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Carer Support Wiltshire are thrilled to have presented six more school with ‘carer friendly award’ status over the past few months.

Downton CE Primary School, Greentrees Primary School in Salisbury, The Corsham School, Hardenhuish School in Chippenham, Kingsdown School in Warminster and St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon have all achieved carer friendly status for their schools and are now fully equipped to identify and support young carers within their school communities.

In order to receive the carer friendly award, schools must fulfil certain criteria – for example by having a member of staff who is a designated carers lead, keeping an up-to-date register of pupils who have caring responsibilities, displaying information about and for young carers around the school and running a regular young carer group where pupils who are caring for someone can provide and receive peer-to-peer support and feel less alone in their situation.

Carer Support Wiltshire provide carer friendly schools with up-to-date advice on how to support young carers. Small things can make a big difference – such as a young carer’s teachers being made aware of their home situation, being able to have flexibility with homework and being able to take urgent phone calls from home on a mobile phone while at school.

Research shows that young carers overall miss more days of school than their peers, are three times more likely to be NEET when they leave school (not in education, employment or training) and are more likely to struggle with loneliness and poor mental health than their peers.

Young carers can still achieve as much as anyone else, but they do need extra support and understanding in order to do so.

The above schools have demonstrated excellent awareness of the needs of young carers and many have gone above and beyond to support their young carers. At Hardenhuish School (pictured above receiving their award), for example, young carers participated in a special art day in October and created a stunning mural based on friendship circles. In March they celebrated national Young Carers Action Day with whole school events. They have a dedicated email address and run weekly drop-in sessions for young carers.

These six schools join four schools that were the first pilot schools to receive the young carer friendly award earlier in 2023. The schools who already have the award are: Longleaze Primary School in Royal Wootton Bassett, Studley Green Primary School in Trowbridge, The John of Gaunt School in Trowbridge and The Wellington Academy in Tidworth.

Award status can be gained through the Wiltshire Healthy Schools programme. Carer Support Wiltshire are looking forward to awarding further schools which are currently applying for carer friendly status in the new year.