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The European voice for informal carers

The project leaflet is available in English: EDYcare_leaflet.pdf
The project leaflet is available in Italian: EDYCARE-leaflet_IT-1.pdf
The project leaflet is available in Portuguese: Edy-Care-leaflet-PT.pdf

Good practices to support young carers in education:

WHO

Carers Trust and the Children’s Society

WHERE

UK

WHAT

The Young Carers in Schools programme sets out ten key steps to help schools identify young carers and increase their outcomes. Each step is accompanied by key information and practical tools, which schools can use and adapt to suit their school structure and local circumstances. A baseline review allows school to review their current provision for young carers and identify what manageable steps they can take next to increase identification and outcomes. Those schools that meet five Young Carers Standards can be awarded a Young Carers in Schools Award, as a form of recognition of their work (nationally recognised by the school inspection body). 3 different levels are envisaged: bronze, silver and gold. To gain an award, schools have to provide evidence on how they are meeting five standards (1. Understand; 2. Inform; 3. Identify; 4.Listen; 5. Support), up to the level they hope to achieve.

WHO

Carers Federation, Action for Young Carers (AYC)

WHERE

England, UK

WHAT

AYC is a free and confidential service funded by Nottingham City Council and part of the Carers Federation organisation. Local authorities have commissioned AYC to assess whether the person is a young carer and what kind of support s/he needs (following a whole family assessment). AYC provides awareness raising training and materials to schools. AYC support workers facilitate understanding of young carer needs and the instigation of in-house support systems, i.e. named teacher, young carer school group. In particular, AYC trains safeguarding leads (social workers) in schools to become Young Carer champions (=designated person in the school in charge of young carers issues).

AYC provides young carer photo ID Cards, to support young carer in being recognised and listened to (not just at school).

WHO

Samana (an organisation that is committed to support people with a chronical illness and their carers)

WHERE

Belgium, Flanders Region

WHAT

Samana implemented a pilot project in secondary schools. They started handing out questionnaires about YC’s, for students and teachers, to investigate whether the respondents know YC’s, if they are YC’s themselves. The questionnaires have also a sensitizing effect amongst the pupils and teachers at the school. Then, they organized a meeting with pupils, teachers, care coaches, members of the staff and someone from the pedagogical counseling service. Together they brainstormed about “What would make schools a safe environment for young carers?”. The ideas that got the most of the votes were clustered into very concrete action plans. These were presented at a final stage to the participating schools, in the presence of the minister of Welfare, the press and other stakeholders. The vision for young carers elaborated as part of the action plans is now part of the school policy.

WHO

Our Time

WHERE

UK

WHAT

The programme helps schools to identify and support children who have a parent with a mental illness (COPMI). It offers three kinds of intervention:

  • Awareness raising, identification skills for school staff in responding to affected young people and their families
  • A ‘culture changing’ educational programme for teachers to use with all students to improve sensitivity and understanding (and reduce stigma)
  • Practical help for affected children in thinking about, responding to, and managing their feelings towards their parent/s and peers (to increase their resilience)

A Buddy System can be set up: older teenagers (16-18) with similar experiences are trained to mentor young COPMI students. This form of peer mentoring responds to young people’s need to have someone they trust to talk to who is not a counsellor or therapist.

LINK

Supporting children in schools who have a parent with mental illness – The ‘Who Cares ?’ Programme (UK)

WHO

Carers Trust

WHERE

UK

WHAT

The Bullying Prevention Project (Young Carers), one of Carers Trust’s Innovation Generation projects set out to raise awareness of and improve the understanding of the relationship between bullying and being a young carer.

The focus wasn’t on increasing the resilience of young carers, but rather on improving understanding about the links between being a young carer and bullying. The final goal was to modify environments, systems and support for young carers within schools, community groups or young carer services that would protect young carers and reduce the likelihood that they are bullied.

WHO

Central College Nottingham

WHERE

UK

WHAT

The college’s Learner Achievement Coaches (LAC) team provides a variety of support to learners identified as educationally at risk. Young adult carers are included in this category. They are identified via an Induction Questionnaire. Then, the LAC and the student agree on an individual support plan (reviewed every 6 weeks). The LAC team also adopts a proactive approach to crisis planning, working with student carers before problems arise and putting a crisis plan in place, so that if something does happen, they know what to do. LAC team reassures young adult carers that if they need to take time out from their course – in case of a sudden change in home circumstances, such as deterioration in the health of the person they are caring for-their tutors will be informed, work will be sent home, and any other support will be put in place which will help them to remain engaged.

LINK

Supporting young adult carers – Crisis plans (UK) Available here, page 17-18

WHO

Eastern Ravens Trust

WHERE

UK

WHAT

Eastern Ravens Trust launched an ID card. The card is the size of a credit card and lists the young person’s name, school, college or training provider and has their photograph on the front. The back of the card is signed by a member of staff from the service to verify the young person is a carer. These cards support their emotional health and wellbeing by enabling them to ask for help where needed. Those who have used the ID cards report they have proved invaluable in identifying themselves in everything from schools and GP surgeries to youth centres and when they are out shopping. It helps them feel comfortable and confident when they are out and about. For example, there is one young carer who has used it at school, showing it to staff, so she can ring home at lunchtime to check on her mother, who has mental health problems.

