Sheffield school praised for helping young carers

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A Sheffield school has won a national award for helping young carers juggle their school life and caring duties.

Handsworth Grange Community Sports College was one of 15 schools across the country to be recognised as part of a new pilot programme to support young carers in schools.

The Young Carers in Schools programme was launched yesterday and offers schools step-by-step guidance and practical tools to recognise and support students who have caring responsibilities.

Gail Scott-Spicer, chief executive of Carers Trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to honour these schools, who have done so much to help the young carers they have.

“Schools are vital part of a young carer’s life, but many care for relatives without their teachers even knowing what they do. 
“On average young carers will miss half a day of school each fortnight as a result of their caring role, so how schools treat them can have a huge effect on their learning, wellbeing and life chances.”

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 problems.

There are just over 166,000 young carers in England – including 968 in Sheffield – but research suggests this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The charity hopes the new programme will help reduce the average 48 school days a year young carers miss or cut short because of their caring role, as highlighted in recent Carers Trust research.

The Children’s Society has also found that young carers often have lower levels of self-confidence, and mental wellbeing and significantly lower educational attainment rates at GCSE level.