Giving young carers a Fair Start

You may have noticed that Carers Trust been very busy with the Fair Start Campaign. Some of you may already be familiar with it but, for those that aren’t, it’s about young carers being given some extra financial help at school, via government funding called the Pupil Premium, in order to fulfil their potential.

fairstartnpsWe estimate that only 60% of young carers are getting the Pupil Premium despite a huge amount of evidence showing that they do significantly worse than their peers in school.

It’s worth looking at the facts.

  • 166,363 young carers under 18 years old (of which 110,073 are under 16) have been identified. This is just the tip of the iceberg
  • Research suggests as many as 1 in 12 children at school is a young carer. That’s two young carers per class
  • At least 32,661 children care for at least 20 hours per week
  • A quarter of young carers said they were bullied in school because of their caring role
  • Young carers get much lower grades in school – a recent survey showed the most common grade to be D’s at GCSE

Even with all this evidence to show that young carers need the Pupil Premium and the commitment of Carers Trust supporters when it comes to young carers I have still been bowled over by the response. In just eight weeks an awesome 1,100 of you have already signed the Fair Start petition (if you haven’t – what have you been doing?! Get signing!) and we are getting more signatures every day.

More than 100,000 people reached!

But you didn’t rest there. We know that you lovely lot have a huge network of friends, family, colleges, acquaintances… all of whom could also sign the Fair Start petition. (Still not signed? No excuses now get signing!) and a bucket load of passion so we asked you to spread the word. Once again, you have excelled. 832 people have shared or liked the 6 Fair Start Facebook posts meaning that a staggering 111,631 people saw information about the Fair Start campaign. All these people are now aware of who young carers are and why they need support in school – it would be almost impossible for us to reach out to that may people without your help.

On top of this we have been kept busy meeting with Ministers, MP’s Councillors, journalists… just about anyone else who will listen to us talk about the importance of young carers being included in the criteria for Pupil Premium. They really started to pay attention when we told them how many people supported the Fair Start petition and it has definitely opened doors for us.

So what next?

I am organising a petition hand in alongside young carers at the Department for Education so once that takes place it will be the end of the Fair Start petition, but you can be sure that it won’t be the last you hear from Carers Trust. I will be in touch very soon to tell you what we have planned next…

In the meantime, make sure that you have signed the petition (no excuses this time…) and told as many people as possible about it so we can get young carers a Fair Start.

Sophie is Policy and Campaigns Officer (Young Carers and Young Adult Carers) at Carers Trust


November 20, 2014 - Posted by | Education, Young carers | ,

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