Young carer award for Penryn Primary Academy
Penryn Primary Academy has been awarded Bronze award in recognition of their effort and commitment to ensure pupils, who are young carers, don’t miss out on an education.
The Young Carers in Schools programme helps primary and secondary schools improve outcomes for young carers and celebrates good practice through the Young Carers in Schools Award. Head of School, James Hitchens comments:
“We are very proud to have achieved the Young Carers award. We work incredibly hard to ensure that every child's needs are met and that each child has a voice within our school. This is further recognition of the work we do to support our children. I'd like to pay special thanks to Ms Hollis, young carer staff lead and our child young carer lead for their hard work.”
Young carers are responsible for emotional, practical or physical care for a parent, sibling or other family member who has a physical disability, mental health issue or substance misuse issue. In the 2011 Census, statistics revealed that there are just over 166,000 young carers in England, but research indicates this is just the tip of the iceberg. The true figure could be closer to 800,000, equivalent to one in 5 secondary aged school children, many of whom remain unrecognised and unsupported.
Research carried out by Carers Trust and The Children's Society shows that, on average, young carers miss, or cut short, 48 school days a year and often have lower levels of self-confidence, mental wellbeing and significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level. Under the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework, inspectors look at how well schools support young carers and while some schools are doing this really well, others struggle.
To help schools support young carers, the programme offers a step-by-step guide for leaders, teachers and non-teaching staff, with practical tools designed to make it as easy as possible for schools. Staff can also receive training through webinars and events and the programme also features a newsletter each term highlighting relevant policy developments, spotlighting good practice and giving updates on the programme’s successes.
To achieve their Bronze Award, Penryn Primary Academy has demonstrated that it supports young carers in many ways, including homework clubs and drop-in sessions with a member of staff who is responsible for this vulnerable group of pupils. Vital information about how to identify young carers is made available to all school staff, and noticeboards and the school’s website provides effective signposting to where pupils and their families can access support.
The programme is open to all schools in England and to sign up schools should visit www.youngcarersinschools.com
Giles Meyer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, comments: “The Young Carers in Schools programme is helping to transform schools and support staff across England. Schools play a vital role in a young carer’s life, as many care for relatives without their teachers even knowing what they do. On average young carers will miss a day of school each month as a result of their caring role, so the steps schools take to identify and support them can have a huge impact on their learning, wellbeing and life chances.”
Helen Leadbitter, National Young Carers’ Lead at The Children's Society is delighted that the Young Carers in Schools programme is bringing about national change.
“Hundreds of schools across England are participating in the Young Carers in Schools programme, using the tools and resources to improve their support systems, and ensuring that no child need miss out on educational opportunities because they are a carer. 74% of schools who have achieved a Young Carers in Schools Award have noticed improved attendance among their young carers, and 94% have noticed improvements in their wellbeing and confidence.”
Well done James and team!