William Hulme’s Grammar School (WHGS) has received official recognition for its work with young carers.
Based in Whalley Range, Manchester, the school has been presented with a Bronze award from the Young Carers in Schools programme, run in conjunction with the Carers Trust, for its support for those students who are young carers.
The Young Carers in Schools programme helps primary and secondary schools improve outcomes for young carers, recognising and celebrating good practice through the Young Carers in Schools Award.
Young carers themselves are responsible for the emotional, practical or physical care of a parent, sibling or other family member affected by a variety of issues, including physical disability or mental health. The 2011 census statistics revealed that there are just over 166,000 young carers in England, but research indicates that this is just the tip of the iceberg, with the true figure closer to 700,000 young carers in England, equivalent to one in 12 school children, many of whom are unrecognised and unsupported.
Commenting on the award, WHGS’s Young Carers Lead Teacher Robert MacCallum said:
"We are delighted to have received the bronze award for our ongoing commitment to our young carers. Being part of this incredibly important initiative has enabled us to identify the young carers within the school community, putting in place a variety of positive measures to support them both in and out of school. Those involved have stressed how valuable it has been to have someone to talk to about their caring role, how it impacts upon their life and how they can move forward in the best possible way."
Peter Mulholland, Principal at WHGS added:
"We are really proud of our young carers, who do so much to support their families. Through this programme, we are committed to working alongside them, helping them to overcome the everyday challenges they face and reach their full potential.”
To achieve its award, WHGS demonstrated how it supports young carers in a variety of ways, including homework clubs and drop-in sessions. Staff also receive training in how to recognise young carers, with noticeboards and the school webpage letting those students and families affected know where to go for help and support.
Giles Meyer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust explained:
“Schools play a vital role in 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 the steps schools take to identify and support them can have a huge impact on their learning, wellbeing and life chances.”
Advocating the Young Carers in Schools Programme, Helen Leadbitter, National Young Carers lead at The Children’s Society said:
“Hundreds of schools across England are participating in the Young Carers in Schools programme, using the tools and resources to improve their support systems and ensuring that no child need miss out on educational opportunities because they are a carer. 74% of schools who have achieved a Young Carers in Schools Award have noticed improved attendance among their young carers and 94% have noticed improvements in their wellbeing and confidence.”