The important role that schools can play in the early identification of young people with additional support needs has been highlighted by young people and guidance over the years.
When a child is at risk of taking on a caring role, specifically when they are affected by a parents substance misuse or mental ill health, early intervention and joint working by schools can provide valuable support.
The Local Memorandum of Understanding (2012) provides a list of recommended actions for schools including:
- Have a named staff member with lead responsibility for young carers and to recognise this role within continuing professional development.
- Have in place a policy to encourage practice that identifies and supports young carers.
- Promote open communication with families that supports parenting capacity and encourages the sharing of information.
- Raise awareness about young carers and promote understanding of the caring issues that will touch all families at some point; linking with other agencies as appropriate
- Ensure the provision of personalised and effective school-based support that incorporates the principles of awareness, inclusion, understanding and support for young carers to achieve their full potential.
- Include positive messages and images about people with disabilities; including, mental ill health within the wider school curriculum.
- Consider and where reasonably practicable take action to remove barriers to physical access and communication and promote inclusion.
- Be sensitive to cultural and religious needs.
Below are some resources and tools to support inclusion:
The Children’s Society MyLife4Schools website: www.mylife4schools.org.uk
A free Key Stage 2 (KS2) PSHE and Citizenship teaching resource
The Children’s Society and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers Schools Resources Pack: http://www.youngcarer.com/resources/schools-resources
A Healthy Schools young carers e-learning module is now available to help school staff who work with young carers:
Link to Schools Information leaflet / Substance misuse schools leaflet
Downloadable schools notice board pack available from our Professional Resources Section