Model academy is bucking the trend by supporting its young carers

According to new research, launched as part of Carers Week 9-12 June, carers are said to be dropping out of education or getting lower grades due to inadequate support.  Ormiston Denes Academy (ODA) is bucking that trend by taking simple actions to support their young carers.

Young careers Denes.jpg

Previous research carried out on the impact of balancing education and care for young carers under the age of 18 found a quarter of young carers said they were bullied at school because of their caring role and 27% of young carers (aged 11-15) miss school or experience educational difficulties.

ODA are clearly an exemplar and model academy who have worked hard to implement the young carers in school programme. For the past 12 months they have been working towards Suffolk Young Carers' accreditation and are the first in Lowestoft to be awarded silver and the quickest in Suffolk to achieve it. They are set to achieve gold status by August, a significant achievement and one to shout about ‘very loudly.’

They have also been selected to contribute to the Suffolk Young Carers report for the Department for Education (DfE) as case studies of good practice. ODA have proactively identified carers through the training of all staff, supported and sign posted carers through monthly drop-ins, held celebration events and held awareness raising assemblies, offering flexibility to those who need it and when.

Peter Marshall, Principal at ODA said:

"We are extremely proud to have such admirable young people who do a fantastic job, it is not easy and that is why we have put everything in place so we can support them as best we can, and to ensure they gain the education and qualifications they need as they move on to their next destination.  It is estimated that there are 700,000 young carers in the UK, so if carers are supported they are twice as likely to be able to balance education and care. We still have a long way to go but at ODA we are playing a part in supporting our 30 plus carers.”

Emily Holzhausen, who leads the Carers Week partnership said:

“Too often, young adults and mature students are caring for relatives without adequate support from their school, college or university. When this is the case, it can have serious consequences for carers’ life chances, qualifications and career prospects."

“When carers are supported by their local communities, they feel much more able to balance looking after their loved one with their education. Yet carers of all ages are telling us that their schools, colleges and universities aren’t doing enough to support them. So this Carers Week we wanted to urge education providers and professionals to look at how they can improve the way they identify and provide support for carers but it doesn’t stop there, the work continues throughout the year!”

Carers Week 6–12 June 2016 and is an annual awareness campaign which takes place to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It is also a time of intensive local activity with thousands of events planned for carers across the UK. Carers Week is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association and MS Society, and is kindly supported by Sainsbury’s, Nutricia and the Lockwood Charitable Foundation.