Bedford school in award first for supporting young carers

"We allow them to be able to carry out their caring role, alongside their schooling"

By Reporter
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 1:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 1:48 pm

Oakley Primary Academy is the first school to receive Carers in Bedfordshire’s Young Carer Schools Award.

The charity - along with young carers - devised 10 standards for schools to meet, to enhance young carers’ education and participation in school life.

And Oakley - part of the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) - achieved all the criteria and were presented with the award on Friday (January 21).

Janice Styles presenting the award to young carer link worker Dawn Hulatt and young carers from the school

A young carer looks after someone in their family who is unable to cope without their support, such as a brother, sister, or a parent.

On average, there are two young carers in every classroom and must manage a lot of responsibilities and pressure at a young age.

Janice Styles, young carers coordinator at Carers in Bedfordshire said: “Oakley embeds good practice across the school, in meeting the needs of this vulnerable group.

"Supporting young carers is so important and has been highlighted in Ofsted’s inspection framework. The teachers at Oakley have been wonderful in developing a culture of acceptance, understanding and support for young carers."

Sarah Litchfield, principal of Oakley Primary Academy, said: “I am extremely proud of our school for achieving this award for the support we provide young carers.

"We understand the pressure they are under at home and the huge amount of responsibility they take on, which can sometimes have an impact on their education.

"We give our young carers as much help and support as possible, to allow them to be able to carry out their caring role, alongside their schooling.

“As part of our support, we have a young carer link worker and encourage pupils to speak to us if they are a young carer so that we can put the appropriate support in place to meet their individual needs.

"We also work alongside families to help spot young carers and use posters and assemblies to help them self-identify with their role, as some children may not even realise they are a young carer when looking after a loved one becomes part of their family life.

“We also provide our young carers with homework extensions when needed, can adjust start times and allow them to check on the person they care for if necessary. This is all part of the school’s ethos that every child should have the opportunity to strive, achieve and flourish, to fulfil their potential and make a real difference.”