Young people who care for a close relative often face challenges that are barriers to realising their hopes and dreams for the future, unless they have the right support in place.
At Deer Park we have a proactive Pastoral team that provides a dedicated Year Leader for each year group. This means we already have clear systems in place to identify pupils who face challenges in their lives, including those with caring responsibilities, and to plan targeted support.
To build on this existing support, during the week commencing Monday 23 January we will be launching our Young Carer Initiative with Gloucestershire Young Carers, to coincide with National Young Carers Day on Thursday 26 January.
We will be hosting a week of assemblies for every year group, producing dedicated display boards in school, initiating a weekly lunchtime support group, providing information to all staff and beginning to develop a Young Carers policy for the school.
Young carers are children and young people who carry out significant caring tasks and may assume levels of responsibility for a family member which would ordinarily be taken on by an adult. They may be involved in the care of an adult or child in their family affected by:
- a physical disability or sensory impairment
- a long term illness
- mental ill health
- problematic substance misuse
- a learning disability.
Have a look at this interactive game: Life in a Spin. You take on the role of a carer, trying to care for someone whilst also living your life. Whilst this may be nothing new to a carer, experiencing all the tough decisions they have to make on a daily basis, it may help other people appreciate the impact on a carer's life.
Our dedicated member of staff for Young Carers in school is Mrs Hannis, Senior Year Leader for Year 7, who has a wealth of experience from her previous role at Gloucestershire Young Carers.
We recognise that caring responsibilities for young people can have an effect on school attendance, ability to concentrate, behaviour, relationships with peers, homework and performance in exams. We are able to identify all young carers and to deliver effective methods of supporting them to achieve their full potential whilst recognising the positives of any acquired skills and attributes they may have.
Mrs Hannis, Senior Year Leader for Year 7
All staff have access to information and training to enable them to recognise the indications that a child has a caring responsibility and all have opportunities to increase their understanding of the issues facing young carers. The further development of Deer Park’s provision in this area demonstrates the school’s ongoing commitment to the highest standards of pastoral care and the success of its pupils.