Effective practice advice
Develop ways to identify young carers
A 2014 report by the Carers Trust found that most young adult carers struggled to balance studying and caring responsibilities and that support from providers was not always accessible.
They recommend that providers should develop policies, procedures and training to identify and support young carers throughout their studies.
This may include encouraging students to disclose their carer status at application or at the time they take on caring responsibilities during their higher education studies.
Support carers’ health and wellbeing
An NUS survey found that carers felt their responsibilities had a negative effect on their academic performance and that many considered leaving their course.
The report noted that caring responsibilities can affect overall wellbeing as well as physical and mental health.
Providers should ensure that flexible academic and wellbeing support is offered to all members of their student community, including carers.
Ensure information about financial support is available
Financial concerns may have an impact on carers, so providers should ensure that student carers know about hardship funds and their eligibility, and offer support to help them apply.
Implement ‘quick wins’
The UCAS report ‘Students with care responsibilities’ outlined examples of ‘quick wins’ which may support carers:
- Provide carers with a named contact, including their direct line and email address, and give examples of how they can help. For example, by creating a personalised support plan, arranging accommodation and liaising with other departments on the student’s behalf.
- Provide information about exceptional/extenuating circumstances tailored to student carers.
- Develop and maintain relationships with local services for carers.
- Develop free, regular study support skills workshops.
- Provide recorded lectures which can be accessed online for those unable to attend.
- Celebrate carers’ achievement and contributions on national carer awareness days.
- Provide a detailed webpage for carers, outlining the support available and how to access it.