Schools given honours for looking after young carers

Schools given honours for looking after young carers

Schools given honours for looking after young carers

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Bicester and Banbury. Call me on (01865) 425426

SCHOOLS have been honoured for giving youngsters who care for family members extra support.

Oxfordshire County Council has recognised 18 schools under the Schools Standards Awards (SSA).

Its young carers manager Deborah Parkhurst set up the scheme – with 37 county schools – to support 1,500 young carers.

It aims support the welfare of young carers and help them get the best possible GCSE results.

They include homework and after school clubs and face-to-face counselling sessions to share experiences and boost their confidence.

More than 100 teachers and young carers attended an awards ceremony at Magdalen College, Oxford, last month.

Among those who have been supported by the school is Cheney School pupil Jason Hessleton, 14.

He helps look after his mum, Denise, 43, and step-dad, Craig Wright, 43, who are both deaf, and has been attending the young carers club since it started at the school.

The Headington youngster, an only child, said: “It has given me somewhere to go and helped me improve my work.

“This year I won most improved student in the school, I was shocked when I found out.

“I have had to help my mum all my life. I know sign language and if people don’t know it then I have to help when we go out and when people come to the door.”

Mrs Parkhouse said: “We need to change the culture in the schools, we need it to be easier for young carers to come forward, we need it to be a positive experience.

“It is not any more complicated than asking students what they did when they got home from school.

“For young carers that is something like ‘I sat with my mum because she was upset’, or ‘I had to do the cooking’, or ‘ I put my brothers and sisters to bed.’ “But it is having the confidence to ask the questions in the first place.”

Among the schools recognised was Banbury Academy, which supports more than 50 young carers.

Vice principal Simon Davies said: “We asked ourselves how many young carers do we have and we didn’t really know. I think over the past year something that has changed is that they are not embarrassed by it anymore, it is just something that they are or aren’t.

“And they are quite happy talking about it and a lot of them are quite proud to be carers.

“A lot of them are really proud of it.”

Those receiving recognition

Bartholomew School – silver

The Henry Box School – silver

The Warriner School – bronze

St Nicholas Primary School – silver

Wolvercote Primary School – bronze

Windmill Primary School – bronze

Cheney School – silver

Fir Tree Junior School – silver

Abbey Wood Academy – bronze

Faringdon Junior School – bronze

Caldecott Primary School – bronze

Wheatley Park School – bronze

Faringdon Community College – bronze

Chiltern Edge School – silver

Didcot Girls’ School – silver

Fitzharrys School – silver

Lord William’s School – silver

Banbury Academy – silver

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