Support for student carers in colleges and universities in England is growing. Although these developments are inconsistent and do not currently constitute a comprehensive Carers Passport, there is good practice taking place. The following practice examples could be brought together by colleges and universities and incorporated into a Carers Passport scheme.
York City card
A Young Carers Card [insert PDF of York Young Cares Card] initiated by York Carers Centre and the Youth Council in the City of York operates in schools and colleges across the city. At enrolment, students are able to tick a box on an induction form to identify themselves as a young adult carer. This is then flagged on the College system for staff to see. Support teams are then able to contact them and issue the card which provides them with a range of dispensations such as ‘Time-Out’ of a class and being able to phone the person they care for. Student carers are offered pastoral support, free access to a confidential counselling service and practical support as needed.
Financial support at York College
The College has a strong focus on supporting carers, recognising that they often need additional financial support in order to attend and succeed on their chosen course. College policies have been updated to formally recognise student carers as a priority group and ensure that student carers have an explicit entitlement to funding.
The Funding Team are able to allocate an enhanced bursary package of full travel funding, meal vouchers and full funding for equipment costs to student carers, even if their household income is above the standard threshold. A flexible approach means that additional, individual needs can be met as they arise, such as funding a more expensive form of transport if a student needs to get somewhere quickly in an emergency.
A separate card scheme is run by York Carers Centre that local businesses are signed up to and which provides all carers with a range of discounts across the City. A separate emergency carers card also provides support in an emergency, such as a carer being involved in an accident.
Liverpool John Moores University
Liverpool John Moores University [link: https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/discover/student-support/young-adult-carers] offers young carers opportunities to visit the university and to get in touch with the dedicated member of staff for Young Adult Carers within student advice and wellbeing services before they apply.
When students arrive, the University works with them to develop a personalised package of support which is reviewed when appropriate to reflect in personal circumstances. Student carers are provided with support applying for student funding, advocacy with academic issues and staff act as a link between students, the University and external support agencies. In particular, the University is working in partnership with Liverpool City Council and Barnardo’s Action with Young Carers Service to ensure that carers receive a full assessment of their individual needs by appropriate agencies.
The University of Salford
The University of Salford has well-developed links with local carer centres and a dedicated website [LINK: http://www.askus.salford.ac.uk/page/carers] that sets out how it supports student carers. A specific policy for students with caring responsibilities has been developed which indicates how students can be supported through counselling and financial support and the procedures to be followed in case of personal mitigating circumstances and interruption of studies.
Students can register themselves as a carer. There is a designated Student Life Carer Coordinator who will set up an individual Carer Support Plan with students. This can provide flexibility in relation to assignment deadlines, contact with Tutors and with attendance. Students can support each other through an online Carers Forum [link: http:// wecare.usonline.org.uk/] .
The University of Winchester
The University of Winchester’s Compact Scheme with local colleges and sixth forms, specifically includes student carers, and provides them with special consideration at application stage. Outreach activities include residential events and taster days that are aimed at young carers to increase their aspirations of further education and are run in partnership with local young adult carer services. Student carers are a targeted recruitment group for the Student Ambassadors Scheme, which provides them with opportunities to act as role models to other student carers and earn some money.
A named contact in Student Services for young adult carers signposts students to other University services and external agencies. Student carers up to 25 years are able to access a £500 annual bursary and can join a ‘Student Parents and Carers Group’ which provides opportunities to find mutual support.
As an acknowledged priority group in the University Access Agreement, student carers can access a number of progression initiatives including an employability fund to support them financially with internships and work experience, driving lessons and a test and resitting core GCSE subjects.
De Montfort University Leicester
De Montfort University Leicester has a dedicated webpage [LINK: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/dmu-students/the-student-gateway/adjusting-to-student-life/student-carers.aspx] that provides student carers with key contacts and information about the support they can access within and outside of the university. The University has designated staff for student carers and provides students with an electronic information booklet [link: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/documents/summer-school/carers-information-booklet-electronic-version.pdf ] with local and national support.
Sheffield Hallam University
At Sheffield Hallam University, support for students with caring responsibilities is promoted through a dedicated webpage [LINK: https://www.shu.ac.uk/current-students/student-support/student-carers] and film. This includes financial support through a Carers Emergency Travel fund for small grants towards the cost of travelling home at short notice or in an emergency to provide care.