The Young Carers in Schools Award recognises Activate Learning’s commitment to supporting student young carers across our eight campuses in several ways.
Young Carers in Schools is a free initiative that makes it as easy as possible for schools to support young carers and rewards good practice. Run jointly by The Children’s Society and Carers Trust, the Young Carers in Schools (YCiS) programme works with schools across England to share good practice, provide relevant tools and training, and celebrate the great outcomes many schools achieve for young carers.
A young carer is someone under 18 and a young adult carer is someone aged between 18-25, who provides care for another person who is ill, disabled, has a mental health condition, or addiction problem.
Many young carers look after a relative, usually a parent or sibling. They often take on practical or emotional caring responsibilities. This can have a significant impact on young carers’ physical health, emotional wellbeing, educational attainment and social development.
To qualify for and receive the award, Activate Learning had to provide evidence that it met the five standards. Firstly, Understand, indicating that there are assigned members of staff with responsibility for understanding and addressing young carers needs. Secondly, Inform, showing that awareness is raised by sharing knowledge about disability, illness and young carers throughout the school. Thirdly, Identify, proving that young carers are being identified within your school. Fourthly, Listen, when carers are listened to, consulted with and given time and space to talk. Lastly, Support, highlighting how young carers are supported within the educational setting, and signposted to whole family resources and services outside of it.
Emilia Fry is a young carer, who is studying at Merrist Wood College and University Centre.
She said: “My experience has been good. I don’t have any trouble managing my workload at college and homelife. I’m very happy overall and I’ve made good friends.
“Usually, I never feel like I need the extra support. There has been a time where I needed some extra support, and I was able to get to Student Support at Merrist Wood College and University Centre easily.
“Ayesha, who is one of the Transition and Retention Advisors, found me in college and put me at ease with my worries.
“I’m aware of who Seb (another Transition and Retention Advisor) is, and when he comes to Merrist Wood College and University Centre. I know I can access help from both members of staff, both in person and through email.”
Millie Ellis, Group Designated Safeguarding Lead at Activate Learning, said: “We recognise the important role young carers and young adult carers play within their families and appreciate the additional responsibilities this often places on them.
“Their dedication and resilience, juggling their studies alongside caring for their loved ones, is commendable.
“I am immensely proud that our efforts have been recognised through achieving this award, highlighting our commitment to identifying, understanding and supporting our young carers. I would like to thank our dedicated teams for their efforts in helping our young carer students achieve their full potential.”
A spokesperson for the Children’s Society and Carers’ Trust said: “Many congratulations to Activate Learning. It is fantastic to see colleges making such great progress in supporting young carers through the Young Carers in Schools programme.
“This programme has shone a much-needed light on the often hidden and difficult challenges faced by students who care for family members. The right support from college for these children can have a hugely positive impact on their education and wellbeing.
“Activate Learning secured their Bronze Award with a whole-college approach for students, from homework clubs to training staff to identify young carers, really underscoring the importance of a comprehensive strategy so that caring duties do not compromise a student’s education.”
Find out more about Activate Learning or contact us via telephone at 0800 612 6008.