What is a young carer?
A young carer is somebody under the age of 18, who is caring for or emotionally affected by a family member who has a physical or mental illness, disability or misuses drugs or alcohol.
While some young carers offer practical help (e.g. completing household chores), others may give more emotional support (e.g. listening to the family member’s worries). The level of responsibility assumed by a young carer is often inappropriate to their age at a level; it is beyond simply helping out with jobs at home, which is a normal part of growing up, and, as such, it may impact on the education of the young person.
How do we identify young carers at Alde Valley Academy?
It is likely there are many young carers in every school in England, many of whom go through school unidentified. To allow every pupil to gain the support they need, Alde Valley Academy hold annual assemblies to inform pupils about young carers and, subsequently, ask all students to complete a simple form to identify themselves.
If you believe your child is a young carer and hasn’t identified themselves, please email Miss Stebbings (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What support do we offer?
We collate the information from the questionnaires to ensure all pupils can access the necessary support.
Firstly, by having this information, we can raise awareness amongst staff. This will allow us to understand, and support, with issues with homework and organisation; monitor extra-curricular opportunities available to young carers and be aware when difficult topics are taught that may mean young carers need time out or checking on.
Young carers will also be invited to a half-termly drop-in. This is still in its developmental stages but it will provide young carers the time to eat snacks, play games and complete crafts. They’ll also get the opportunity to network and raise issues that are important to them.
Alongside this, young carers will be signposted to the Suffolk Young Carers service and will be supported in completing a referral. Further information about Suffolk Young Carers can be found at https://suffolkfamilycarers.org/young-carers/