There are hundreds of young carers in the county who look after loved ones but many go unnoticed as others do not even realise they are a young carer, which is why West Sussex Young Carers Service has developed a new learning resource pack.
The pack provides tools for teachers to introduce what can be a sensitive topic in a school environment and includes young carer information for staff, lesson plans and the short film created with young carers by community theatre company Making Theatre Gaining Skills.
The learning resource, which was launched ahead of Young Carers Awareness Day on 25 January, is now available in all of the county’s secondary schools to raise awareness of who a young carer is and what schools can do to help.
Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “In a recent survey by Barnardos, schools said it can often be very difficult for them to pick up on the signs that a child might be a carer.
“We were already all too aware of this which is why the team have been working on this learning resource as there will be a number of young carers in West Sussex who may not have told their teachers that they look after a loved one.
“This film has an important role in showing students and teachers how they can be of support to young carers in school. The smallest of changes in school can make a big difference to young carers while they’re in education.”
A young carer is someone who is impacted by the health needs of someone in their family. They may offer their loved ones practical, personal and emotional support.
The Regis School, in Bognor Regis, has been one of the first in the county to trial the pack.
Katie Robinson, team leader for PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education), said: “Overall the feedback has been positive. It has been particularly helpful for the pastoral team in our school who often are the first point of contact for students.
“As students, I think it will help them to identify if they are a ‘young carer’ and that, if so, there is extra support available for them in and out of school. A lot of young people don’t seem to realise they are a young carer as it is just the ‘norm’ for them.”
To find out more about young carers, visit the county council website and search for ‘young carers’.