Published: June 28, 2022 | Updated: June 29, 2022

Young carers come under spotlight as charity organises county’s first-ever education summit

Krista Sharp, CEO, MYTIME Young Carers (right) with (left to right) Laura Cole, Level Up Programme Co-Ordinator, MYTIME Young Carers; Professor Saul Becker; Dan Morris, Senior Leadership at Upton Junior School; Andy McGowan, Caring Together. All, bar Krista, are former young carers.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

The spotlight was firmly on young carers as schools and professionals came together for Dorset’s first-ever Education Summit.

Held at Bournemouth University the aim of the one-day event was to raise awareness of young carers, and their needs, and inspire educators to make meaningful change for such young people within their institutions.

More than 100 educational professionals and 20 young carers attended the summit which was organised by Dorset-based charity, MYTIME Young Carers.

Because of their duties at home, young carers can find it difficult to complete homework, get to school on time or attend regularly.

And if they’re worried about a relative, or experiencing high levels of stress at home, they may then struggle to concentrate in class.

As a result, young carers achieve on average nine grades lower overall at GCSE than their peers.

Through the inaugural summit, MYTIME aimed to highlight the impact that childhood caring responsibilities can have on a child, and the pivotal role that schools have to play in supporting young carers.

The keynote speaker was Professor Saul Becker, pictured right, regarded as the world’s leading expert on young carers.

He said: “Hearing the stories of young carers, and seeing so many representatives from educational establishments attend, was incredible.

“It’s so important to raise awareness of the challenges young carers face and the steps that educators can take to support them.”

Other speakers included:

  • Krista Sharp, CEO of MYTIME Young Carers
  • Ben Antell, United Learning’s Regional Director
  • Samantha Viney, Principal of Glenmoor & Winton Academies
  • Jane Pope, Pastoral Care Worker & Young Carer Champion at Burton CofE Primary School

20 young carers from Dorset also shared their stories and the ten things they wish their teachers knew to empower other children in their position.

Lara, a young carer, said: “I’ve been caring for my mum since I was about four.

“It’s been hard to keep up with homework and I’m always getting detentions.”

Her brother, Bradley, added: “Sometimes there are more pressing things to do than homework when you’re caring for someone.”

Krista said: “The turnout was fantastic, we couldn’t have hoped for better.

“Over 100 school representatives and professionals attended, and the research off the back of the summit will really help to raise awareness of how young carers can be better supported.

“We’re really proud that the first Education Summit in Dorset was such a huge success, and we absolutely plan for it to return next year.”

The MYTIME Young Carers team behind the summit.

MYTIME Young Carers provides a Level Up Programme which supports schools to improve their provision for young carers.

In the UK, there are an estimated 700,000 young carers but only 166,000 are registered as such.

It means the vast majority are facing the challenges of caring for a vulnerable relative without support from their school or local authority.