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Be bothered about young carers More than 700,000 children and young people, some as young as five, care for a parent or sibling with a disability or other health problem. This heavy responsibility can have an enormous effect on their education, which is why Family Action has launched its Be Bothered! campaign – and why the NAHT has chosen Family Action as its charity partner for the Presidential year 2013/14. Be Bothered! is designed to raise awareness of the effect that caring has on education, and to provide school leaders with strategies to tackle this issue. Young carers often struggle to combine caring with a normal childhood and school life. Their responsibilities can include household duties such as cleaning, cooking and paying bills, as well as nursing and personal care. This can be draining and it is not surprising their education often suffers. Be Bothered! wants to ensure that young carers get an equal start in life. Family Action is making sure the right support is in place in schools, and that staff are fully aware of the difficulties facing these children. Caring can harm attendance, behaviour and concentration, but in many cases children will hide the reason for their absence or poor behaviour. These children need support to help them reach their full potential, as young carers can face hostility and bullying from peers and a lack of understanding from teachers. When schools adopt a young carers policy that makes allowances for the child – such as a way for them to stay in touch with their family while at school, or flexible homework deadlines – they can significantly reduce the pressure on them. If young carers have confidence in their school’s ability and willingness to support them, then they can learn and perform well at school

be bothered

give me the phone

what are you doing?

but Sir i need to check if my mum's ok

i need to check on my mum

ha Ha!

get out this instant!

put that phone away now!

NO! you dont understand. i need to call my mum

i didnt want to be in trouble but i'm so worried. i need to know that my mum's ok


BE BOTHERED! Family Action has provided services for disadvantaged and vulnerable families across England since 1869. Now, as many as one in every 12 secondary school pupils could be young carers. They face bullying from other pupils and punishment from teachers for poor attendance. Find out more about Be Bothered!:

and enjoy their childhood. NAHT Vice President Bernadette Hunter told LF that she was delighted to be working with the charity during her term as President, which starts in May: “Many heads are aware of the problems faced by children who, for a variety of reasons, are not ready to learn when they come to school.Family Action is a charity that provides services to support families with difficulties in communities all over England. They also have a grant service which people can access from other parts of the UK. “During my Presidential year, we are going to do some joint work with Family Action on school readiness. We are aiming to provide a series of pamphlets for schools to use with parents about various aspects of supporting their child in school. “We will also encourage schools to take part in a ‘family clothes day’ to raise money for the charity.” • See page 14 for a review of the two-year association with 2011-13 charity partner ShelterBox. MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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