Two out of three young carers are bullied at school and more than half feel unsupported by their teachers. These are the findings of research carried out by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and The Children’s Society.

The study of 700 young carers, some as young as six, found that many suffer taunts about their parents appearance or disabilities. Nearly half of the young carers questioned said there was not a single teacher at their school who knew they were a young carer and of those whose teachers did know, more than half did not feel supported by them.

Danielle is 12 years old and cares for both her mother, who has fibromyalgia, and her father, who is epileptic. She explained the impact that being a young carer has on her while at school:

“I’ve missed homework deadlines because I’ve been looking after my mum and dad. When I’m in class I worry that my parents are ok, especially my mum as I keep thinking she might fall over if she tries to walk and will hurt herself. If the class has been naughty and we are all kept after school for detention, I worry that I’ll be late. I get a lump in my throat when I think my mum might be worried waiting for me. It makes me feel sad.”

Like Danielle, a third of young carers worry about the person they care for while they are at school. A quarter suffer from the stress of juggling school work and caring responsibilities.

Alex Fox, Director of Policy and Communications at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers said: “Almost half the young carers we surveyed said they had not told a single teacher at school. For those that had told someone, more than half of those said that they were not getting any support despite that, so there are still too many young people going throughtout their whole childhoods without getting any kind of support.

“We know that young carers drop out of school or that they miss lessons or that they are late all the time but with a little extra help and understanding they can actually take full advantage of their education.”

To address these issues, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and The Children’s Society will be launching Supporting Young Carers, a resource for schools, as well as a poster campaign to run in all secondary schools across the UK in May.

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society says: “This resource will support schools to ensure that young carers are helped to achieve their full potential and to have the same access to education as their peers.”

“The resource will also encourage vital partnership working with other agencies in order to provide support for the whole family. We want to protect children from excessive inappropriate caring roles; enabling them to be children first and to have good childhoods.”