A HARLOW school has been awarded for its work to support young people who care for relatives at home.
Sir Frederick Gibberd College, in Harlow, has been given a bronze Young Carers in Schools Award for its work to make sure students do not miss out on education because they are young carers.
The Young Carers in Schools programme helps primary and secondary schools to improve outcomes for young carers and celebrates good practice.
A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who helps to look after a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition or drug or alcohol problem, or younger sibling.
Katy Tyler, learning mentor, underwent training to ensure any young person at the school who is acting as a young carer can be given the help and support they need.
She said: “We have worked hard to secure our bronze award. The assessors were so impressed with the work we are doing, they have encouraged us to now go for the silver award.
“At Sir Frederick, we have educated staff on what young carers are, so they know what they are looking out for, as it is not always obvious which young people are caring for others. We have created notice boards for staff and students to share information about young carers, started a lunchtime drop-in session once a week to give young carers an opportunity to take time out and be just children for a while and we have set up an email address so they can contact me with any concerns they may have.”
With schools now closed due to the Coronavirus, the school is making regular phone calls to ensure its young carers are coping at home.
Mrs Tyler said: “I am calling our children every other day to have a chat with them. We are talking about anything and everything, even just the weather to give them something other than their caring role to think about for half an hour or an hour. They cannot get a break at the moment, so our phone and video calls are really important to them.
“Our young carers are under even more pressure at the moment without the break of school.”
David Mirzai, schools development co-ordinator for Young Carers, said: “I had no doubts you would pass. It is great to work with you. Bring on Silver.”
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