carers trustIN the latest Department for Education school census, 54,000 pupils were identified as being a young carer, including 21,000 primary school pupils.

This was only the second year for which such data was recorded, and showed an increase on the previous year, when just under 40,000 young carers, including over 15,000 primary school pupils, were identified. Children are  identified as a young carer either by the school or by a parent or guardian.

Responding to the new data, Carers Trust’s Policy and Practice Manager, Andy McGowan, said: “The increase in young carers recorded by schools shows some progress is being made on identifying them in the classroom. But over 70 per cent of schools still reported having no young carers at all – something we know is simply not correct.

“It is estimated there are actually two young carers in every class. This shows whoever forms the next Government needs to urgently prioritise improving young carer identification and support. With persistent absence rates for young carers ‘nearly twice as high as their peers’, this is a group of pupils who cannot be ignored.

“Local carer services up and down the country are working tirelessly to increase recognition and awareness in schools but they can’t tackle this alone. The longer the next Government waits to address this crucial issue, the longer we as a country are failing an estimated one million young people in the UK. That’s why Carers Trust is demanding their education is protected.

“We’re calling on all political parties to commit to funding initiatives that improve identification for young carers in education and to require every education setting to have a young carers lead and policy. Young carers need better and they deserve better.”

* Read the school census data, Schools, pupils and their characteristics here.

* Source: Carers Trust