A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who looks after another person because they’re sick, have a disability or have mental health issues. Having caring responsibilities can have a significant impact a child’s ability to attend school, cope with school or homework or study for exams.
Here young carers share some of their thoughts about being a young carer and what can help them in school.
Being a young carer can be tough because you’ve got to work at home and school. It takes a lot of time to do both and it can take a lot of energy. Getting the right support from school can really make a difference.Young carer
It’s difficult because you have to juggle the two together (- school and home). You’ve got to multi- task. We’re really working hard in our own home. We’re having so much stress, that we’re not used to it as we’re kids – we’re not meant to go through it.
I think that people need to understand that being a young carer is hard because you’re looking after a person who struggles to do daily tasks that we take for granted.Young carer
Tips from young carers about what schools can do to help them:
- Be considerate and offer extra support.
- In schools there should be more awareness about what a young carer is so that people don’t just think you’re skiving.
- It would help if teachers know what we have to go through. If we’re late they should give us less hassle.
- Help by explaining things more because we’re often tired and can’t really focus in class. Possible extensions, maybe lunch time classes to help.
- Teachers should give other pupils lessons [about young carers] in school so we don’t have to explain to all the school what a young carer is.
- School can be quite stressful. Teachers don’t really know why we haven’t got homework in on time or why we can’t afford to buy text books. It helps if teachers are discreet because otherwise they can cause the young person to be labelled and that’s not always a good thing.
- Give us that little bit of extra help because we’re also helping someone else.
- Take the time to step back and listen to what we have to say.
“Schools need to give a helping hand to young carers, otherwise they may not progress in school. They need to care for those who care for others.”