Caring is a part of life. We need to start conversations about caring earlier, to break down stigma about current or future caring, raise awareness of the role of carers and create an environment where carers can access help and support.
Schools, colleges and universities can identify children, young people and adults with caring responsibilities. They can recognise the impact caring can have on their studies as well as their personal lives. They can take action to ensure carers get the help they need to cope with what can be an intense additional pressure.
Use Carers Week to raise awareness through assemblies, fairs, tutor groups and other activities. Train key figures such as school nurses and welfare reps to support young carers and refer them to appropriate services.
Here are some other practical actions you can take:
- Offer flexibility with timetabling or internal deadlines.
- Offer remote access (such as Skyping into a class) or distance learning where possible.
- Introduce caring as a subject within the school curriculum. Talk about caring as a normal part of life, whether it is having grandparents who support each other, a brother or sister with a disability who needs care, or being a carer yourself.
- Take steps to find out what you can do to identify any pupils or students who have caring responsibilities and support them to make sure they get help and their learning and studies are not affected.
- Look after your own staff who have caring responsibilities.
- Make sure your pupil and student welfare officers are aware of age-appropriate support for any pupils or students who have caring responsibilities.