LINK

Easing everyday life with an ID card (UK) Available here, page 23-24

WHO

Winchester & District Young Carers in partnership with secondary schools within the Winchester District

WHERE

UK

WHAT

Awareness raising assemblies are held in schools. Following the assembly, all pupils are given a slip on which they can indicate whether they would like a private meeting with the Schools and Support Co-ordinator. If the pupil has a caring role, he is invited to take part in the Self Exploration Group programme. This is held within the school (one hour long weekly sessions, for five weeks). The session are based upon the following topics: Sharing the challenges of caring, Stress, Facing Fears, Using defences, Positive messages, and Visions, dreams and goals. The sessions allow young carers to talk about their worries, hopes and fears and help them to develop communication skills, coping strategies and social skills. Pupils learn through the experiences of others and realise through the structured discussions that they are ‘not the only one’. The groups have led to a noticeable increase in young carers’ self-confidence.

WHO

Suffolk Family Carers, a Network Partner of Carers Trust, in partnership with Suffolk County Council

WHERE

UK

WHAT

Suffolk Family Carers works with schools to raise awareness of young carers (including among school governors). Schools are supported in identifying a young carers lead, who will act as a champion for young carers. His role is to raise awareness about young carers within the school and lead on developing school policies for young carers. The young carers lead acts as the first point of contact for young carers within the school. With the help of the project staff, the young carers lead is also encouraged to establish support groups for young carers within the school to enable peer support between young carers. Young carers leads are also put in touch with other schools. These contacts allow schools at different stages in their development of policies and support to learn from each other and exchange advice and peer support.

WHO

Talbot Combined School

WHERE

UK

WHAT

Post box are located in the reception of the school. The notes posted here are followed up by the schools’ Pastoral Care Worker, who is a full-time member of staff. She has an open door policy so that any pupil, parent or guardian can talk to her at any time. She will also make contact with parents/carers if she is particularly concerned for a child. The school also set up a group for young carers which the children and young people called ‘Fab Food Friends’. The children wanted to take part in fun activities that would also be useful to develop for their caring role, as many young carers have to cook for their families. This group is led by two teachers who received additional training through a ‘Food for Life’ initiative named the ‘Cooking Bus’ which aims to provide new ideas, recipes and enthusiasm for cooking. The school also accessed a supermarket voucher scheme to help purchase equipment for the group.

LINK

WHO

The University of the West of England (UWE) in partnership with the young carers service at The Carers Support Centre (Bristol and South Gloucestershire) and local schools

WHERE

UK

WHAT

The mentoring scheme recruits only UWE student mentors who have first or second hand experience of being a young carer, so that mentors can bring their own experience to the role and can share their own experiences of progressing through further and higher education. Mentors receive a training (on child protection, listening skills, managing challenging behavior and issues related to young carers). Student mentors need to be enthusiastic and committed to mentoring for the year. The Carers Support Centre identifies young carers who will benefit from the scheme and with their permission and the permission of their parents puts their name forward to the university. The mentoring has primarily an academic focus. It is successful in raising the awareness and the aspirations of young carers to engage and progress with their education. It has been expanded through an online E-mentoring service Bright Links.

WHO

Norfolk Young Carers Forum (NYCF)

WHERE

UK

WHAT

The ‘Young Carer’ Friendly Tick Award is a set of standards for education providers to help them improve identification and support for young carers. These 5 standards are drawn directly from the work of young carers: 1. Have a named member of staff as champion for young carers; 2. Have a young carer agreement; 3. Cover issues relating to young carers in staff training; 4. Display information about young carers within school; 5. Cover topics relating to disability/illness/young carers in assemblies and raise awareness of young carers. A panel of forum members assess the applications. If the schools is awarded, it gets a certificate and it is listed in a ‘roll of honour’, which will highlight schools who have achieved the standards. Awards last for 2 years, at which point award-winners will need to submit an update to show how they are still meeting the standards.

WHO

Norfolk Young Carers Forum (NYCF)

WHERE

Australia

WHAT

Carers WA ‘CLOUD’ Program aims to actively engage with students, educators and parents to increase awareness and supports for young carers within the education system. It educates school students, staff and parents on creating a flexible and supportive school environments. Social and peer support and a community network are provided with events, workshops and camps as well as Facebook and the Young Carers WA website. Young Carers WA is using youth peer-led services and relies on young carer’s own expertise in creating services for them. The impact of Young Carers WA’s good practices are stronger resilience, a sense of belonging and pride in being a young carer, decreased sense of isolation and an increase in general happiness and confidence. They also have more skills available to cope with their caring roles, a greater sense of safety in knowing who to ask for help and optimism about their future.

WHO

York College

WHERE

UK

WHAT

The application form for bursaries asks if the student has caring responsibilities. For students who are carers there is a more flexible cap on the income threshold to qualify for a bursary, which means that very few applications from carers are turned down. The college pays 100% of the student’s essential course costs and up to £1,000 in travel costs. The college also has meal vouchers for carers and is flexible with additional costs such as print credit or money to attend open days. The college is also more flexible in its eligibility requirements for other types of support. For example, the college may issue a young adult carer who lives two miles away with a bus pass despite students not normally being eligible for this if they live within a three mile radius. This means that rather than having to leave college early to walk home or pick up siblings from school, carers can attend as much of their lesson as possible.

LINK

Financial support for young carers (UK) Available here, page 38-39

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