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Worthing College wins award for young carer support

29 September 2023

Worthing College has been given a Bronze award for its work in ensuring students don’t miss out on an education because they are young carers.

The Young Carer in Schools programme helps primary and secondary schools improve outcomes for young carers and celebrates good practice through the Young Carers in Schools Award.

To achieve the Bronze Award, Worthing College has demonstrated that it supports young carers in many ways, including drop-in sessions with a member of staff who is responsible for this vulnerable group of students.

The college is currently the only education provider in West Sussex to have received this award (according www.youngcarersinschools.com).

Helena Thomas, Principal of Worthing College, said: “We are so proud of the team for achieving a Young Carers in Schools Bronze award.

“This is deserved recognition for Nichola Hetzel and Emma Priest, along with the wider team, for the work they do for young carers at the college.

“It’s absolutely vital that we give young carers the help and support they need while they are with us, ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed, and the support they need while coping with what can be challenging home lives.

“I know Emma and Nichola are constantly striving to improve our service, and this is just the beginning for them as they introduce more changes which will enhance these students’ college experience.” 

Emma and Nichola added: “We are really pleased to have achieved this award.

“Our Young Carers are amazingly resilient, driven and determined and we look forward to continuing to provide the best support we can for them on their college journey.” 

Young carers are responsible for emotional, practical or physical care for a parent, sibling or other family member who has a physical disability, mental health issue or substance misuse issue. The 2011 Census statistics revealed that there are just over 166,000 young carers in England, but research reveals that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The true figure could be closer to 800,000 young carers in England, equivalent to one in five secondary aged school children many of whom are unrecognised and unsupported.  

Research carried out by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society shows that, on average, young carers miss or cut short 48 school days a year and often have lower levels of self-confidence, mental wellbeing and significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level, because of their caring role.

To help schools and colleges support young carers, the programme offers a step-by-step guide for leaders, teachers and non-teaching staff, with practical tools designed to make it as easy as possible for schools. Staff can also receive training through webinars and events and the programme also features a newsletter each term highlighting relevant policy developments, spotlighting good practice and giving updates on the programme’s successes.

Giles Meyer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, congratulated award-winning schools, saying: “The Young Carers in Schools programme is helping to transform schools and support staff across England. Schools play a vital role in a young carer’s life, as many care for relatives without their teachers even knowing what they do.

“On average young carers will miss a day of school each month as a result of their caring role, so the steps schools take to identify and support them can have a huge impact on their learning, wellbeing and life chances.”

Luella Goold, Service Manager at The Children’s Society, is delighted that the Young Carers in Schools Programme is bringing about national change.  

“Hundreds of schools across England are participating in the Young Carers in Schools programme, using the tools and resources to improve their support systems, and ensuring that no child need miss out on educational opportunities because they are a carer.

“74% of schools who have achieved a Young Carers in Schools Award have noticed improved attendance among their young carers, and 94% have noticed improvements in their wellbeing and confidence.”