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Brimsham Green School

Brimsham wins award for young carer support

South Gloucestershire School, Brimsham Green, has been given a Bronze award for their work to make sure their students don’t miss out on an education because they are young carers. Young carers are children, and yet they take on huge responsibilities looking after someone at home.

The Young Carers in Schools programme helps primary and secondary schools to support young carers and celebrates good practice through the Young Carers in Schools Awards. The programme is delivered by local charity, Carers Support Centre.

Head teacher Kim Garland from Brimsham Green School said: “I am delighted that our work to support our students who have caring responsibilities outside of school has been recognised. We have an increasing understanding of the additional demands placed upon our young people’s time, energy and resilience. We are ambitious, and have already started work on the Silver Award criteria, not because the recognition is important, but because the improved provision for our young carers in school will make a tangible difference to the quality of the relationships we build with them and their families.” 

A student had this to say about the support they receive as a Young Carer at Brimsham Green School, “Young carers are young people who look after someone in their family who is disabled. Sometimes young carers forget to look after themselves properly so having support at school helps them to know that someone is looking out for them and reminding them to look after themselves”.

Joss Tagg, Young Carers Manager at Carers Support Centre, today congratulated Brimsham Green: “To achieve their Bronze Award, Brimsham Green has demonstrated that it supports young carers in many ways, including homework clubs and drop-in sessions with a member of staff who is responsible for this vulnerable group of pupils.  Vital information about how to identify young carers is made available to all school staff, and noticeboards and the school webpage let students and their families know where to go for help”.

Young carers are responsible for the emotional, practical or physical care for a parent, sibling or other family member. According to the 2011 census, there are 1,384 young carers (children aged 5 -15) in Bristol and South Gloucestershire; however research suggests this number could be much higher, equivalent to 1 in 12 school children, many of whom are unrecognised and unsupported.

Young carers can struggle to keep up with their schoolwork, can feel that they don’t belong in school, and can have significantly lower educational attainment than other children. 75% of young carers in Bristol and South Glos have been absent from school due to the physical and mental impact of their caring responsibilities (Young Carers BSG Attendance Survey 2018).

Ofsted's Common Inspection Framework states that inspectors will look at how well schools support young carers.  While some schools are doing this really well, others struggle and this causes real problems for young carers.

To help schools support young carers, Carers Support Centre delivers the Young Carers in Schools programme in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The charity helps schools with inset days and training for staff, governors and pupils. Schools can then set up support groups, homework clubs and drop in sessions for young carers. This gives pupils confidence that staff understand their home situation and means they get the support they need.

Young Carers in Schools is a national programme promoted by Children’s Society and Carers Trust, and hundreds of schools across England are part of it. 80 primary and secondary schools in Bristol and South Gloucestershire are signed up to the programme so far. All schools surveyed said they would recommend the programme to other schools.

The programme is open to all schools in England. Bristol and South Gloucestershire schools can contact Vicki Houselander on 0117 958 9980 or VickiH@carerssupportcentre.org.uk, or visit the Carers Support Centre website.

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