10 June 2019

At the end of the summer term children in Year 6 are in the final stages of their preparation for the move to secondary school.  They should attend a transition day to help them get to know their new environment and make sure the transfer from primary to secondary school goes as smoothly as possible. For some Young Carers it is vital that they have more than just the one day to visit their new school, this will help them feel more comfortable and confident about the move. Young Carers need support as this can be an even more difficult time with the addition of a caring role. It is vital that they are supported to ensure a smooth transition and that pastoral support is continued at secondary school and not lost.

Schools should work together to:

  • Provide support to Young Carers and their families during the transition process.
  • Give Young Carers practical ideas to help in secondary school and with the worries of moving. Tell them how it will be the same and how it will be different from primary school so they have a better idea of what to expect.
  • Inform the Young Carer and parents/guardians if secondary school is doing a new Year 7 open evening.
  • Give the secondary school (and the parents/guardians) an outline of the support currently being received by the pupil, such as a family support worker, school nurse or other agency involvement. Also provide information regarding any additional support offered by the primary school.
  • The staff should consider the wishes of the Young Carer and their parents/guardians when informing the new school of their caring role and how the family want the new school to know. Ensure once you have consent that the secondary school knows who all the Young Carers identified are, their caring circumstances and what support they currently receive.
  • Offer to organise a visit for the Young Carers and parents/guardians to the secondary school in order to meet with the Young Carer Lead/head of Year 7 to discuss family circumstances and give the Young Carer the opportunity to explain what it is like for them. (The Young Carer could have this information written down as they may find it difficult to talk about their caring role). Also if the family need to explain any special arrangements that are needed, for example in order to access parents' evening, etc.
  • Organise additional visits to the secondary school for the Young Carer and other children it would benefit.
  • Introduce the Young Carer to the Young Carers Lead in the secondary school in the summer term and make sure they know how to access them. The Young Carers Lead can explain what support the school can offer the Young Carer and where to find them in school.
  • In September arrange a meeting between the secondary school Young Carers Lead and the Young Carers to remind them about who they are and where to find them if they are worried or need support.

10 Practical Ideas to Help Young Carers:

  • Make sure you have everything you need – uniform, stationery, equipment etc.
  • Find out the best way to get to your new school and practise it before you start.
  • Think about how to get to school on time – alter your morning routine/get up 10 minutes earlier to make sure you are not late. Pack your bag the night before.
  • Find a place at home that will be quiet and comfortable to do homework.
  • If you get lost at your new school ask someone for help and remember that everyone gets lost in the beginning.
  • Try not to worry about making new friends – you will as time goes on.
  • Ask questions if you are worried or unsure about something.
  • Know who you can talk to at your new school (form tutor, year head, Young Carers Lead etc.
  • Get to know the Young Carers Lead and how to find them in school if you feel worried or need support.
  • Know what support is available to you as a Young Carer – for example, lunch clubs/activities etc.

What Young Carers in Warwickshire have said:

All young people have some fears about going to a new school. We asked 26 Young Carers, aged between 10 and 16, about their experiences. They told us what they thought Young Carers in Year 6 and school staff should know. Here are a few things they said about moving up.

Q: How did your primary school help you prepare for secondary school?

We asked the Young Carers this question the responses varied from not much help offered, to having induction days and Year 7 pupils and teachers speaking at primary schools. It’s great that some schools offer this but a shame it isn’t a more widespread practice.

Q: Is there anything your primary school could have done better with helping you move school?

When we asked this the Young Carers responses included:

  • A girl in Y10 said 'they should have explained more about what secondary school would be like'
  • A girl in Y8 said 'the primary school should tell the secondary school that you are a young carer'
  • A boy in Y7 said 'teachers focussed on making friends but not on what to do if I had problems making friends'.
  • A girl in Y8 said 'I didn’t know about Young Carers until high school, my primary school never recognised me to be one'
  • A girl in Y9 said 'get people from secondary school to come to primary school to talk about what it is like.'
  • A boy in Y7 said ‘give us more information like about the different lessons, lesson times and a map of the school.
  • Several Young Carers said more induction days and more visits.

Q: What advice would you give Young Carers in Year 6 about moving to secondary school?

When asked…some suggestions were:

  • A boy in Y8 said 'it's a big change at first but after about a week it's OK' and another boy in Y9 added 'if it's bad at the start, it will get better'.
  • A girl in Y7 said 'don’t be nervous about making friends – you will in time'.
  • A girl in Y11 said 'it's a lot bigger than primary school and there are a lot more people. It's very different but you make new friends and find everything soon'.
  • A girl in Y7 said 'tell them the reality of high school – maybe give them an example timetable'.
  • A boy in Y9 said 'there are lots of different clubs so try new things'.
  • A girl in Y7 said 'tell someone what is going on at home so you can get help if you need it'.

Q: What was/is difficult about moving to secondary school?

Almost all of the Young Carers mentioned finding their way around the new school or getting lost in the beginning, but they all said they soon learnt where things were.  Making new friends was also a concern for many of the Young Carers asked. Fears about being bullied were common as were concerns about the increased size of the school community. A girl in Y6 said 'I feel a bit nervous as it’s very different'. This was a very common feeling.

Transitions can be a difficult time but even more so with the addition of caring responsibilities. Applying some of these actions mentioned could help Young Carers transition from Primary to Secondary School.

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