A petition to make it law for schools to support young carers has been backed by a Sheffield charity.
There are over 7,300 young carers in Sheffield alone and around 800,000 across the UK.
Sheffield Young Carers (SYC) has teamed with Young Carers National Voice to campaign for every school to require a Designated Young Carers Lead. This would ensure that all carers across the country would get equal support within their learning.
Katie Borland, Director of Funding and External Relations at SYC, said: “It’s all about levelling that playing field and making sure that there’s no postcode lottery attached to support in schools.”
SYC offers support to children aged eight to 25 through one-to-one work, group support, trips, holidays, and help with education, employment and training.
The Children’s Society discovered that 39 per cent of carers said nobody in their school was aware of their caring responsibilities. They also found that young carers score significantly lower in GCSEs due to caring commitments and missing school.
A Designated Young Carers Lead would give the young person a safe space to speak about their care, alert other teachers about their caring commitments and relieve some of the pressure put on student carers.
So far, over 250 people have signed the petition.
One commenter on the petition said: “Every young carer deserves support and everyone has a role in this. Schools play one of the most fundamental roles in identification and support of young carers.”
This all precedes Young Carers Action Day on March 16, which aims to share personal stories, raise awareness of young carers and commit to protecting young carers’ futures.
Just this year, the term has been changed from ‘Awareness Day’ to ‘Action Day’, in order to inspire action from the community to support young carers.
Mrs Borland said: “It’s just an absolutely fantastic opportunity for young people, more so than us as an organisation, to actually have our voices heard.
“It really makes a difference to the young people that we work with that they know that the city is supporting them.”