Your School Life
As a young carer you might find school a place where you can forget about your caring responsibilities and feel “normal” for a while.
But it can also be a place where you’re under extra pressure or where people do not understand what your life is like outside school.
You might not want your school to know you’re caring for someone. But if they do not know about your situation, it will be difficult for teachers to understand if you struggle to keep up in class or do not do your homework. It’s a good idea to talk to a teacher you feel able to trust to let them know or you could ask someone in your family to write to the school, perhaps to the head of year, to explain your situation.
There are lots of ways your school can help. You could be allowed to use a phone during breaks and lunchtime, so you can check on the person you’re looking after. Some schools run lunchtime groups or homework support groups for young carers.
Nobody wants to get into trouble at school. If teachers know you’re a carer, they may be more sympathetic to your problems (such as lateness), but it will not necessarily stop you being disciplined if you break the rules.
If you’re given detention, you could ask to have it during lunchtime, rather than after school because of your caring responsibilities.
What we do in Schools
We deliver assemblies to identify and raise awareness of young carers in schools.
We work with schools in advocating for young carers or their families, addressing the differences in a young carer’s life with regard to homework completion, deadlines, attendance and punctuality.
We speak to pastoral teams or Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) to work with schools, to support or challenge an identified need of a young carer.
We are part of the Schools Network Project, where we jointly work with schools to deliver young carer awareness days and activities.
We have also created a Young Carer Schools Award with our young carers. Together we have devised ten standards for schools to meet to gain the award, which support young carers and enhance their education and participation in school life.
You may feel you have to miss school to care for someone. Try to get help as quickly as possible so the situation does not go on for a long time.
Speak to us about this and we can help you to organise more support at home to help you concentrate on school or college.
Friends and Your Social Life
As a young carer, you may spend less time than you’d like, with your friends and classmates. You may feel isolated because:
- you do not have as much free time as them
- you’re often thinking about the person you look after
- you may be worried they will bully you
- you do not get included in certain activities.
It’s important to get the help you need so that you have time to do the things you want to do and be with your friends.
If possible, put aside some time each day to do something you enjoy. You can join one of our clubs or activities where you can meet like-minded young carers who understand the pressures you are going through.
Are You Being Bullied?
Young carers are sometimes bullied because the person they care for is ill or disabled, or because they cannot always do the things other young people can. It’s natural to feel sad, angry or scared if you’re being bullied. But remember: there are ways to deal with the problem. Speak to one of our team who will listen and talk you through what you can do to address the situation. Other organisations which can help include: