Resources for Schools
The need for a whole of school approach
School is an important place in the development of a young person, and many young carers find it can be a place where they can have a break from their caring responsibilities. It is also a time where young carers can focus on their own social and academic lives, rather than the needs of the person they care for.
The most effective way to help young carers at your school now and in the future is to adopt a whole of school approach. It is important for teachers and school staff to have the support of the whole school community when managing the needs of young carers.
If a teacher would like to give an extension to a student who is also a young carer, that teacher needs understanding and backing from their principal and colleagues about their reasons for doing so.
In WA, there are likely to be at least two young carers in every classroom! Do you know who they are?
The 'Young Carer Aware School' program outlines what schools can do to create a supportive and understanding environment which will enable young carers to achieve their very best in their education. It is of no cost to schools and forms a part of the Young Carers in Education project.
Below is the criteria schools must fulfill to achieve 'Young Carer Aware' status! Check it out, it's a great way to continue your whole school approach to supporting young carers.
How to improve the life of young carers at your school
Outlined below are a number of practical suggestions for improving the lives of young carers at your school.
- Have a question on your school enrolment form about the home situation - ask if there is anyone at home with a disability or long term illness.
- Have a known person within the school staff who is a point of contact for young carers and can provide appropriate support and referral.
- Allow young carers to phone home if they are worried about the person they care for.
- Make sure parent/teacher meetings are accessible to people with disabilities; consider making alternative times or locations if an evening doesn't suit.
- Have young carers timetables at the school office, so relatives and staff can make speedy contact if there is a problem at home.
- Make sure that education about disability, illness and mental health problems are part of the teaching calendar for staff.
- Contact Carers WA about our Young Carer Program - you might like to raise awareness about our events through your school newsletter.
- Organise to have a school visit to educate students about the issues that can affect young carers. Click here for a list of programs run in Western Australia.