Lisa Cameron – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lisa Cameron on 2016-03-23.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department has taken to provide additional support for educational studies to young carers.

Edward Timpson

Schools play an important part in identifying pupils who are young carers and in offering them appropriate support. That is why my Department works with Carers Trust and The Children’s Society to share tools, good practice and increase awareness in schools of young carers’ issues. Ofsted inspectors will also pay particular attention to the outcomes achieved by young carers in schools.

We have changed the law so that, since April 2015, all young carers are entitled to an assessment of their needs for support, regardless of who they care for, what type of care they provide or how much time they spend caring.

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund enables students from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in further education by helping them to overcome any financial barriers they face. With the help of Carers Trust, we have recently improved our guidance to the schools, colleges and training providers that administer the bursary on how they can better identify and support eligible young carers. We also have strong links with the National Association of Managers of Student Services, a network of college staff who have direct responsibility for providing appropriate support for students. We have provided Carers Trust with access to this network so they can agree in partnership how they can better raise awareness of young carers’ circumstances and support requirements.

Around 60%, of young carers are thought to be eligible for free school meals, and those who have been registered for free school meals at any point in the last six years will be attracting pupil premium funding to the schools that they attend.

Additionally, all young people who have not achieved their full potential at age 16 in terms of achieving a grade C in English and maths GCSE at the age of 16 attract extra funding to provide the educational support they need to achieve and progress. Any young carer who finds themselves in this situation will be able to access additional educational support from their school or college.

We also funded Suffolk Family Carers over £111,000 in 2015-16 to run a local project to raise awareness of young carers amongst teachers, non-teaching staff and school nurses, including a focus on young carers’ mental health, supporting Suffolk County Council’s strategy on young carers. We are now evaluating that project.