Being a young carer can be tough because you’ve got to work at home and school. It takes a lot of time to do both and it can take a lot of energy. Getting the right support from school can really make a difference.

“It’s difficult because you have to juggle the two together. You’ve got to multi- task. We’re really working hard in our own home. We’re having so much stress, that we’re not used to it as we’re kids – we’re not meant to go through it.”

People ask what a young carer is and it’s hard to explain sometimes…

A young carer is someone under 18 who helps look after someone who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.

“I think that people need to understand that being a young carer is hard because you’re looking after a person who struggles to do daily tasks that we take for granted.”

Top tips for teachers and schools to support me as a young carer:
  1. Be considerate and offer extra support.
  2. In schools there should be more awareness about what a young carer is so that people don’t just think you’re skiving.
  3. I think teachers should know what we have to go through. If we’re late they should give us less hassle.
  4. Help explain things more because we’re often tired so we can’t really focus in class. Possible extensions, maybe lunch time classes to help.
  5. Teachers should give other pupils lessons [about young carers] in school so we don’t have to explain to all the school what a young carer is.
  6. Schools can be quite stressful. They don’t really know why we don’t have homework in on time or why we can’t afford to buy text books. They should be discreet because otherwise they can cause the young person to be labelled and that’s not always a good thing.
  7. Give us that little bit of extra help because we’re also helping someone else.
  8. Take the time to step back and listen to what we have to say.

“My teachers are very supportive. They understand that if I can’t do my homework or I’m not in school there is a genuine reason for it.”

Young person speaking to a grown up at school

“Schools need to give a helping hand to young carers, otherwise they may not progress in school. They need to care for those who care for others.”

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Find more information about being a young carer or how schools can support you at Care Information Scotland.