Banbury Academy has secured Young Carers Standard Gold accreditation as part of their commitment to providing support for young carers.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Young Carers Standard scheme helps schools identify and provide extra support for pupils responsible for the care of family members at home.
Since its launch in 2013 more than 30 schools have received training and support to raise awareness of issues affecting young carers in school and last Wednesday 12 schools including the school in Ruskin Road collected their awards at County Hall.
Banbury Academy pupil Zac Webber said: “Being a young carer can restrict you from having a social life and participating fully in school. It really helps having support as it makes us feel as if it shouldn’t hold us back from achieving our full potential.
Rafiyah Khan, also of Banbury Academy, added: “Being a Young Carer doesn’t have to stop you from being what you want to be, in fact it can give you an advantage because you grow up in such a way that you take on responsibility and become more aware of opportunities available.”
The school was inspected by young carers themselves, with a team of pupils visited each of the schools to interview staff and other young carers to find out what measures and working practices had been put in place.
Under the scheme, which is delivered in partnership with Spurgeons Young Carers Service, school staff receive training and put measures in place such as allocating a Young Carers’ ‘Lead’ within staff, raising awareness of young carers through assembliesand providing emotional support and counselling.
Other schools to get Gold level like Banbury Academy were Didcot Girls School, Lord Williams School in Thame, Bartholomew School in Eynsham, Gillots School in Henley-on-Thames, Fir Tree Junior School in Wallingford and Cheney School in Oxford.
Councillor Belinda Tilley, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for children, education and families, said: “We tend not to think of children as carers, but this is the reality for many children of school age who for various reasons find themselves responsible for the care of a family member at home.
“The Young Carers Standard is about schools putting measures in place to identify these issues and provide the extra support that children in this situation may need to fulfil their potential.”