Supporting young carers in school

Hear from Naima, one of our Education Advisors

We help young carers realise they are not alone and that the school can help them

Every child deserves to get the most out of school and to ensure our young carers receive the support they need, Action for Carers Surrey has Education Advisors working across Surrey.

Naima Hussain is the Education Advisor for North-West Surrey, covering primary and secondary schools in three boroughs: Woking, Surrey Heath and Runnymede. She works to raise awareness of young carers in schools and to enable the schools to identify and support their young carers.

As well as Naima, we have Cathy Wood in the North-East, Faye Field in the South-East and Ami Makhecha in the South-West. The Education Advisors work closely with the rest of their area team, as well as sharing experiences and best practice with each other.

Naima’s day

Naima’s day is varied; once a week she is based at our head office liaising with her colleagues, but the rest of the week she is frequently in schools.

“In a school assembly, we can explain what a young carer is and what the impact might be on a young person. We help young carers realise they are not alone and that the school can help them. It also helps the general audience to understand, and they might encourage someone to come forward.”

She also helps schools to set up groups for young carers, usually at lunchtime. “I go along to the first session to provide initial support,” says Naima, and she drops in periodically after that. She works with the staff, helping them to look out for the signs that a pupil might be a young carer so that more can be identified and supported.

Sessions for young carers

The Education Advisors hold specialist workshops, helping with the transition from primary to secondary school and around GCSEs, designed to help young carers in balancing their roles. They also host the ‘YC Chat meals’ where a group of older teenagers meet in a restaurant.

“The meals are really enjoyable and we have good numbers coming along.”

The Young Adult Carer team come too, and they look after the Further Education Colleges. “We give the evening a theme, such as how to cope with exam stress, or CV writing.” In the school holidays, Naima enjoys being part of the events organised by the rest of the team. “I always like to talk to them about their school.”

Our  ‘Angel Award’, is a framework for supporting young carers in schools that aims to encourage more schools to focus on young carers. “It means schools can see what can be done, and lays out the pathway for them,” says Naima. ‘I’m so delighted when a school achieves the Award.’