Regis Schools students are being encouraged to support young carers with the help of a short film which highlights some of the day-to-day issues they face.
Pupils at the Bognor Regis school learned that here are hundreds of young carers in the county who look after loved ones but many go unnoticed and others do not even realise that they are a young carer.
And that is why West Sussex Young Carers Service has developed a new learning resource pack.
The pack provides tools for teachers to introduce what can be a sensitive topic in a school environment and includes young carer information for staff, lesson plans, and the short film created with young carers by community theatre company Making Theatre Gaining Skills.
The learning resource, launched ahead of Young Carers Awareness Day on 25 January, is now available in all of the county’s secondary schools to raise awareness of who a young carer is and what schools can do to help.
Stephen Hillier, from West Sussex County Council, said: “In a recent survey by Barnardos, schools said it can often be very difficult for them to pick up on the signs that a child might be a carer.
“We were already all too aware of this which is why the team have been working on this learning resource as there will be a number of young carers in West Sussex who may not have told their teachers that they look after a loved one.
“This film has an important role in showing students and teachers how they can be of support to young carers in school. The smallest of changes in school can make a big difference to young carers while they’re in education.”
A young carer is someone who is impacted by the health needs of someone in their family. They may offer their loved ones practical, personal and emotional support.
Katie Robinson, team leader for PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education) at the Regis school, said: “Overall the feedback has been positive. It has been particularly helpful for the pastoral team in our school who often are the first point of contact for students.
“As students, I think it will help them to identify if they are a ‘young carer’ and that, if so, there is extra support available for them in and out of school. A lot of young people don’t seem to realise they are a young carer as it is just the ‘norm’ for them.”