This blog was created by the Assistant Headteacher of Bartholomew School in Oxfordshire.
The Young Carers in School (YCiS) programme has had a big impact on Bartholomew students who are young carers. The average attendance for our young carers (YC) during 2015-16 was 94.2%, an increase on each of the previous two years. YC attainment is also impressive, with YC students achieving 87.5% A*-C including English and maths at GCSE last year.
But of course, the YCiS programme is not just about supporting academic progress. We have noticed a significant improvement in students’ emotional well-being, confidence and self-esteem. They have access to funding to support extracurricular activities, as well as opportunities to try new activities. Our YCs also tell us how much they value having the space and time to talk to someone, and to meet other young carers from across the UK. Parents also feel listened to and supported. But, perhaps most importantly, our students feel proud that they are a young carer.
From a teacher’s perspective, it is really important to understand what is going on with each of our young carers, including any and all factors which may affect their progress. We are then best placed to put in place the most appropriate support for their individual needs, be it adjusting homework requirements, offering additional support to help them catch up if they have missed time out of school, ensuring they get the same opportunities as their peers both inside and outside the classroom, and signposting to other supports and opportunities – such as days out, YC youth club or CHICKs respite.
We see so many success stories among our young carer students, and one that is typical is the young carer who was struggling emotionally both at home and in school. He has been a carer for many years, but it was only after he had received support in school and had started to attend the local YC youth club that he had the confidence to leave his mum and attend a respite residential break in the summer where he was able to experience activities such as horse riding for the first time. Mum also feels supported and listened to, especially as we are able to assist in looking at appropriate support avenues and referrals. This young man’s attendance has also improved since he became involved in the YCiS programme.
Another one of our students was identified 5 years ago as a young carer. Initially supported regularly 1:1 and via Spurgeons, she has now been able to access the children’s support fund to help with funding a new laptop to help with her studies. She has grown hugely in confidence and now feels able to support other younger students who are young carers. Her excellent GCSE results were also an indication of the positive impact of the YCiS programme.
Bartholomew School have also been supported by Oxfordshire County Council through the Oxfordshire Young Carer School Standards.