Witney schools win awards for supporting Young Carers
Schools across Witney have received awards from Oxfordshire County Council for the support they provide for pupils who care for family members at home.
The Young Carers Standard recognises schools’ efforts to identify young carers and provide targeted support to help them achieve their potential. Since its launch in 2013 more than 60 Oxfordshire schools have received training and support to deliver the scheme and earn an accreditation.
The following Witney schools received their award during the summer term:
- Madley Brook CP School - Silver Young Carers School Standard Award
- Queen Emma's Primary School - Bronze Young Carers School Standard Award
- Wood Green School - Bronze Young Carers School Standard Award
- The Batt CofE School - Bronze Young Carers School Standard Award
The council's Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services Steve Harrod said: “Congratulations to the latest schools to receive an award as part of this excellent award scheme. We tend not to think of children as carers, but this is the reality for many children of school age who for various reasons find themselves responsible for the care of a family member at home.
"There might be less time for homework or extra-curricular activities, and there could be issues with school attendance linked to caring commitments. There may also be times during the school day when a young carer needs to contact someone at home.
He added: “The Young Carers Standard is about schools putting measures in place to identify these issues and provide the extra support that children in this situation may need to fulfil their potential.”
Young Carers School Link Worker from Gold-award-winning St Nicholas Primary School, Sharon Hembury said: "By signing up for the Young Carers Standard programme and focusing on the challenges that young carers face, it has enabled us to support both academically and emotionally children that are facing obligations placed on them through the needs of others.
“Up until three years ago, when we signed up for the standards, these young carers would have potentially slipped below the radar at school and become invisible and disadvantaged."
Under the scheme, school staff receive training and put measures in place such as:
- Allocating a Young Carers ‘Lead’ within staff
- Providing practical support to improve young carers’ attainment
- Raising awareness of young carers through school assemblies
- Providing emotional support and counselling
- Encouraging children to discuss issues
- Monitoring the progress of young carers through school, as a vulnerable group
Any school across Oxfordshire can sign up to the programme run by Oxfordshire County Council Young Carers Team. The team offers free support, advice and guidance for schools to identify and support young carers. Schools can work towards the Bronze, Silver and Gold Award level.
Schools interested in taking part should email the Oxfordshire County Council Young Carers team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information about support available for young carers can be found here