Ninety per cent of teachers have no training on dealing with young carers, union survey shows

A survey by Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found that ninety per cent of those surveyed said they received no training on how to support young carers.

It also found that only one in three members said they work in a school providing special support to young carers.

The union is now calling for more to be done, raising the issue of supporting young and adult carers at its annual conference in Liverpool yesterday.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: “Young carers should feel supported in schools and colleges so that they can fulfil their education potential and enjoy as much of their childhood as possible, but the reality is many are bullied, feel isolated, or struggle with their learning because of their caring role.”

ATL also raised concerns over the support for adult carers. Twenty nine per cent of those surveyed said they care for someone, with 61 per cent having to take time off to carry on caring duties.

“More needs to be done to address the issues faced by the increasing number of adults with caring responsibilities as they try to balance work and caring duties. At present, valued education staff are being forced out of the profession as the strain is too much or their employer is inflexible.”

A secondary school teacher in North Yorkshire, who did not want to be named, said in the survey: “Children who are carers often know what help they need or what will make life easier, staff should take much more advice from them.

“Laundry support for uniform would be more practical than a counsellor for example, a meal to take home better than homework.

“We encourage students to take catering lessons so that they have practical skills. I’m not diminishing the need for emotional support, but often practical things make a big difference.”

A secondary school teacher in Lancashire added: “I feel that a clear policy and procedure for all carers would be beneficial. It is the emotional drain on the carer that is uppermost and if procedure and policy were clear then this would alleviate some of the worry.”

Dorothy Jowitt, a primary supply teacher in Nottinghamshire, said: “As an experienced teacher I felt very let down at my previous school. I had no option in the end but to resign from a permanent post which I enjoyed as I couldn’t carry out my carer’s role as well as trying to be committed to my teaching post as I wanted to be.”


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