Why set up a scheme?

Insight into what makes School Carer Passport schemes work, and how to overcome challenges that could get in the way

The case for carers

It's one of the best ideas I've seen yet, it should be in all schools to help young carers and make it less stressful and worrying for us every day, especially if things are particularly bad or my mum’s got worse for example. (Young carer)
  • Facilitates identification in school

A Carer Passport scheme will encourage young carers (and their families) to self-identify, and students will know what support is available and what to expect.

Early identification is pivotal in turning around a young carer’s life and will help prevent their circumstances from negatively impacting their own health, wellbeing and education.

A Passport can initiate crucial support from their school as well as a ‘whole family approach’ where families are given information and navigated to support from external agencies. This can transform the situation for a young carer. For example, young carers can be referred to a young carer service or referred to the local authority for a ‘Young Carers Needs Assessment’.

  • Stopping young carers having to re-tell their story

A Passport will reduce the necessity for young carers to have to explain their circumstances multiple times. By using a Passport, young carers are more likely to access the support they need at critical points. It can be shown to staff to access specific dispensations or can help to initiate a conversation between a young carer and staff.

  • Promoting health and wellbeing

Where Carer Passports are linked to concessions for leisure activities, sports and public transport, this will support young carers to socialise, relax and have fun which is vital in protecting their own health and wellbeing.

The case for schools

A Carer Passport would ensure that young carers’ individual needs are met and understood.  Individual allowances could be agreed with the Head of Year and then teaching staff informed so that the young person has the correct level of support in place to allow them to achieve in education. Allowances could be: Additional support and time to complete homework; having a mobile phone on silent; not having a detention when arriving to school late due to caring role; time out from a lesson if feeling stressed etc. (Schools and Support Coordinator) 

A Carer Passport can help improve a school’s communication with a young carer and their family and develop a better understanding of a student’s home situation and circumstances. Schools can then begin to address the barriers to their education that a young carer is facing. At the Stockport Academy for example, staff are able to see in one place, all the information that has been shared by a young carer related to their caring role and the impact this has on their education.

Carer Passport schemes will bring more consistency to how schools support their students who are young carers and where the same or a similar scheme is used across an area, this will bring about a more standardised approach so that students in different schools will receive more consistent support. This also will assist young carers to continue to access a similar level of support when they move between year groups, transition to secondary school and prevent support dropping off when young carers move between schools.