Considerations and questions for transition to a secondary school - Young Carers
Many young carers will have their needs met and questions answered through a universal transition. However, in some cases you might want to consider meeting with your child's new school in order to discuss specific questions around support.
Step 1: Choosing the school
Consider the school your child will attend as for young carers there may be extra considerations to think about. For example:
- The journey time to and from school
- Is the school close to home?
- What are the transport arrangements?
Step 2: Consider requesting a meeting with the school
What support does the school offer to young carers and their families? Request a meeting with the head of year and/ or a member of staff in the pastoral team, and talk to your child's school in confidence about the situation at home and ask what support they can offer. To give you an idea about what a school could offer we have listed some ideas below for supporting young carers in school.
Supporting young carers in school:
- Have a designated young carers' worker who will inform young carers about the support and information that is available to them.
- Provide a 'young carers card or badge' to show to a teacher or member of staff discreetly so that you do not have to keep explaining and repeating to staff that you are a young carer in the classroom.
- Have a lunch time support group for young carers where you can meet and socialise with other young carers.
- Allow young carers to use a mobile phone at lunch times to call home to make sure that the cared for is ok.
- If needed, work closely with young carers' services locally to ensure that schools signpost carers and families for support.
At this meeting we recommend that the young carer attends and gives their own account of the family circumstances and their caring role. This can be done using a written account such as a ' Day in my Life', or a story, or short statements written or typed out and mounted on to cards, (postcard size), one card for each statement. A family photo is always a useful way of introducing other members of the family at the meeting. Here are some statement ideas and headings:
- The cared for condition and how it affects them
- The caring role
- The good things about caring
- The not so good things about caring
- My hobbies, interests and aspirations
- How can the school support me?
Step 3: Meeting with the school
This could be with the Head of Year, form tutor or a member of staff from the pastoral team. Here are some questions you may wish to ask:
- Who is the person in the school who has special responsibility for young carers? Is there a young carers group in the school?
- Who should my child go to if they need to talk?
- Is there a homework club? What support is given at homework club?
- Is the school accessible to disabled parents?
- If my child is unable to attend after school activities what alternatives do you offer?
- If my child is given a detention would you consider lunch time detentions, as staying late after school creates more problems for us as a family?
- What do you do if a parent cannot attend the school for parent's evenings or other meetings and events?
- Is there financial support available for school trips, and who do I talk to about this?
- Who should parents speak to if the caring situation changes?
Make note of any support that the school have offered and agreed to.
Step 4: Review
Consider requesting a review meeting and set a date with a member of staff to look at how things are going.
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