Education

Young carers have double the rate of persistent absence finds MYTIME report

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: May 8, 2024 | Updated: 8th May 2024

A report from MYTIME Young Carers, the Bournemouth-based national charity dedicated to supporting and enhancing outcomes for young carers, has highlighted persistent educational disadvantages they face.

The comprehensive report, titled “The Educational Outcomes of Young Carers and the Disadvantages They Face”, found persisting disparities faced by young carers in comparison to their peers.

It examines data collected from seven primary schools participating in the MYTIME Level Up programme, revealing stark differences in educational experiences and outcomes.

Key findings from the report include:

  • • Young carers have double the rate of persistent absence compared to their peers, averaging 27 days missed per academic year.
  • • Young carers age 5-11 are significantly underperforming in writing, reading and mathematics in comparison to children who do not have a caring responsibility with only 51% reaching age related expectations in reading, 39% reaching age related expectations in writing and 49% reaching age related expectations in maths.
  • • Only 10% of disadvantaged children who leave primary school below expected reading standards achieve passes in English and maths at GCSE level.
  • • Financial and economic disadvantages further exacerbate challenges, with 44% of young carers receiving free school meals and 53% eligible for Pupil Premium; funding to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.
  • • Despite legislative mandates, there remains a lack of consistency in identifying and supporting young carers within educational settings, with 79% of schools not recording any number of young carers in the national school census.

Commenting on the report, Krista Cartlidge, CEO of MYTIME Young Carers stated: “The findings of our report underscore the urgent need for targeted interventions and systemic changes to ensure young carers receive the support they deserve.

“Education is a fundamental right, yet many young carers are being denied equitable access and opportunities due to systemic barriers.”

Social Finance, a not-for-profit organisation who are passionate about making the world a fairer place, said: “We welcome this milestone research by MYTIME, which highlights the poorer educational outcomes faced by Young Carers from an early age.

“By examining free school meals, pupil premiums, and SEND registers, MYTIME also highlights the need for young carers to be seen through a whole-child lens.

“This approach is crucial for practitioners and policymakers to deepen their understanding of how caring responsibilities intersect with other factors that can make our young people vulnerable to exploitation and exclusion.”

In light of these findings, MYTIME Young Carers has outlined several recommendations for multi-agency professionals, including statutory children’s services, schools, and education providers.

These recommendations aim to improve identification processes, allocating resources effectively, and fostering supportive environments conducive to the academic success of young carers.

Ben Antell, Director of Secondary Academies at United Learning said, “This report is further evidence of what we already know.

“Young Carers need more support across education and wider children’s services to maximise their educational potential. Charities and organisations like MYTIME are pivotal in bringing about the positive change needed.

“Young Carers already face significant challenge and education needs to be the ‘enabler’ for this group of wonderful young people.”

The full report, including detailed methodology and recommendations, is available on the MYTIME Young Carers website: www.mytimeyoungcarers.org

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