offered.

 

Why are many young carers hidden?

  • The condition of the person they care for is not obvious so people don’t think that the young person needs any help.
  • Young carers do not realise that they are a carer or that their life is different to their peers.
  • They don’t want to be any different from their peers so they don’t draw attention to their caring role.
  • They believe that the school will show no interest in their family circumstances. Supporting Young Carers in Schools
  • They want to keep their identity at school separate from their caring role.
  • It’s not the sort of thing they feel they can discuss with their friends.
  • There has been no opportunity to share their story.
  • They are worried about bullying.
  • They worry that the family will be split up and that they will be taken into care.
  • They want to keep caring a secret and/or are embarrassed.
  • They see no reason to tell their story and don’t believe that any positive action will occur as a result of doing so.

 

Why is the whole school approach set out in the Young Carers in Schools programme essential to the effective identification and support of young carers in schools?

 

A whole school approach for young carers is vital because it:

Reduces stigma: one of the main reasons young carers say they do not access support is stigma. A positive whole school ethos where young carers and their families are respected and valued by pupils, staff and the wider school community is crucial to ensuring young carers and their families feel safe and confident to access support.

Increases identification: many young carers are hidden. All school staff need to know how to identify young carers to ensure they do not slip through the net.

Promotes self-identification: a pupil with caring responsibilities may self-identify to any member of staff whom they feel they can talk to and share their worries and concerns with.

Respects young carers information: all staff need to be aware of the school’s process for sharing information about a young carer. This will help ensure that information is only shared with the appropriate consent and with a view to guaranteeing a pupil does not need to repeat their story several times. All school staff should know not to discuss a pupil’s caring role in front of their peers.

Addresses all of the issues: It will enable the effective delivery of flexibilities, interventions and support to raise outcomes. Teachers and support staff delivering targeted interventions, such as homework clubs, should know how to ensure these interventions meet young carers’ needs, for example, that homework clubs should be run at lunchtime.

Creates long-term change: a whole school approach that places young carers on a similar footing to other vulnerable pupils ensures sustainability.

 

What are young carer’s rights?

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, all young carers under the age of 18 have a right to an assessment from the local authority, regardless of who they care for, what type of care they provide, or how often they provide care.

The assessment needs to consider:

  • Whether it is appropriate for the young carer to provide care.
  • The young carer’s needs for support, and their other needs and wishes.
  • If any of the young carer’s needs for support could be prevented by providing services to the person who is cared for, or another member of the young carer’s family.

 

Useful Links:

www.youngcarersmatternorfolk.org

https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/children-and-families/early-help-and-family-support/get-early-help-and-family-support.

www.caringtogether.org

info@norfolkfamilycarers.org

MTM Youth Services (part of commissioned service) –
Accepting referrals
info@mtmyouthservices.org.uk        0800 083 1148

Virtual Support – Weekly Zoom sessions

One-to-one support via phone/video call

Activity Packs/Wellbeing activities

Activities on social media

Virtual Zoom groups

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